Former Cove Rangers captain Eric Watson has announced his retirement from football.
The defender, who had been playing for Inverurie Locos, cited the current pandemic and working in a higher-tiered area than the one he would play football in.
Watson joined Locos in 2019 after a distinguished spell at Cove, where as skipper he led them to 13 trophies during his 12 years at the club. He was signed by manager John Sheran from Montrose Roselea in 2007 and he won the Highland League title in his first season at the club.
He played for Cove in two near play-off misses before they were finally able to secure promotion to the SPFL last year, with Watson coming on as a late substitute to rapturous applause from the visiting fans in the 3-0 win over Berwick Rangers.
After leaving the Balmoral Stadium he was snapped by then-Locos boss Neil Cooper and featured regularly during the abandoned 2019-20 campaign. He has not featured in Locos’ two competitive games so far this season.
— InverurieLocoWorksFC (@InverurieLocos) December 4, 2020
A Locos club statement said: “Inverurie Loco Works FC are disappointed to announce the retiral from Highland League football of Eric Watson.
“Eric joined the club last season following a long and illustrious career at Cove, where as captain he lifted numerous trophies and league titles, and helped Cove in his last season to gain promotion to the Scottish leagues.
“Eric’s decision to retire is due to the current pandemic we all find ourselves in, him working and living in a tier higher than where the club currently sits, and the travel restrictions that have been imposed. He also wishes to spend more time with his family.”
Watson’s retirement comes in the same week as Locos stalwart Andy Reid – the club’s first-choice goalkeeper, electing to take a break from football.
During his time at Cove, Watson won six Highland League titles, three Highland League Cups, two Aberdeenshire Cups and two Aberdeenshire Shields.
He was given a testimonial in 2017 against a team of Tayside Legends at Links Park in Montrose.
The centre-back was part of the Locos side which made the Aberdeenshire Shield final earlier this year and had hoped to be in the hunt for trophies this season.
Andy Low’s side take on Buckie Thistle in the Highland League tomorrow afternoon.