The top two Aberdeen clubs have been filling key posts in order to ensure the smooth running of their respective outfits in the 2020-21 campaign.
Premiership side Aberdeen Grammar have turned to former front-rower Colin Neilson to fill the key post of honorary president at Rubislaw, while Gordonians have also settled for a prop in Matthew Brechin, who is still playing for the Countesswells team, but will take over the top job with the National League 2 side.
Neilson was in no doubt the post will bring formidable challenges, particularly in attempting to keep the club in shape during the difficult times created by the Covid-19 crisis.
The 41-year-old solicitor said: “I was flattered to even be considered for the post, but proud to head up the premier club in the area. It will be difficult to set targets given the current circumstances, but once we get up and running, we will be looking to set high standards on and off the pitch.
“I am looking forward to our first game, which is against Dundee High in a hastily-organised regional league, which could lead to a Murrayfield final in the latter part of the season.”
Brechin will face a much longer trip for his induction as Gordonians have been drawn away to Caithness in the opening game in another regional competition.
“I feel privileged to be the president of such a fine club, and hope I can live up to the great traditions of Countesswells,” said the 34-year-old, who has been one of the mainstays in the club’s progress from the Caledonia leagues to the nationals.
Both new presidents have hard acts to follow. Jim Rae at Grammar and Jim Sugden at Countesswells were dedicated officials who brought their own brand of organisation and integrity to the positions in pursuit of excellence at the leading clubs in the north-east.
Two leagues separate the clubs, and while Grammar are rated the top club in the north-east, plying their trade in the Premiership – the top amateur league in Scotland – Gordonians have made huge strides to reach National League 2 in recent years.
The likelihood of the two sides meeting in the near future may be remote, but for Brechin the target is to make progress.
“Who knows, we could once again meet each other in a top national competition. In the meantime, we will consolidate our position,” he said.