Huntly boss Allan Hale agrees with decision to end Highland League season
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HUNTLY manager Allan Hale believes the SHFL’s decision to end the Highland League season and award Brora Rangers the title was the correct one.
The stop-start league season barely got going – with time running out to complete the 16-game campaign when it was halted.
The league committee made the decision last week to award Brora – who were ahead of Fraserburgh on goal difference after three wins from three games – the title so they can compete in the promotion play-off against Lowland League champions Kelty Hearts.
Hale backed the league’s decision.
He said: “For me, the decision to stop the league was correct – although obviously there was a willingness to play if they’d decided otherwise.
“The weeks are drawing in with a lot of fixtures remaining and cup games to play.
“Most clubs have played two or three games – Strathspey have played none. So it makes sense.
“I understand the logic in granting Brora the title as they deserve the chance to go into the play-off.
“Last season they were deserved champions and got that opportunity taken away from them. The league have looked at Brora at the top and thought of it as a chance to give them the opportunity this time.
“Brora won’t be out celebrating this as a title win, but hopefully they can go on and achieve what they want to achieve.”
Rumours have also been circulating about relegation from the Highland League coming in as soon as next season.
Plans will see the bottom club go into a play-off with the winner of a play-off between three feeder leagues.
Relegation shouldn’t be a concern for Huntly, who finished the last full season of league action 14 points clear of bottom place, and Hale believes it will benefit the league – and Scottish football in general.
He added: “Highland League clubs got the opportunity to gain promotion to the SPFL so it’s only right and fair that ambitious junior sides that want to progress have that same opportunity.
“To have that complete pathway through the system can only be a good thing.
“The Highland League is highly competitive, there are no easy games, but this would add a bit of interest to the bottom end of the league.”