The Juniors of the North

Each Saturday fans gather in Scottish Junior football grounds from Auchinleck in Ayrshire to Montrose in Angus to Nairn in the Highlands to watch Junior football.   The Football on display is passionate although very local in feel. Many of the players involved are youngsters just making a start in the game while others are veterans of the league and even professional football.

The North Region of the Scottish Junior Football Association is one of the three regions of the Scottish Junior Football Association.  The region covers a wide geographical area from Aberdeenshire up to Moray as well as to parts of the Highlands and the Angus region.

Currently, the North Region features three region wide divisions with 32 clubs competing for a variety of cups and league titles. 

Games are played at grounds as humble as the Woodside Sports Complex in western Aberdeen to the more modern Spain Park home of Banks O’Dee. 

And, like the Lowland League and the East of Scotland League set up, University football is represented with Aberdeen University competing in the North Second Division.

Several of the teams have long-standing traditions in Scottish Junior football. Hall Russell United are related to a previous Junior side, Hall Russell’s F.C. This particular club existed from 1915 to 1963 and were a works team of the Hall Russell shipyard in Aberdeen. This team reached the final of the Scottish Junior Cup in 1929–30.

Current Champions Banks O’Dee, previously winners of the Scottish Junior Cup regularly play in the national Scottish FA Cup competition. 

Change in the set up may however be just around the corner. With a majority of Scottish Junior clubs voting to become part of the Scottish football pyramid in 2018 the dominance of the bigger sides in Junior football is under threat – and the landscape of the set up is changing fast.    

The coming years could see the likes of Banks O’Dee move into the Highland League set up as the shape of Junior football changes rapidly each season.

However the facts are that there is no pyramid from the North Juniors set up into the Highland League at this moment in time.

Financially and operationally making the step from junior football to the Highland League is a huge step with massive considerations for players and club chairman alike. Meanwhile, many of the towns represented in Junior football have established Highland League teams including the towns of Forres, Nairn, Keith and Fraserburgh.