Brora Rangers will receive their 1st Highland League flag before they kick off the defence of their league crown at home to Huntly. Davie Kirkwood’s side have enjoyed a successful pre-season including a draw against Rangers and a 3-1 win in the Petrofac Training Cup last week against Stenhousemuir.
Inverurie Locos finished in a respectable 2nd position last campaign and will be aiming to get off to a good start when they travel to Rothes. This won’t be a walkover for the Harlaw Park men though after Greame Roy bolstered his squad in the summer and brought in 8 new additions. Rothes look stronger on paper despite losing last season’s top scorer Liam Forbes to Deveronvale.
Two of the Highland League heavyweights will clash at Station Park when Nairn County host Formartine United. Both sides have done some business on the transfer list with Nairn signing ex ICT defender Matt Murphy whereas Formartine have brought in ex Brechin defender Graham Hay.
Fraserburgh will make the trip to Mosset Park to face Forres Mechanics. Not much has been expected out of Forres this season however it’ll be interesting to see if Fraserburgh can recapture the campaign that they had last season.
Wick Academy and Deveronvale meet at Harmsworth Park, Wick have enjoyed a successful pre-season which included wins over Ross County and Elgin City. Deveronvale went up to Caithness last season and came away with a 2-1 victory, Charlie Charlesworth will be hoping for more of the same come Saturday night.
Strathspey Thistle kick off their campaign at home to Turriff United, on paper, it looks like this will be the strongest Strathspey outfit ever since they joined the Highland League 5 years ago. Turriff United have enjoyed a good pre-season with just 2 defeats against Maud JFC and Celtic Under 20s.
Fort William and Buckie Thistle face each other at Claggan Park, Buckie have had a poor run in the games against Fort William of late and last season at the Fort saw a cracking 3-3 draw between the sides. Gary Hakke seems to have a younger squad at his disposal this time round and Aaron Conway who was an instrumental player for the Jags last season has departed the club.
Finally, Lossiemouth and Keith meet at Grant Park, both sides have taken in fresh additions over the summer with Lossie signing ex Ross County goalie Connor Hall to challenge Errol Watson for the number 1 jersey. Keith have also strengthened and have brought in local boy Mike Ewen who came from Formartine. Michael Ralton will be suspended for this one after he received a straight red in Keith’s friendly against Craigroyston on Saturday.