Scottish Highland League


previously called the Highland League

including the North Highland League North of Scotland Emergency League, North of Scotland League, Central Highland League

and the Highland League Cup


Page created: 24 August 2020

Updated: 19 December 2023


League tables 1893-date and League results since 1893


In 2007, the Highland League decided to change its name to the Scottish Highland League, possibly in anticipation of the formation of a Scottish pyramid structure. Formed on 4 August 1893 at the Workmen's Club in Inverness it is currently the second oldest, and strongest, after the Scottish League, having outlasted the numerous leagues that had been set up during the 1890s and early 1900s. The main reason for this is probably the lack of other Senior clubs in the area (until 1994, the nearest Scottish League side was Aberdeen), and the general weakness of the region's junior clubs. However it has been stung in recent years after five of its strongest clubs left for the Scottish League.


In 1893 the eight original members were Cameron Highlanders, Clachnacuddin, Forres Mechanics, Caledonian, Inverness Citadel, Inverness Thistle, Inverness Union and Ross County. The last named club resigned in November 1893 and the rest completed their matches with Inverness Thistle being crowned as the first ever Highland League champions.


There were a high number of changes to the league's line-up in the early years. Cameron left after the first season, although they competed again in 1897-98, 1903-04 and 1919-20. Forres were absent in 1895-96 and 1900-01, and because they couldn't fulfil any fixtures after April 1897, their record for the 1896-97 season was deleted from the final table. Elgin City missed season 1896-97 but returned, after a merger as Elgin City United, in 1898. The 'United' part was dropped after 1900. The town had two clubs in 1900-01 when Elgin Caledonian also took part. Inverness was also well represented during the 1890s. As well as Caledonian, Clach and Thistle, Celtic, Union and Citadel all competed, the last named continuing until they lost their ground in 1935. They were also League champions on one occasion.


Other clubs to join up were Buckie Thistle in 1909 and the 93rd Highlanders in 1912. Aberdeen also entered their reserve side from 1912 to 1914. Nairn County were also elected to the league in 1914, but couldn't compete until 1919 after the league closed down because of the War.


Fraserburgh were elected in 1922, and although they left four years later, they rejoined in 1929. Keith joined in 1924 with Aberdeen 'A', who subsequently went on to win their second title before leaving again. Huntly (1928) and Ross County (1929) were among the other sides to join in the 1920s. Ross had been formed from Dingwall Victoria United who had previously competed in the North Caledonian League. They had replaced Black Watch, one of a number of military sides to compete, the others being Cameron Highlanders (1919-20), Seaforth Highlanders (1919-20), RAF (1939-40, 1947-48), HGTB (1948-49), HLI (1949-50), KOSB (1931-1934) and 30th TB (1946-47).


The league continued to expand and the 1930s saw the arrival of Peterhead, Deveronvale and Rothes. Unfortunately 1935 saw the demise of Inverness Citadel. When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, the league programme had barely begun when all football was suspended. The league closed down for the duration but fourteen teams entered two competitions, the Central Highland League and the North Highland League. Subsequent war-time leagues were the North of Scotland League in 1940-41 and 1945-46.


1946 saw the Highland League restart, and the introduction of the Highland League Cup, also known as the Morganti Cup. Initially the competition was played in a knock-out format until a group system was introduced in 1951. This continued until 1966 when the earlier system was reintroduced. Apart from the coming and going of the military teams, only one club was to join in the next forty years, and that was Brora Rangers in 1963.


In 1983, the league was the first in Scotland to introduce the new points system, awarding a win three points instead of two. Two years later Fort William were elected and they were joined in 1994 by Wick Academy. The latter had been brought in to even the league up to sixteen clubs after Ross County, Caledonian and Inverness Thistle all left for the Scottish League, the two Inverness sides had merged as Caledonian Thistle. The expansion of the Scottish Premier League in 2000 meant that there were two places available in the Scottish League and these were filled by Elgin City and Peterhead. Although this left the league with an even number of clubs, Junior club Inverurie Loco Works were allowed to turn Senior and join as a fifteenth club. Strathspey Thistle Formartine United and Turriff United all joined from the juniors in 2009.


As members of the North Of Scotland FA, the league clubs dominate the North Of Scotland Cup, with the only other entrants being Golspie Sutherland of the North Caledonian League, the only club in that body to hold full Scottish FA membership. Clubs also compete for the two principal County trophies, the Inverness and the Aberdeenshire Cups.





Highland League

1893-94 Inverness Thistle

1894-95 Clachnacuddin

1895-96 Caledonian

1896-97 Clachnacuddin

1897-98 Clachnacuddin

1898-99 Caledonian

1899-00 Caledonian

1900-01 Clachnacuddin

1901-02 Caledonian

1902-03 Clachnacuddin

1903-04 Clachnacuddin

1904-05 Clachnacuddin

1905-06 Clachnacuddin

1906-07 Inverness Thistle

1907-08 Clachnacuddin

1908-09 Inverness Citadel

1909-10 Inverness Thistle

1910-11 Caledonian

1911-12 Clachnacuddin

1912-13 Aberdeen 'A'

1913-14 Caledonian

1914-15 unfinished

1915-1919 no competition

1919-20 Buckie Thistle

1920-21 Clachnacuddin

1921-22 Clachnacuddin

1922-23 Clachnacuddin

1923-24 Clachnacuddin

1924-25 Aberdeen 'A'

1925-26 Caledonian

1926-27 Buckie Thistle

1927-28 Buckie Thistle

1928-29 Inverness Thistle

1929-30 Huntly

1930-31 Caledonian

1931-32 Elgin City

1932-33 Fraserburgh

1933-34 Buckie Thistle

1934-35 Elgin City

1935-36 Inverness Thistle

1936-37 Buckie Thistle


1937-38 Fraserburgh

1938-39 Clachnacuddin

1939-40 unfinished

1940-1946 no competition

1946-47 Peterhead

1947-48 Clachnacuddin

1948-49 Peterhead

1949-50 Peterhead

1950-51 Caledonian

1951-52 Caledonian

1952-53 Elgin City

1953-54 Buckie Thistle

1954-55 unfinished

1955-56 Elgin City

1956-57 Buckie Thistle

1957-58 Buckie Thistle

1958-59 Rothes

1959-60 Elgin City

1960-61 Elgin City

1961-62 Keith

1962-63 Elgin City

1963-64 Caledonian

1964-65 Elgin City

1965-66 Elgin City

1966-67 Ross County

1967-68 Elgin City

1968-69 Elgin City

1969-70 Elgin City

1970-71 Caledonian

1971-72 Inverness Thistle

1972-73 Inverness Thistle

1973-74 Elgin City

1974-75 Clachnacuddin

1975-76 Nairn County

1976-77 Caledonian

1977-78 Caledonian

1978-79 Keith

1979-80 Keith

1980-81 Keith

1981-82 Caledonian

1982-83 Caledonian


1983-84 Caledonian

1984-85 Keith

1985-86 Forres Mechanics

1986-87 Inverness Thistle

1987-88 Caledonian

1988-89 Peterhead

1989-90 Elgin City

1990-91 Ross County

1991-92 Ross County

1992-93 withheld

1993-94 Huntly

1994-95 Huntly

1995-96 Huntly

1996-97 Huntly

1997-98 Huntly

1998-99 Peterhead

1999-00 Keith

2000-01 Cove Rangers

2001-02 Fraserburgh

2002-03 Deveronvale

2003-04 Clachnacuddin

2004-05 Huntly

2005-06 Deveronvale

2006-07 Keith

2007-08 Cove Rangers

2008-09 Cove Rangers

2009-10 Brora Rangers

2010-11 Buckie Thistle

2011-12 Forres Mechanics

2012-13 Cove Rangers

2013-14 Brora Rangers

2014-15 Brora Rangers

2015-16 Cove Rangers

2016-17 Buckie Thistle

2017-18 Cove Rangers

2018-19 Cove Rangers

2019-20 Brora Rangers

2020-21 Brora Rangers

2021-22 Fraserburgh

2022-23 Brechin City



Highland League Cup

1946-47 Forres Mechanics

1947-48 Clachnacuddin

1948-49 Huntly

1949-50 Ross County

1950-51 Clachnacuddin

1951-52 Huntly

1952-53 Caledonian

1953-54 Buckie Thistle

1954-55 Forres Mechanics

1955-56 Buckie Thistle

1956-57 Buckie Thistle

1957-58 Buckie Thistle

1958-59 Fraserburgh

1959-60 Elgin City

1960-61 Buckie Thistle

1961-62 Lossiemouth

1962-63 Peterhead

1963-64 Nairn County

1964-65 Keith

1965-66 Peterhead

1966-67 Elgin City

1967-68 Peterhead

1968-69 Ross County

1969-70 Caledonian

1970-71 Inverness Thistle

1971-72 Caledonian



1972-73 Inverness Thistle

1973-74 Keith

1974-75 Keith

1975-76 Keith

1976-77 Caledonian

1977-78 Caledonian

1978-79 Ross County

1979-80 Buckie Thistle

1980-81 Peterhead

1981-82 Clachnacuddin

1982-83 Elgin City

1983-84 Keith

1984-85 Forres Mechanics

1985-86 Keith

1986-87 Caledonian

1987-88 Inverness Thistle

1988-89 Keith

1989-90 Peterhead

1990-91 Elgin City

1991-92 Ross County

1992-93 Huntly

1993-94 Huntly

1994-95 Cove Rangers

1995-96 Huntly

1996-97 Lossiemouth

1997-98 Elgin City



1998-99 Forres Mechanics

1999-00 Cove Rangers

2000-01 Forres Mechanics

2001-02 Forres Mechanics

2002-03 Keith

2003-04 Clachnacuddin

2004-05 Cove Rangers

2005-06 Fraserburgh

2006-07 Keith

2007-08 Inverurie Loco Works

2008-09 Inverurie Loco Works

2009-10 Forres Mechanics

2010-11 Nairn County

2011-12 Buckie Thistle

2012-13 Keith

2013-14 Clachnacuddin

2014-15 Cove Rangers

2015-16 Brora Rangers

2016-17 Cove Rangers

2017-18 Formartine United

2018-19 Cove Rangers

2019-20 Rothes

2020-21 no competition

2021-22 Brora Rangers

2022-23 Banks o' Dee



War-time Competitions

North Highland League

1939-40 Inverness Thistle


North of Scotland Emergency League

1940-41 Elgin City


North of Scotland League

1945-46 30th Training Battalion

Central Highland League

1939-40 First series Rothes

1939-40 Second series unfinished