Highland League fixtures frozen off

Formartine United's North Lodge Park which was frostbound on Saturday.
Formartine United's North Lodge Park which was frostbound on Saturday.

The big freeze claimed the entire Highland League programme on Saturday.

Formartine United’s derby against Inverurie Locos was among the casualties with North Lodge Park frostbound.

This Saturday the two sides are due to meet again at Harlaw Park, weather permitting.

But despite the fixture wipe-out, Highland League president Finlay Noble isn’t too concerned about a possible fixture backlog due to the current wintry weather.

He said: “We are well up-to-date when it comes to games being played and are hardly behind schedule at all.

“There was a lot of midweek football at the start of the season, probably too much as not many people liked it.

“But it meant we could save four free Saturdays in March and April in order to catch up on any games that were postponed.

The league is due to finish earlier this season because of a new pyramid system and play-offs allowing teams access to the Scottish Professional Football League.

The Highland League champions will play off against the Lowland League champions, with the winners facing the side that finishes at the foot of Scottish League 2.

Mr Noble added: “We can play midweek games in the New Year if we have to but we are not in danger yet of having to do a lot of catching up.

“Sometimes at this stage of the season we have been behind by about 100 games due to postponements.

“But just now it’s only about 20 games that we need to catch up on.”

Meanwhile, Formartine go into the New Year in fourth place with 46 points - eight behind title favourites Brora Rangers, who have two games in hand.

Boss Steve Paterson had been hoping to build on last season when the Pitmedden club won the Aberdeenshire Cup - their first silverware since entering the Highland League in 2009.

But his side have been inconsistent and quickly lost ground to Brora and exited cup competitions at an early stage.

This Saturday’s derby at Inverurie will be a tough test but could provide a springboard to better times ahead.