Golspie Sutherland wrapped up their 11th North Caledonian League title at the weekend thanks to a 1-0 win in Orkney.
Their League One challengers Invergordon fell to a 3-1 defeat at Thurso, which put Sam Mackay’s team four points clear with only one match to go.
Liam Bremner got the goal for Golspie to ensure they cannot be caught.
Thurso stun chasers Invergordon
At the Dammies in the later kick-off, Jordan Knight gave Invergordon the perfect start against Thurso in a match they had to win.
However, James McLean swiftly levelled for the hosts and Innes MacIntosh put Thurso ahead after 29 minutes.
There was no way back for the championship chasers when Thurso’s Cameron Montgomerie added a third on 56 minutes.
League One will conclude on June 26 when, in a reverse to last weekend, Invergordon welcome Thurso at the Recreation Grounds and league winners Golspie will get the silverware ahead of their home clash with Orkney.
High hopes for Highland League push if title is retained next year
Last week, Golspie manager Mackay told us how the club’s ambitions are now to reach the Highland League.
Next season’s champions – if eligible as Golspie are – can contest the tier six play-off to try to gain entry to the HFL.
GOLSPIE ARE CHAMPIONS 🏆 #NorthCaley
— North Caledonian FA (@NorthCaleyFA) June 12, 2021
However, with the likes of Alness and recent league winners Orkney and Invergordon keen to have their say, it’s sure to be a competitive title race in a regular season.
Congratulations to @GolspieSuthFC who secured the @NorthCaleyFA championship today, thanks to a 1-0 win in Orkney. Of the current members, they are the most decorated club in the league having won it 11 times. pic.twitter.com/Ec7WQu8sZi
— Scottish Non-League Football Review (@ScotFootReview) June 12, 2021
Next season, the NCL leagues merge into one division again, with the set-up changed this year due to the impact and disruption to sport caused by Covid.
League Two champions Alness United’s unbeaten record was dashed on the final day of their season as they fell to a pulsating 4-2 defeat against runners-up Nairn County.
— Nairn County FC (@NairnCounty) June 14, 2021
Callum Gow fired Alness United ahead on 35 minutes when he reacted quickest to a Michael MacKenzie spot-kick saved by Gus Wilson.
Wilson was called into action again moments later when Alness were awarded a second penalty. The Nairn keeper saved from a Gordon Finlayson effort and the home defenders mopped up the danger.
Ten minutes into the second half, Alness doubled their advantage when Struan Coli powered his way forward and supplied an ice-cool finish.
A Kieran Duffty penalty for Nairn with 20 minutes to go raised home hopes of a comeback against the league winners.
Seven minutes later, the same player crashed home a superb right-foot shot to make it 2-2.
The incredible game was turned on its head in the final minutes when Duncan Robertson powered home a header.
With Alness pressing for a stoppage time leveller, Nairn hit on the break and Duffty completed his hat-trick after fine work down the left from substitute Shaun Young.