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Formartine boss relishing chance to take on Highland League new boys Brechin City

Formartine United boss Paul Lawson.
Formartine United boss Paul Lawson.

Formartine United boss Paul Lawson is eagerly anticipating the challenge posed by Highland League new boys Brechin City.

The Glebe Park side confirmed earlier this week that they will be competing in the Highland League after losing last month’s SPFL pyramid play-off to Kelty Hearts.

Brechin — who on Friday announced former Scotland boss Craig Levein had joined the club in a senior advisory role — had attempted to join the Lowland League but the plan was rejected by all 17 member clubs.

Lawson reckons City’s entry into the Highland League was not only the right decision but also a positive thing for the division.

Glebe Park, with its famous hedge, will be a Highland League venue next season

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s something new for the league,” said Lawson, whose side travel to Glebe Park on Wednesday August 25.

“It’s a new team and a new ground to go and visit for a lot of people. I think from that point of view it’s great.”

‘Tough league to get out of’

Brora Rangers have been knocking at the promotion door for a couple of seasons while the likes of Fraserburgh and Inverurie Locos are consistently among the Cattachs’ closest competitors.

Formartine themselves have been a fixture at the top end of the table under Lawson, finishing second, fourth and sixth since he took charge in September 2017.

Having dropped down from League Two, Brechin will no doubt harbour hopes of an immediate return to the SPFL – but Lawson has warned them they could find the Highland League tougher than expected.

“I’m sure they’ll be looking to be up there,” said Lawson.

Brora Rangers lost to Kelty Hearts in the SPFL pyramid play-off semi-finals

“Like everyone, you go into a new season with fresh ideas and fresh plans and I’m sure they’ll be actively recruiting just now to get boys in to do what they can to bounce back up at the first opportunity.

“But we all know it’s a difficult league and they’ll find it tough. We’ll have to see (if they’re a rival at the top end of the table) as it depends who they recruit over the summer.

“It’ll be interesting to see how they go about it. Ultimately, I think it’s a good thing they’ve come into the league.

“It was the right decision, and I’m sure all the other clubs in the league are looking forward to playing them too.”

Bellslea opener

Formartine defeated Turriff United and Nairn County in the only two matches they played in last season’s shortened campaign.

United open the new league season with a trip to Bellslea to face Fraserburgh on Saturday July 24, before consecutive home games against Forres Mechanics (Saturday July 31) and Fort William (Saturday August 7).

The Pitmedden side then take on champions Brora Rangers on Saturday August 14.

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