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Tain teacher’s welcome from pupils at heart of football switch to St Duthus for 2024-25 season


By Niall Harkiss

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Tain teacher Neil Moir says it is time to "give back" to the area after receiving a warm welcome from pupils before deciding to move to the area. Picture: Niall Harkiss
Tain teacher Neil Moir says it is time to "give back" to the area after receiving a warm welcome from pupils before deciding to move to the area. Picture: Niall Harkiss

An Easter Ross high school teacher says support received from pupils and parents was at the heart of his decision to play football for Tain-based St Duthus FC this season.

Footballer Neil Moir, who teaches history at Tain Royal Academy, was announced as the North Caledonian League club’s latest summer signing yesterday.

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Now, after five years living in Inverness while teaching in Tain, the 31-year-old has decided to move to a location just outside the town — presenting him with a chance to “give back” to the area.

“When I first came up here about five years ago, I honestly did not still expect to be here after all this time,” he said. “But the community at the school has made it such a nice place to be.

“The kids are fantastic and there’s a nice feeling about the place. I’ve ended up never wanting to leave and we’ve moved a bit closer. Tain is a lovely part of the world and it’s somewhere I’m keen to stay a bit longer.

“It’s all down to the community at the school, coupled with the support you get from kids and parents. Having organised a few trips now, you get to know the parents a bit. It’s a really lovely place.”

A talented and prolific goalscorer, the former Fraserburgh FC youth and Aberdeen University FC alumni has spent his last six seasons playing with Forres Thistle, where he chalked up an impressive 67 goals in 149 appearances.

Last season, he netted 16 times in 28 games for the Moray club.

For the winger, the decision to make the switch to St Duthus is his way of extending thanks for the “welcome” he has received from the town — coupled with the opportunity to “mentor” the next generation.

Alongside fellow teacher Chris Pope, Moir has devoted his time to coaching football at the school, running the Tain Royal Academy senior team.

Moir added: “It has been fantastic to give the boys an opportunity to play football. Not all of them might be involved in youth clubs or teams outside of school, but there’s boys coming along to training every single week and it is a fantastic opportunity for them to get involved in football.

“It’s something I’ve really enjoyed. It’s been great to allow them a platform to play football and enjoy it as much as we do.

“I remember when I played my last couple of years at Forres, seeing pupils I had taught at Forres Academy coming up and eventually playing with me, and having the chance to mentor them, was really nice. It’s another reason why I thought about moving my football closer to Tain. It would be great to have the chance to do that here also.

“You want to see these boys progress and go off play football for a club or youth teams, and you want to give back a bit to the area, and show a bit of thanks for the welcome.”

St Duthus FC manager John Maclellan welcomes former Forres Thistle winger Neil Moir to the club. Picture: Niall Harkiss
St Duthus FC manager John Maclellan welcomes former Forres Thistle winger Neil Moir to the club. Picture: Niall Harkiss

St Duthus manager John Maclellan, also a teacher at Invergordon Academy, welcomed his latest addition in a comment on the club’s website on Monday.

He said: "We’re getting him at the end of a very successful spell at Forres Thistle, and having spoken to him a lot over the last week, I’m looking forward to bedding him into our team.

"He’s a calm and friendly lad with plenty of experience, and will fit in very well with the committed group of boys we already have.

"We have gone toe-to-toe a few times as coaches of the Invergordon and Tain school footie teams, so its going to be great to be working alongside him for a change!"


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