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Helmsdale football club Bunillidh Thistle is set to return to North Caledonian League

By Will Clark

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BUNILLIDH Thistle are set to return to the North Caledonian League next season as it has been revealed 12 clubs will compete in the division.

The Helmsdale club will return to the competition after a four year absence, last playing in the league in the 2019/20 season.

Bonar Bridge and Golspie Sutherland have both confirmed they are returning to the competition for the 2024/25 campaign.

They will be joined Alness United, Clachnacuddin A, Fort William, Halkirk United, Invergordon, Inverness Athletic, Orkney, St Duthus and Thurso.

Loch Ness have confirmed that they are withdrawing from the league.

Newly appointed North Caledonian League president Niall Harkiss is pleased to welcome Bunillidh Thistle back to the league and says it is fantastic for the division 12 teams will be taking part.

He said: “We are delighted to welcome Bunillidh Thistle back into the fold for 2024-25. They are a club with long-established connections to the league and come from a place in Helmsdale that is passionate about football.

Teams will be looking forward to visiting their recently refurbished social club and a new date on the fixture calendar.

“To be heading into the new season with 12 teams again is pleasing, and it speaks to the continued growth of the North Caley as an association.

“This will be further strengthened by the move to ensure all member clubs will be Quality Mark certified by the summer of 2025, establishing an accredited standard for participation at this level of football in the north.”

In addition, Teams were notified of an agreement made for guest entry to this year’s North of Scotland FA Cup,

which shall see four clubs – Invergordon, Halkirk United, St Duthus and Inverness Athletic – invited to take part in the competition, subject to ground conditions.

Fort William and Golspie Sutherland as North of Scotland FA members, will also take part.

Harkiss added: “The news also that four of our member clubs, in addition to North of Scotland FA members Golspie Sutherland and Fort William, have been invited to participate in the North of Scotland Cup is very pleasing.

“This is another significant step forward for the league, and further strengthens the North Caley’s place in senior football, both as a tier six league and as an association with members who have aspirations to develop and move up the pyramid.”

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