JUNIOR league football returns this weekend, with clubs from Nairn to Montrose launching a new campaign.

Forres Thistle and Burghead Thistle are competing in the North Region Junior Second Division this season. Image: Daniel Forsyth ..

The last two junior seasons in the northern region have been declared null and void because of the pandemic, and honors will be awarded again this season.

The additional incentive for clubs in the Superleague this season is a possible play-off for a Highland League place, which is available to the title winners.

Five Moray clubs, a Highland and a number of Banff and Buchan hopefuls join clubs in and around Aberdeen to compete in the three northern divisions.

The latest addition to the junior ranks, Rothie Rovers, will play her first league game at Forres Thistle in Division 2 on Saturday.

The Rothienorman team joined the team a year ago, but were only able to play three league cup games before the end of the season last year.

Rothie defeated Longside 5-4 in their first junior game last November and defeated Fraserburgh United at home and away to lead the group.

They face a tough start at Forres, who led most of the league in the last 2019-20 league season and will be strong contenders for promotion to the third division with nine clubs.

Two clubs will be promoted from the Second Division, with Islavale taking on Glentanar and New Elgin at home against Cruden Bay, while Whitehills taking on Newmachar United.

Burghead Thistle is the only one of the 31 North Juniors who will not have a game on Saturday as they are the odd club.

Second division games on Saturday:

Forres Thistle versus Rothie Rovers

Islavale versus Glentanar

New Elgin versus Cruden Bay

Whitehills versus Newmachar United

Eight clubs are fighting in the First Division, with only the bottom of the team being relegated this season. Dufftown makes the trip to Aberdeen to face Sunnybank on the first day.

First division games on Saturday:

Aberdeen University versus Buchanhaven Hearts

Fraserburgh United versus Longside

Stonehaven v Stoneywood Parkvale

Sunnybank versus Dufftown

Deveronside begins another Superleague campaign at home against Dyce Juniors.

Banks o ‘Dee welcomes Maud and starts as favorites to win the 14-club Superleague and advance to a possible Highland League play-off game.

Superleague games on Saturday:

Aberdeen East End versus Nairn St Ninian

Banchory St. Ternan versus Montrose Roselea

Banks o ‘Dee v Maud

Bridge from Don Thistle to Hermes

Colony Park versus Hall Russell United

Culter versus Ellon United

Deveronside versus Dyce Juniors

For the first time this season, the Superleague forms one of three divisions in the sixth division of the Scottish Football Pyramid alongside the North Caledonian League and the brand new Midlands League, made up of former clubs from the East Region’s juniors.

The winners of the three feeder divisions that meet the Scottish Football Association’s licensing criteria will enter a play-off for the right to the bottom of the Highland League to take their place next season.

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