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Rod Houston proud to have been secretary of Highland League as he steps down

By Will Clark

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ROD Houston has stood down as secretary of the Highland League after six years in the role.

Rod Houston.
Rod Houston.

The former Highland Football Academy manager from Golspie has resigned from the position and will be succeeded by Moray-based Scottish Welfare FA chief executive John Campbell.

The 71-year-old, who was previously depute head at Golspie High School, says it was a privilege to be part of the league which he says is of great importance to the north of Scotland.

“Its geographic footprint is huge and the Highland League is one of the essences of communities in the region,” he said.

“Football is a central characteristic of the geographic footprint which is of just as much importance as anything else.

“Working with the league committee for six years was great as it is a league that I have worked with almost all my adult life.

“It is a great organisation to work with when you consider the show is run by volunteers at club level, it is an extraordinary collective effort to keep it at the level it is at and the respect it receives.”

In a football coaching and administration career which spanned almost 50 years, Houston first got involved in coaching at Thurso High School, where he worked as a geography teacher in 1975.

He went on to coach the North of Scotland Schools team and went on to become president of the Scottish Schools FA.

In addition, he was secretary of the North Caledonian Football Association and the North of Scotland Football Association. He also ensured the Highland League survived the impact of the pandemic, saying it was the most challenging period football faced in peace time and was glad everyone came through it.

“The highlight of my time as secretary was when we started to play again on November 28, 2020 after the league shut down in March that year.

“It was tough for the clubs and we were aware of what was coming from the government.

“We sat down with the office bearers on March 18, 2020 and realised it was serious, but had no idea how serious it would become.

“We were staring into the dark, nobody had any idea what was coming, not just in football but in life too. We wanted to ensure all the clubs survived, we went into the pandemic with 17 teams, we came out with 17 plus Brechin.

“That is the singular best achievement in the league, to do that was phenomenal.

“We had people helping to find best financial support for clubs and pushed for the clubs having every opportunity to survive.

“It was a huge collective effort. We feared for some of the clubs, but they came out of it resilient after what was the greatest peace time challenge the league has faced.”

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