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Oban Saints have left the Scottish Amateur Football League after 43 years to join the Central Scottish Football League, arguably the best amateur league in the country.
Club secretary David Buchanan, co-manager Willie Gemmell and new committee member Jimmy Soutar attended the league’s annual general meeting in Motherwell last Thursday evening.
The Central League has a Premier Division of 12 teams and two equal leagues, 1A and 1B, with 10 teams in each.
Saints have to start in the lower league set-up and were drawn in a tough Division 1B along with Blantyre RGM, Bridgwater, Cambusnethan Talbot, Castlemilk Dynamo, Clyde-
bank, Craigneuk, Garrowhill Thistle, Lesmahagow and Stedfast.
Saints were also given a tough draw in the league’s premier cup competition – the 100-year-old Cinema Cup. They were drawn away from home against old foes St Patrick’s FP from Dumbarton.
The D & K Lafferty-spon-sored Oban side will also be entering the Scottish Amateur Cup and the West of Scotland Cup where they reached the final last season, only to be defeated by Bannockburn, in extra time, at New Douglas Park, home of SPL side Hamilton Accies.
Willie Gemmell said: It was a big decision to leave the SAFL after such a long time but the club needed a new challenge and if we want to improve we have to play teams of a high standard every Saturday.
‘If we get the same level of commitment from everyone at the club as we had last season I am sure it won’t be too long before Oban Saints lift one of the major national trophies.’
David Buchanan said: ‘We were very impressed with the set-up and professionalism of the Central League and we were given a warm welcome by the other member clubs at the AGM.’
Saints start pre-season training on Monday July 1 and are looking to strengthen the squad so any new players will be more than welcome.
For more infomation, including training times, contact co-managers Donald Campbell and Willie Gemmell.
This year’s D & K Lafferty Cup Tournament will take place on Saturday July 13, followed by home friendlies against Port Glasgow United, Shortlees and an away fixture against South Lochaber Thistle.
The Central League programme starts on Saturday August 10.