Page last updated at 09:20 GMT, Wednesday, 10 June 2009 10:20 UK

League newcomers win pitch battle

Strathspey Thistle
Strathspey Thistle will take their place in the 18-team Highland League

Highland League newcomers Strathspey Thistle are celebrating winning their first crunch challenge of the season - staying in the league.

The Jags faced being kicked out before their first match after planners recommended councillors turn down re-development of the club's ground.

But Highland councillors voted to approve plans for the Seafield Park ground in Grantown.

Thistle will now meet Wick in the first fixture of the season on 1 August.

Strathspey Thistle were accepted into an expanded 18-team Highland League for the 2009/2010 season last February, along with Formartine United and Turriff United.

In March, the club applied for permanent permission for an existing hospitality block and floodlights, along with two additional lights, a fence and two stands.

Council officials reported that "the proposed development would result in a loss of general public access to a significant proportion of the Seafield Park".

But councillors have approved the plans.

Highland League president Eddie Innes said "common sense" had prevailed and he was delighted for Thistle.

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