Wilson Makes Book-writing Debut with Biography of Highland League Hero

A senior reporter with the Highland News has published his first book, about a former Highland football legend.

Donald Wilson has written a biography on his boyhood hero, regarded by many as the greatest ever player from the North. Davy Johnston started his career with Nairn County at 16 and was touted for stardom, but his career was blighted by homesickness and he returned from Hearts after a year – back to Nairn County, where he made his name as a striker.

From 1966-69, Johnston was a regular in an Aberdeen team rebuilt by manager, Eddie Turnbull, and he played in a Scottish Cup final against Celtic’s Lisbon Lions before a crowd of 126,000.

Says Wilson: “Davy was my boyhood hero and the hero of many youngsters in the town during that era. I was devastated when he joined the Dons and, when he returned to the Highland League in 1969, it was with Caley.

“The North was the power base of the Highland League in those days but with the amalgamation of Caley and Thistle, along with Ross County and Elgin’s departure to the Scottish league, the pendulum has swung towards east coast clubs.”

Wilson worked at the Nairnshire Telegraph for 25 years before enjoying a short spell in Australia, working for the Champion Post, New South Wales in 1997. He returned to work with the Press and Journal, where he was chief reporter in inverness and bureau chief at Elgin. 

'Pittodrie’s Silent Assassin: Davy Johnston – Aberdeen, Nairn and Caley Sharpshooter' is published by Desert Island Books, priced £14.99. Its official launch takes place at Nairn Bookshop on Saturday.