Published: 21/04/2017 11:58 - Updated: 21/04/2017 12:07

League rules that Buckie can go for title glory

Written byCraig Christie

A massive relief – that was Buckie Thistle’s reaction to news that they can go for title glory this weekend.

Joy and relief for Buckie boss Graeme Stewart
Joy and relief for Buckie boss Graeme Stewart

Highland League bosses ruled that Jags did not breach league rules by listing recalled loan player Callum Murray in their squad at Formartine United last week.

It means Buckie will be crowned league champions if they defeat Strathspey Thistle on Saturday in front of a big crowd inside Victoria Park.

Manager Graeme Stewart said the decision brought huge relief to the club – in more ways in one.

For he revealed the news was broken to Aberdeen-based players during an impromptu toilet break in a lay-by as their bus returned from training on Thursday night.

"We were in the minibus and we stopped in a lay-by for some of the boys to relieve themselves when we got the good news," Stewart said. "The whole bus went bananas.

"I’m massively relieved. I was confident and felt OK on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday but then when you get to the meeting and it’s taken three hours, then my confidence started to wane a wee bit. And I was really, really nervous."

Phew....now lets go win the league!!!

— BuckieThistle FC (@BuckieThistleNe) April 20, 2017

League bosses finally came to the decision that there was no wrong doing on Buckie’s part just before 10pm, with a round of applause breaking out from the meeting room.

Jags were represented at the meeting by president Garry Farquhar and vice-president Raymond Cardno, who were both delighted with the outcome.

Manager Stewart and his squad had been training in Buckie and had waited in the dressing room afterwards for news from the meeting.

However, the time to took to come to a decision meant the Granite City contingent were forced to head home and wait for news en route.

Stewart said he was pleased that the title would be decided on the pitch on Saturday.

"We’ve still got a job to do. All we’ve given ourselves is an opportunity to win the league, and that’s all we wanted.

"I’ve said to people if we lose the league by getting beat in a match, then I can handle that. But losing it like this would have been heart wrenching and taken a lot of time to get over.

"Thankfully it’s not come to that."

Buckie are huge favourites to claim victory against the league’s bottom side Strathspey, who they beat 9-2 earlier in the campaign.

But Stewart said it had been a difficult week for his squad and they had to regain their full focus to make sure there were no slip-ups on Saturday.

"It’s not been an ideal week for us. Trust me the boys have been down, so we need to try and get them back up.

"To be fair they were buzzing last night but we need to get their heads screwed on again. It’s not been ideal preparation but we’ll go into the game confident, we are on a good run and we’ll try and win again.

"Tuesday’s training session was poor but the boys were flying last night (Thursday) at training even before they got the news.

"Hopefully this gives the whole club a lift and we can finish off the job tomorrow."

Stewart pointed to the fact that fellow title challengers Cove Rangers have already dropped points against Strathspey in a 1-1 draw earlier this year.

"We know it’s hard to beat some of these teams. Their last point was against Cove, put it that way.

"So it’s not going to be an easy game and they are not going to wanting to be on the end of a defeat. They are going to be up for it and try to spoil the party."

The Buckie boss expects the big occasion to attract a large crowd and he called on his players to embrace the occasion.

"It’s a big opportunity for us and a lot of the boys won’t have played in front of a crowd like that before.

"Hopefully fifteen hundred at least will be there, and it’s going to be a great occasion if we win.

"But we’ve still got to do the business."

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