'It's going to be a dream': Buckie Thistle squad earn 'once-in-a-lifetime chance' to take on Celtic at Parkhead in Scottish Cup fourth round
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BUCKIE Thistle players and supporters woke up on Monday morning to realise that their wildest Scottish Cup dreams have indeed become a reality.
The Jags will take on Scottish champions and 41-time cup winners Celtic in the competition's fourth round at Parkhead after the most dramatic of penalty shoot-out victories over Broxburn Athletic on Saturday.
Players, out in Edinburgh for the second night to celebrate the Broxburn win, could scarcely believe the draw.
A viral video shows them up dancing on chairs and tables as their name is pulled out of the hat. For some among them – Celtic fans – there were even tears of joy.
"I was greeting at the draw," said forward Marcus Goodall, who is Buckie born and bred and is sponsored by the Buckie Celtic Supporters Club.
"I couldn't get my head around it and I couldn't sleep. My phone died during the draw but I grabbed Josh Peters' to phone home because I had to speak to my dad and brother. They were the exact same, greeting as well by the sounds of it.
"Playing against Celtic is just mental. It is the biggest game the club has ever had and probably the biggest it will ever have.
"Even just warming up with the Celtic music in the background will be amazing. It's what makes the Scottish Cup.
"We had a fairytale on Saturday and then with the way the weekend has panned out. It's just wild."
Buckie secured passage to the fourth round in incredible fashion – playing more than 100 minutes with 10 men, equalising in the eighth minute of second half stoppage time and then again in the second minute of added on time in extra-time.
Josh Peters got both of those goals – the first a well-placed strike from 16 yards and the second from close range after goalkeeper Stuart Knight's front post header – before stepping up to score the winning penalty.
Versatile midfielder Dale Wood, another lifelong Celtic supporter, described the "surreal" weekend.
"It just shows the character in the changing room," he said. "A lot of clubs would have panicked and started losing the heads but we always believed we are good enough with 10, or even nine.
"It's the best feeling I've had on a football pitch and Sunday night just tops off the surreal moment. Never in your wildest dreams do you think you will play against the club you grew up supporting. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
"It's massively financially, but just for everyone involved it's going to be an amazing feeling. Hopefully we will meet some of the big players – it would be great if they were involved.
"I went on a tour when I was younger, but it will be great to walk out, look around and do that on the actual day, in the biggest cup competition."
Jags boss Graeme Stewart described the draw as a "dream" – but was keen to stress that focus should not sway from the Jags' overall aim, which is Highland League glory.
Stewart was perhaps one of the last to find out the draw, having been tricked into thinking the Jags had been drawn at home to League Two opposition.
"I was out in Aberdeen with family and tried to find the stream but couldn't," Stewart explained. "Scott Adams wound me up with a text saying we had got Forfar at home!
"I thought it's not what we wanted, but I did think it's winnable. Then I bumped into old Buckie manager Gary Hake who said we had Celtic.
"It's going to be a dream. None of the players have played there before so it is a dream draw for the club.
"There are a lot of mad Celtic fans in the squad so they will be excited and it will be special for them, and for the club it will help financially.
"It will be a special moment for everyone – but, to be honest, I'd take winning the league over any one-off game like this. That was my pinnacle as a manager.
"We need to make sure this isn't a distraction. Getting this draw put the players on cloud nine, but we have to remain focused."
The Jags – who were also boosted by Brechin City losing at home to Fraserburgh on Saturday – get back to the bread and butter of the league on Saturday against Deveronvale.