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Buckie remain in title hunt says Jags boss

By Ewan Malcolm

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BUCKIE Thistle remain in the hunt for title glory this season says Jags boss Graeme Stewart despite his side languishing in sixth place.

Graeme Stewart, manager of Buckie Thistle FC...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Graeme Stewart, manager of Buckie Thistle FC...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

The Jags fell behind early against Clach at Victoria Park on Saturday after Robbie Thompson fired the visitors ahead. However, the ever-reliable Kyle MacLeod levelled the tie before the break before Sam Urquhart’s second half brace put the hosts in total control. Scott Adams sealed the points and added further gloss to the scoreline with a fourth for the hosts.

A one minute silence was also observed prior to kick off in memory of Buckie Thistle Club Chaplain John Coppard who passed away recently.

Stewart was pleased with his side’s character to comeback but was disappointed with the defending leading up to Thompson’s opener.

He said: “We need to stop conceding goals, especially sloppy goals like we did at the weekend. It was a silly goal from our point of view, no pressure on the ball, miss a header and the defenders don’t do well enough. It gives us a mountain to climb but it’s good to show that character and bounce back.”

Saturday’s 4-1 win leaves the Jags nine points adrift of early pace setters Fraserburgh, albeit with a game in hand. However, Stewart insists his side are still in title contention this season and says wins against the top five will help turn the tide.

He said: “We’re still in the title race. I think we should be four or five points better off this season.

“We are playing some of the best football I have seen in my time at Buckie. It’s as strong as I have seen the Highland League since I’ve been in charge.

“There are maybe six or seven teams who think they have a chance of winning it.

“We’ve had disappointing results against the top teams earlier in the season but if we can turn those results around then I think we’ve got a chance. We’ve got to be lucky with fitness and we’ve got to keep training hard to do that. We’ve got a chance but it depends on a lot of factors.”

Buckie’s last trophy remains their Highland League triumph of 2017 - a record Stewart admits need to be improved. Buckie’s progression to the semi final of the Aberdeenshire Shield after last week’s 3-0 victory against Formartine United presents the Jags a chance to end that four year drought. However, Banks O’ Dee are no stranger to a Highland League upset and will be looking to go one better after losing in two of the past three finals.

“Banks O’ Dee is a very difficult game,” Stewart said.

“They’re probably a top six Highland League club in the making. They’ve taken a lot of Highland League scalps over the past four or five years. Beating Formartine and Locos shows this is a top Highland League club. They’re a very good team and we’re going to have to be at our best to get a result against them.

“To go to the next level we have to win a trophy. These trophies have been won by Brora, Fraserburgh and Rothes lately. We need to go and try and join that group.

“We deserve to win something but just because you deserve something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen you have to go out there and work for it and we will.”

Buckie’s focus now turns to tomorrow night’s league clash with Nairn at Victoria Park as they look to close the gap at the top of the table to six points. Stewart will be without Declan Milne and Adam MacLeod who remain sidelined with long-term injuries. Marcus Goodall, Shaun Wood and Callum Murray are also likely to miss out with minor knocks.

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