Pittodrie rejection has spurred former Aberdeen midfielder Max Barry to star in Highland League football with Buckie Thistle
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FRESH from a derby double on Saturday, Max Barry is determined to prove Aberdeen wrong for releasing him by helping Buckie Thistle mount a Highland League title challenge.
Barry netted Jags’ first two goals in a 5-0 Victoria Park romp over Deveronvale before an all-ticket crowd on Saturday.
Ten years spent coming through the youth ranks at his home town Aberdeen have honed the 19-year-old’s talents nicely, and he has been a stand-out for Buckie since joining the club after his Dons exit.
“I was at Aberdeen since I was eight and was there until I was 18. The Covid situation kind of put me out the door, it’s something that’s happened to a lot of players my age so you’ve just got to suck it up and get on with it,” he said.
Barry came through the Pittodrie youth system with current first teamers like Calvin Ramsay and Dean Campbell, and the disappointment of not being kept on by the Dons will spur him on to try and return to the senior ranks in the future.
“The way it was going, I thought if they didn’t want me or believe that I would be good enough for them to keep me, I would just go somewhere else and try to show them that they made a mistake. It’s down to me to prove them wrong.”
Barry initially joined Buckie on a short term deal, debuting in this year’s Scottish Cup tie against Caley Thistle.
Jags boss Graeme Stewart immediately wanted to sign the player on a longer contract, and after holding off to see if SPFL clubs might want to sign him, he penned a two-year contract earlier this month.
"When I got released, there wasn’t much training and no games going on so I thought I would go along to the Buckie training just to keep fit.
"I was ready if there was a full-time club keen to take me on, or if I would just be signing for Buckie.
"I was doing that for a month or two towards the end of last year and played in the Caley game in the cup until Covid stopped it all again.
"I kept in touch with the Buckie boys and manager and he was keen to sign me but I was seeing if there was anything happening with full-time clubs.
"Nothing seemed to be happening, I’m not saying it won’t happen in the future but I’m liking my football at Buckie. I get on well with the boys and I like the way we play, a good atmosphere in the dressing room so far it’s been great.
"The manager has given me a chance to play in the team and I think I’ve shown that his decision to put me in the team was right.
His performances have helped shoot Buckie to the top of the table with four league wins out of four, 24 goals scored and none conceded.
“It has been great. We have been training well and playing well and the atmosphere in the changing room is like everyone has been together for years, and not like we have just played five or six games,” he added.
“Everything seems to be clicking, we are scoring, creating chances and we aren’t conceding so hopefully that continues.”
Barry netted his first Buckie goal in the recent 4-0 win at Turriff and added two more in the opening quarter of a one-sided derby on Saturday.
Centre back Sam Morrison carried on his great scoring form by netting for the third game running, and captain Kevin Fraser effectively wrapped up the points by half time by notching the fourth on 44 minutes.
Kyle MacLeod added another shortly after the break, perhaps getting Buckie fans dreaming of another double figures scoreline.
But Vale managed to stem the flow and limit the damage as the game finished 5-0.
Buckie have a tough run of games coming up, starting with a visit to on-form Huntly this weekend.
Barry said: "I think its going to be one of the closest Highland Leagues in a long time.
"A lot of the top teams are up there, Brechin came down and I think there could be four or five clubs just points away at the end of the season.
"But the way we’ve been going and the way we believe in ourselves, we just need to keep our heads screwed on and concentrate on each game as they come at us.
"In the coming weeks, it’s something like three out of four games against the top teams in the league.
"If you come out of that spell with nine or 10 points you would be thinking that was amazing and set you up well for the rest of the season."