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Aberdeen could hand debut to Celtic loan signing Liam Scales as Pittodrie first team players head to Victoria Park for Buckie Thistle manager Graeme Stewart's testimonial match

By Craig Christie

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ABERDEEN are set to send a strong team littered with first-team players to Buckie Thistle for Graeme Stewart’s testimonial match.

Graeme Stewart will enjoy his Buckie Thistle testimonial. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Graeme Stewart will enjoy his Buckie Thistle testimonial. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Jags have arranged the tribute match for manager Stewart as reward for his three spells as a player and a managerial stint which began as a caretaker late in 2014 before being appointed the following February.

It is understood that the Dons manager Jim Goodwin could field their full team for the Victoria Park clash on Saturday, two days before departing on a pre-season tour in Spain.

The Pittodrie club could include new signing Liam Scales, with the Irishman signed on a season-long loan from Premiership champions Celtic.

Other Dons summer signings who could feature at Buckie include Albanian midfielder Ylber Ramadan and defender Jayden Richardson, signed from Nottingham Forest as a replacement for Liverpool-bound teenage star Calvin Ramsay.

The match is sponsored by Aberdeen firm Subsea Pressure Controls Ltd whose managing director Neil Fentie has donated 60 match tickets to be distributed through Buckie Thistle’s youth development.

Buckie Thistle FC Facebook
Buckie Thistle FC Facebook

Jags have signed goalkeeper Bal Demus on loan from Cove, defenders Joe McCabe, Cohen Ramsay and Ryan Fyfe, midfielder Tom MacLennan and forward Lyall Keir, who has been loaned back to Dyce Juniors.

Stewart said Buckie is the club that has given him the best memories of a career which included spells at Caley Thistle, Peterhead and Montrose.

“I was 24 or 25 when Duncan Shearer took me here on loan from Buckie (in 2007) and at the end of the season I ended up signing a two-year deal.

“I went to Inverurie for a year then Gregg Carrol signed me again for Buckie and stayed through those glory years when we won leagues and cups.

“It was a great time to be involved with Buckie.”

A second spell at Inverurie lasted just a few months before a third Jags manager, Gary Hake, took Stewart back to Victoria Park in 2013.

Within a year, some poor results led to Hake’s departure and Stewart was asked to take the team on a caretaker basis with fellow player Lewis Mackinnon as his assistant manager.

“I think the club would admit now that there’s no way they wanted me to be the permanent manager,” Stewart added.

“I was 31, and I had a reputation. I was aggressive and had a few red cards in my playing days because that was the way I played because I probably didn’t have the ability of other players.

“But I really wanted the job. My legs were kind of gone due to injuries, I had snapped my medial ligament and broke my ankle with pins in it and I knew myself that my time playing in the Highland League was probably at an end.

“I realised if I was still playing there was no way I was getting the job. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the game as a manager, and I couldn’t exactly ask players to be disciplined when I was sometimes ill-disciplined on the pitch.

“Although the club might have seen some sort of persona on the pitch, that wasn’t me in a professional light. At that time I was a manager of an oil company in Aberdeen and a more mature character than they maybe thought I was.”

Stewart was interviewed for the job and impressed the committee by producing a 10-page dossier on his plans for Buckie’s future.

“We had progress in the first year, a second year of building and everything took off when we won the league and a cup.

“We have definitely been building, and we are firmly established as a top team that is going to be challenging in all competitions.”

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