Cup final is a big incentive for Buckie Thistle
BEATING one of the Highland League's front runners was perfect Buckie Thistle preparation for Wednesday's Aberdeenshire Cup semi-final.
And as pleased as Jags' boss Graeme Stewart was with Saturday's 1-0 win over Formartine United, he believes there's still more to come from his team.
Buckie may need to find another gear when they host high-flying Fraserburgh in their crucial midweek cup clash.
The Broch won 3-1 at the Viccy in a recent league visit and are the Highland League's only unbeaten side with six wins out of six so far.
"We need to compete against teams like Fraserburgh and Brora who I think are the two top teams in the league, and the two everyone wants to beat," said Stewart.
"We didn't do ourselves justice (against Fraserburgh) last time but if we can try and put on a better performance and get a result this time, there's a big prize at the end of the game.
"It would be our first final in a long time, when Buckie have been used to being in finals over the years. It's a massive incentive for the players because I know they are always hungry to win things and to do that you have to beat the best teams."
An own goal by Formartine centre back Michael Clark – who was later sent off – gifted Jags full points on Saturday. Former Buckie keeper Kevin Main also saved a Shaun Carroll penalty in a match where Jags had the better chances.
"It was a really good performance but I still think we can play better," said Stewart.
"Defensively we were really good and when you get your first clean sheet against a team like Formartine, one of the teams that's favourites for the league, it's really pleasing.
"The only thing was we could have been a little bit more comfortable. We missed a penalty and a couple of one-on-ones which would have taken the pressure off if we had scored.
"Shaun has only ever missed two penalties for Buckie, one was in a penalty shoot-out against Keith. So that's two missed out of about 24 or something, and it wasn't a bad penalty but a great save by Kevin Main."
Buckie last reached a cup final in their league-winning season three years ago, beating Cove on penalties in the Aberdeenshire Cup at Turriff. they would dearly love to regain the silverware but face a tough challenge against a strong and determined Broch.
"You get judged on things you win," said Stewart.
"It almost became a habit here at Buckie where you expected to win something every year and get to finals.
"We are probably at the point where we are hoping to get into final and I want to change that mentality so that every year we have a really good chance of winning something."
Jags suffered an injury blow last week when centre back Sam Morrison broke his wrist in training, after a shot by team-mate Hamish Munro struck his arm. He needed surgery the following day and could be out for up to two months.