Weather watch: Pitch inspection this morning for Buckie Thistle's Scottish Cup second round match against Caley Thistle
50% off a six-month digital e-edition subscription with promo code '50OFF'
BUCKIE Thistle boss Graeme Stewart is pleased to see Scottish Cup fever spreading in the town – but sad to see fans miss out.
In a battle of the Jags, Buckie Thistle take on Caley Thistle in the kind of tie which would have attracted thousands to Victoria Park but for coronavirus.
A pitch inspection will take place this morning to determine if the game goes ahead today or is rescheduled for Tuesday (8pm kick-off).
Visit Buckie Thistle's Facebook page for news on the inspection.
Stewart faces up to his former Inverness club, who he was a youth player with when they caused one of the cup’s greatest-ever shocks by beating Celtic in 2000.
Now he is planning what would be a similar Scottish Cup upset if Buckie could defeat the 2015 cup winners.
With no supporters allowed into stadiums due to the new lockdown, Jags fans can’t even watch the game on live streams or social media, a matter of great regret according to Stewart.
“Looking forward to this cup game is keeping us going a little bit just now through all this horrible news,” he said. “It’s something to concentrate on.
“It’s a big shame that fans can’t come. We would much rather have them there.
“It could have been close to capacity and the club could have made 20 or 30 grand out of it.
“But it’s not just been a bad year for Buckie, it’s been a bad year for the whole world so we don’t want to moan too much.”
The lockdown has also affected Buckie’s preparation for their biggest Scottish Cup game in many years, with restrictions on training facilities meaning they could manage just one training session this week.
“But it’s an exciting game, the players are excited and hopefully we can do ourselves justice,” Stewart added. “We are playing well and the boys have reacted to the whole environment and conditions that we are getting accustomed to, and they are doing their individual training.
“They are looking fit and strong, which I am delighted about, putting in the effort off the park and they are listening to me and the management team. There’s room for improvement everywhere but considering what we’re going through, I’m delighted with how they’ve been handling themselves this season so far.”
The Buckie boss is heartened by press comments from Caley counterpart John Robertson, who says he rates his opponents highly and is wary of the potential for a cup giant-killing act.
“I appreciate his comments and I know he is being honest and they will be wary of one or two of our players, but we’ve got to be wary of their whole team.
“I think he is right that we’ve got two or three special players that could play at a higher level. The likes of Kev Fraser, Andrew MacAskill, Sam Urquhart, Kyle MacLeod, Scott Adams – they are special and these boys can cause problems.
“We know they can score against anyone on their day. Anyone that’s watched us will know we’ve got dangerous players.
“We are going to cause them problems during the game. They go into the game as favourites and know that if they play to their capabilities they should be winning, that’s just a fact with the levels that we both play at.”
Stewart does have a decision to make on who to play in goal. Martin Mackinnon is on loan from Inverness so can’t play, while the manager is waiting to see if Daniel Bell returns from offshore in time for the game.
He will choose between Bell and youngster Lee Herbert for the position, while striker Steven Ross has left the club to focus on family commitments.