BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Buckie Thistle boss Graeme Stewart has paid tribute to his board after the Highland League outfit shelled out £5,000 in a bid to realise their Scottish Cup dream.
The Victoria Park side face a mammoth 560-mile round-trip to Stranraer on Saturday, having navigated another lengthy trek to face Edinburgh City in the previous round.
However, the directors at the club have spared no expense to ensure Thistle have the best possible preparation for the tie.
The squad will be treated to a slap-up meal in Perth on Friday night, before staying in an Ayr hotel prior to the fixture, with the build-up coming it at a hefty four-figure sum.
The 33-year-old boss said: “The board has been brilliant with me and, as a young manager, they have put me through my badges and given me a crack at management. And now they have really backed us for this tie.
“It is a real chunk of change – around £5,000 – to get us up there, with nice beds, a good bus, a meal and a good hotel. It’s a big effort.
“We have a young team so it will be a great experience for the lads, it is the first time they have stayed overnight for a game and it will be a real buzz for them. There’s no pressure and they can enjoy every minute of this.
“On paper, we shouldn’t have a chance against a side in League One, but we have had them watched and I believe we have an opportunity. We’re the underdogs, but we’ll give it a real go.”
Stewart is no stranger to a Scottish Cup giant-killing, having been part of the Inverness squad which shocked Celtic for the second time in three years in 2003, securing a 1-0 win in the Highlands.
And he has urged his side to grasp a golden opportunity to tee up a dream tie against the likes of Celtic, Rangers or Aberdeen.
The former Montrose and Peterhead player continued: “I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of Scottish Cup runs, being part of the team which beat Celtic 1-0, and I’ve told the boys anything is possible. These things happen.
“And there is the carrot of those sorts of team coming in at the next round. These lads could draw a Celtic or Rangers, or an Aberdeen, who a lot of the boys support.”
The man who scored that decisive goal against the Hoops 12 years ago, Dennis Wyness, now plays for Buckie Thistle and, even at the age of 38, Stewart is adamant the former Hearts striker is capable of making his mark at Stair Park.
Stewart added: “Dennis is the fittest boy in the team, he is settled with a family and a real example to the rest of the players. There are boys who are half his age and not as fit as Dennis, he is a brilliant guy to have going into this game.”