Buckie Thistle manager Graeme Stewart is happy to be the underdog in Saturday’s SPFL play-off second leg at East Kilbride.
The Jags squandered a two-lead against Lowland League champions East Kilbride at Victoria Park on Saturday, but Stewart is still bullish in his belief his side can progress to a two-legged play-off final against League 2’s worst side.
There will also be no shortage of motivation after withering comments from his Kilby counterpart Martin Lauchlan ahead of Saturday’s return.
Buckie had gone 2-0 up through Chris Angus and Sam Urquhart, but Kilby pulled one back 60 seconds from the break through Paul Woods and six minutes from time substitute Russell McLean made it 2-2.
Stewart said: “It is only half-time in the tie and for me it’s still 50-50. Yes, they now have the advantage of playing the second leg at home, and on an artificial pitch but we’re all looking forward to it.
“Scoring twice against them on Saturday has given us even more belief. Having watched the highlights from the first leg we created more chances than they did.
“Both their goals came from poor defending on our part.
“If we can tighten that up I am confident we will score and hopefully do enough to win.”
Stewart believes Buckie’s excellent Scottish Cup record will stand them in good stead this time around, when he added: “In the recent past we have gone down to the likes of Annan Athletic and Edinburgh City in cup games and come away with a win. Going to East Kilbride won’t faze me or my players.
“I also quite like playing on artificial pitches and think it suits our style of play. Players such as Kevin Fraser and Chris Angus definitely prefer playing on it as it is a quick surface. We all know it is going to be a very tough game, but it is one I am really looking forward to, and think we have a good chance.”
Kilby manager Lauchlan was less than complimentary about the Jags’ manager and his players last weekend, and that could just be the added spur Buckie need ahead of the second leg.
Lauchlan said: “I don’t think their manager will be rugby tackling any of our players down here, Graeme Stewart even tackled one of our players off the field of play and got sent off, he’s just back from a five-game ban, so that tells you something.
“The pitch wasn’t conducive to the type of game we like to play and they are a typical Highland League team that like to fly into tackles all over the place. We have a great record on our own ground and have only lost once there this season.
“It’s an evenly matched contest, but they tried to get physical because of the quality of our players and to try to stop them playing.”