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Aberdeenshire Shield: Buckie look for final say as Banks o’ Dee aim for double

Buckie Thistle boss Graeme Stewart is determined to lead his side into the Aberdeenshire Shield final
Buckie Thistle boss Graeme Stewart is determined to lead his side into the Aberdeenshire Shield final

Graeme Stewart has challenged his Buckie Thistle players to go to the next level by winning silverware.

The Jags face Banks o’ Dee in the semi-final of the Morrison Motors (Turriff) Aberdeenshire Shield at Victoria Park.

Huntly await the winner in the final and, having not won a trophy since the Highland League title in 2017, Buckie manager Stewart says that needs to change.

He said: “We were in the Highland League Cup final last year and got beat by Rothes.

“That was our first final for four years and we need to be getting there more often.

“I’ve said to the players the challenge is to and win some silverware and go up to the next level as a team.

“For us to do that we need to win trophies – this is an opportunity for us to do that.

“It’s as hard a game as you could get, Banks o’ Dee would be a top four team in the Highland League.

“They’ve shown their quality by beating East Fife in the Scottish Cup as well.

“We’ll have to be at our best or they will beat us, it’s that simple.”

Stewart respects Banks o’ Dee and believes it would give his side a lift if they can progress.

He added: “It would build confidence, because, if you beat Banks o’ Dee, you know you’re a good team.

“Getting to the final would give everyone something to look forward to and would keep the season alive.

“We’ve still got the league as well, but having a cup final will keep a spring in everyone’s step.”

Kyle MacLeod, Adam MacLeod and Callum Murray are all missing for Buckie.

Dee looking for a double

Meanwhile, Banks o’ Dee are aiming to do the Aberdeenshire double, having lifted the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup earlier in the season.

No Junior club had won that competition before this term and no Junior side has claimed the Shield.

Co-manager Jamie Watt believes his charges have what it takes.

He said: “We’re the only team that can do it and we’re two games away from managing to do it.

“It would be the stuff of dreams for us. To think you could win one is great, but we’re now only 90 minutes from the final with the possibility to win the Shield as well.

“At the start of the season, you just hope you could get to one of the the finals and see what’s possible on the day.

Banks o’ Dee co-managers Roy McBain, left, and Jamie Watt are eyeing up an Aberdeenshire Cup and Shield double

“But now we’re in a position to do something really special and if we could get to the final against Huntly it would be a great occasion.

“We’re desperate to try to do it – we’ve built a winning team and we experienced winning the cup and we’re desperate to get back to another final.”

Although Watt has confidence in his players, he believes Buckie are formidable opponents.

He added: “They’ll be up for it, we’re under no illusions as to how hard it will be.

“I know Buckie haven’t been in many finals in recent years and I’m sure they’ll be quite confident of getting there.

“We need to match that attitude and intensity.”

Captain Kane Winton and Darryn Kelly are among Dee’s absentees.

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