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Buckie Thistle take plenty of plaudits in Scottish Cup defeat to Celtic

The Breedon Highland League Jags were beaten 5-0 at Parkhead.

Buckie Thistle's Josh Peters, right, tries to get away from Celtic's Liam Scales. Pictures by Darrell Benns/DCT Media
Buckie Thistle's Josh Peters, right, tries to get away from Celtic's Liam Scales. Pictures by Darrell Benns/DCT Media

Celtic moved into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup with a 5-0 win – but Buckie Thistle left Parkhead with plenty of plaudits and memories to last a lifetime.

The Breedon Highland League side were unable to create the biggest upset in cup history, but their effort and willingness to battle was evident throughout.

Up against a Hoops side that were in imperious form, particularly in the first half, the Jags’ heads never dropped and they did themselves and their near 2,500-strong band of supporters proud.

In the lead up to the most high profile game in their history Buckie had only been able to train once due to snow.

That perhaps demonstrated the gulf Thistle were trying to bridge against the Premiership champions and Scottish Cup holders.

The Moray outfit gave it their best shot. But regardless of the scoreline the build-up to this tie and the day itself will go down in Buckie folklore and be fondly remembered for years to come for all those associated with the Jags.

Hoops field strong side for cup tie

Buckie made two changes to their side from last weekend’s win against Huntly. Andrew MacAskill returned to start for the first time since breaking an arm in October, while Joe McCabe was also restored to the 11.

The cup-tied Sam Morrison and suspended Scott Adams dropped out of the squad.

Although captain Callum McGregor was missing for Celtic they fielded a strong side including the likes of Joe Hart, Matt O’Riley and Kyogo Furuhashi.

In lashing rain and strong winds the Jags were given a fright after only two minutes. Liel Abada went down inside the area under pressure from Darryl McHardy.

Buckie’s Joe McCabe, left, knocks the ball away from Paulo Bernardo of Celtic.

There appeared to be little in it but VAR recommended referee Chris Graham go to the pitchside monitor and after nearly three minutes of reviewing Abada was confirmed as offside.

In their 5-4-1 formation the visitors had to be resolute in the early stages and unsurprisingly possession was limited.

After quarter of an hour Hamish Munro’s excellent sliding challenge prevented Kyogo opening the scoring from Abada’s right-wing delivery.

Midway through the first period Celtic had the ball in the net but it was disallowed for Greg Taylor being offside.

Hoops strike

In the 25th minute Buckie’s resistance was broken as O’Riley’s pinpoint pass released Paulo Bernardo and from just inside the box he dinked a neat finish beyond goalkeeper Stuart Knight.

There were a couple of moments of promise for Thistle after the opener. Max Barry released Josh Peters, who had a shot blocked, before being flagged offside.

Then Peters almost latched onto Liam Scales’ mis-placed header back to goalkeeper Hart.

But Celtic’s second goal arrived in the 33rd minute. Odin Holm played a one-two at the edge of the area with O’Riley and evaded McHardy’s challenge before slotting past Knight.

Buckie Thistle’s ultras at Celtic Park.

Five minutes before the interval it was almost 3-0 when Scales’ header from Luis Palma’s corner crashed off the crossbar.

Then Buckie went straight up the pitch and could have pulled a goal back as Peters raced onto Munro’s through ball.

He was one-on-one with Hart, but Peters’ left foot shot was blocked by the home custodian.

It was cruel for players and fans alike who could have been savouring an unforgettable moment.

Then Celtic hit back by scoring their third, with the Jags stretched Abada had space on the right to send the ball across for Kyogo to tap in.

Hosts don’t let up

Five minutes after the interval Celtic made it four as Palma arrowed a shot from 20 yards into the bottom right corner.

Shortly after it could have been 5-0, but Abada fired wide after the Hoops pounced on Munro’s mistake.

In the 54th minute the offside flag again denied Abada who had the ball in the net once more.

However, with progression to the next round assured the Hoops weren’t quite as creative or as clinical as in the first period.

Celtic’s Alistair Johnston, left, is pressured by Max Barry of Buckie Thistle.

Buckie enjoyed some more prolonged spells of possession and managed to get up the pitch on a few occasions without working Hart.

With quarter of an hour left Celtic found the net again. Sub Mikey Johnston’s trickery on the right set up fellow sub Rocco Vata to tap in from close range.

Knight then made a fine save to tip over Palma’s well-struck free-kick.

As time ticked down the Hoops introduced Stephen Welsh, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to face his cousin Peters, who been subbed earlier.

In the dying embers the Buckie supporters gave their heroes a rousing rendition of ‘When the Jags go steaming in’ and in return at full-time they were warmly acknowledged by the players and coaching staff.


Celtic (4-3-3) – Hart 6, A Johnston 7 (Ralston 72), Nawrocki 7 (Welsh 79), Scales 7, Taylor 7; Holm 7 (Kelly 72), O’Riley 8, Bernardo 7; Abada 8 (M Johnston), Palma 8, Kyogo 7 (Vata 63).

Subs not used – Bain, Lagerbielke, Turnbull, Bernabei.

Buckie Thistle (5-4-1) – Knight 8, McCabe 8, Munro 8 (Fyffe 84), Murray 8, McHardy 8, Wood 7 (Ramsay 72); MacIver 7 (MacKinnon 84), Pugh 7, MacAskill 7 (Goodall 63), Barry 8; Peters 7 (Keir 72).

Subs not used – Wood, Fraser, McLeod, Storrier.

Man of the match – Matt O’Riley.

Referee – Chris Graham 6.

Gallery: Buckie Thistle fans soak up Celtic Park atmosphere ahead of Scottish Cup tie