Victoria Park, Graeme Stewart Testimonial, 25/6/22
Me still 236, Wee Man still 112
Buckie Thistle Football Club
Founded – 1889
Nickname – The Jags
Honours – Highland Football League 1919/20, 1926/27, 1927/28, 1933/34, 1936/37, 1953/54, 1956/57, 1957/58, 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2016/17. Highland League Cup – 1953/54, 1955/56, 1956/57, 1957/58, 1960/61, 1979/80, 1986/87 and 2011/12. Aberdeenshire Cup -1936/37, 1938/39, 1945/46, 1952/53, 1953/54, 1954/55, 1956/57, 1984/85, 1986/87, 2005/06, 2007/08, 2009/10 and 2016/17. Aberdeenshire Shield – 1992/93 and 2007/08. Scottish Qualifying Cup – 1952/53, 1953/54, 1958/59 and 2003/04
Random Fact – The man of the moment , gaffer Graeme “Spider” Stewart was once punched in the face by his own team mate Ian Murray in a Scottish Cup tie between East Stirling and Buckie Thistle, this due to what Murray said was an effort issue. Incidentally, Murray was sent off, the game was voided and as East Stirling fielded an ineligible player this seeing Thistle through after losing 1 v 0, Murray’s ban stood.
Eighteen hours after we signed off the 2021/22 season we were on the trail of 2022/23. Wee Man was given his his usual few games choice and his retort was “Yeah lets watch Aberdeen, I’ll put my strip on”. Fair enough, it has been a while since we have watched the Dons.(However I was at Victoria Park almost 2 months ago exactly, but no issue). It’s not often he picks a revisit but I was more than happy to take this on. Watching the Dons at a HFL ground is always a good thing in my book. The morning instead of going somewhere was spent in the garden pinging shots at each other. A bloody fine day to do it, but noticeably the wind was well up. This made me wonder Viccy Park was like as it can be a hell of a windy place at times some times causing havoc with the ball. On arrival the wind was on and off as if the wind machine was stuttering but it was to hold the ball up at various point through the game. Wee Man first wanted to watch Joe Lewis warm up to “get tips” so we turned up early to do so, however he just wanted a kick about on the hill behind the goal and he shunned big Joe. In truth there was more action in that kick about than during the match.
Not a classic and minimal talking points. It was poor viewing. The Dons were clearly rusty, the wind was affecting things, there was very little solid attacking action of note from either team and both teams were wearing white(strange choice and got on my goat). However, there were a few promising signs though. The game was opened by a guard of honour and pipe band for Jags gaffer Stewart. A man who has signed for Buckie on five separate occasions in his career, the first being in 2006 when ex Don and childhood hero of mine,Duncan Shearer signed him during his spell as manager. A fitting tribute having Aberdeen for his testimonial being a boyhood Dons fan. Aberdeen took a strong team up for the occasion but were without some of their new signings and Lewis Ferguson. The Dons idea was to play two separate XIs, one in each half. The first was made up of Lewis, Richardson, Milne, Scales, McKenzie, Polvara, McCrorie, Besuijen, McLennan, Duncan and Watkins. The Dons had the first chance when Richardson sped into the box and crossed to Besuijen who attempted a bicycle kick but made a mess of it. From here Buckie saw large amounts of the ball and it could be argued were the better team in the opening fifteen minutes. The game was seriously lacking any sort of excitement. The closest came when Buckie’s Shaun Wood broke into the box and crossed to an open Sam Urqhart but the ball was just that bit to far behind the striker. If the ball was right it was one nil, I would bet my house on it. Buckie had another good chance when Hamish Munro headed over the bar. Aberdeen came into the game a bit and created a couple of decent chances. Ross McCrorie had the best when he broke into the box on the right and ran at goal. His effort was hard, on target but Herbert managed to palm it round the post. Not a chance as such but a moment of hilarity was when Connor McLennan from distance managed to clear the nets behind the goal and send the ball out of the ground. That is no easy feat. A truly woeful attempt. Polvara was next to try his luck but he saw an effort go just over. Then the Dons were unlucky not to take a late lead in the half when Watkins connected with a cross pulling a good save which hit the inside of the post then cleared off the line(looked off the line from where we were anyway). The Dons took a while to come into it but ended the half the better team. Besuijen was the shining light , I have a feeling seeing him over a full season could make for good watching. On a bad note, Jack McKenzie went off with a thigh injury on about half an hour. Half time came and I was informed by Wee Man, “that was boring”. He wasn’t wrong. Not great viewing at all.
HT 0 v 0
Half time saw another kick about on the hill. This time using the back of the wee shelter as our makeshift goal. Wee Man asked if we could do the same during the second half too. This comment summed up how much the game had stimulated his little mind, clearly not much. The Dons changed ten players at the half with only Kieren Ngwenya staying put as he had replaced McKenzie. This included Joe Lewis making way and much respect has to go to him as he spent the whole of HT getting selfies taken with him and signing programmes for the kids. Top man. The first thing replacement keeper Ritchie had to do was pick the ball out the net after Max Barry(ex Don) skelped an effort past him from range. Buckie almost had and should have had a second soon after when McAskill put wide from six yards. Ritchie then had to deal with a McAskill effort that took a funny bounce in front of him which I though he did well to adjust himself and put it over the bar. Other around me “he is pish”. The Dons leveled on the hour when Barron pinged a great ball to Ngwenya who took a decent touch then was chopped down as he made his way into the box. Christian Ramirez stepped up and sent Herbert the wrong way. Not much happened for large part of the half barring a thundering Hanratty effort for the Dons. The youngsters effort going just wide. The Dons kept the ball well, Barron’s passing range was great and there to be seen, Jonny Hayes tried to force the game but not much really happened. So much so Wee Man got bored again and kept trying to nutmeg me with his ball rather than watch. Luckily though his attentions were back on the game when the moment of the match came. Late on Jonny Hayes sent in a cross from the left which bypassed every Buckie defender and Dons attacker clearing the box. Luckily Matty Kennedy was running in and absolutely leathered the ball back on the half volley across goal into the substitute keeper Strong’s right corner. A strike worth of winning any game. A stunning effort. No sooner had the Northern Irishman smashed the Dons into the lead the referee blew for full time.
A poor fare for the punters but there are positives to come out of it. Connor Barron looks the boy. He will not be hanging about at AFC for too long. Besuijen is clearly a tricky player and could be a huge asset. Even though it was a friendly and a penalty, Ramirez scoring is a boost. But interestingly, I thought the second half team was better than the first half. This was the side with the bulk being youngsters too. That can only be a good thing. From a Buckie perspective, there are a lot of positives to take ahead of them trying to wrestle the league title away from the Broch. They are clearly a decent side.
To use the well used line in regards to these friendlies. “You cant take much from pre-season games”. It was shite to watch yes, I will wake up tomorrow and most likely have forgotten about it, again yes, but 22 players got their first run out for the season and also it did have some good points. Come on you reds.
Entrance – £10 Me £0 Wee Man
Attendance – ?
Pie – £2.20 juice x 2
Pint – Didn’t bother
Pre Match Predictions – Me 0 v 5, Wee Man 1 v 3
Overall Seasons Prediction Score– Me 0 v 0 Wee Man