BUCKIE Thistle's SPFL play-off semi-final with East Kilbride is perfectly poised after a 2-2 draw between the sides at Victoria park in the first leg.
The Highland League champions opened up a 2-0 lead with a Chris Angus goal after nine minutes and a Sam Urquhart penalty in the 32nd minute after Angus had been fouled by Fabio Capuano.
However, the Lowland League champions pulled one back a minute before half-time when Paul Woods scored from close range.
Sub Russell Mclean headed in an 84th minute equalier for East Kilbride which sets up an intriguing 90 minutes at the K-Park next Saturday.
The game saw two evenly matched sides strongly contest an entertaining game but it descended into an ill-tempered affair which referee David Munro struggled to control at times.
Buckie goalscorer Angus afterwards accused East Kilbride defender Capuano of twice spitting on him during the game.
Angus, who was booked for persistent fouling, believes Buckie were "not at the races" in terms of their performance and will come through the second leg.
Buckie boss Graeme Stewart was sent off late on after a tussle for the ball with Capuano on the sidelines, which sparked a mass melee in front of the dug-outs, while the East Kilbride kitman had earlier been sent off during a heated second half.
Stewart said: "I would have loved to have played in that. I thought it was physical but fair. There was a bit of sillyness on and off the park.
"Their right back tried to grab the ball and I have tried to get it back and he has grabbed my arm and I fell over with him. I was trying to get up and I hope I don't get into trouble because I didn't do anthing.
"We conceded two very soft goals. It is a cup final now. I think it will be a tough game and they go in slight favourites as they are at home.
"They are a good team and I can't wait for it. We were poor and maybe that was a hangover from last Saturday. Our boys deserved a few nights out after winning the league and next week we will be prepared.
"We know what we are up against now and hopefully we can do something.
"We couldn't pass the ball today because it was windy and the pitch was a bit bobbly so I am looking forward to playing on their 4G pitch."
East Kilbride boss Martin Lauchlan said the Buckie pitch was not conducive to good football and the "entertaining football we like to play".
"It took a wee bit of getting used to and by that time we were 2-0 down. I think the fightback, and particularly the second half performance was excellent.
"I thought there were three or four tackles early on in the game that the referee should have dealt with. I don't know what they do in the Highland League but these tackles were terrible and I actually think for the first goal my player was fouled just before the throw in.
"It's a physical game and you need to deal with it and I think we dealt with it better in the second half.
"We were caught cold a wee bit the first 45 but the second half we were better.
"Fabio had the ball in his hand and the Buckie manager has dragged him down to the deck. I didn't see too much of it as I was at the back of it, there was a bit of a rammy.
"It doesn't look as if they care if they go up or not, to me.
"I am always confident in my own team. You have got to give credit to the other team, they were a good side and physical and it was a good game; it was end to end.
"Buckie looked to go route one while we looked to play a bit more football, but they were a handful up front. On our surface we haven't lost many games at home and I am always confident at home."
Lauchlan paid tribute to sub Russell McLean for his leveller and admits his team will "really go for it" in the second leg.
Chris Angus said: "There was really a lot at stake. We are disappointed to lose a two goal lead.
"Only Dunfermline have beaten us at home and going 2-0 up we are looking to see that out. They got a late goal but I am sure we will do the business next week."
On the spitting allegations, Angus added: "I was spat on twice by their right back, which is disgusting and there is no need for that. If you do that on a night out on town you would probably get filled in and it is totally unacceptable. One of their players saw it and he has apologised.
"That happened just after the penalty when he said that I dived.
"We weren't at the races today. If I was to put them in the Highland League they would be a top four team but I don't think they are as good as us. I am 100 per cent confident we will go down there and beat them next week."
Buckie: Bell, Munro, Taylor, Maitlan (Carrol 36), MacKinnon, McLean, K Fraser, Wood, McLeod (Ross 75), Angus, Urquhart. Not used: J Fraser, Milne, Copeland, Sim.
East Kilbride: McGinley, Capuano, Russell, Proctor, Howie, Gibbons, Winter (McLean 78), McLeish (McBride 60), Woods, Strachan, Vitoria. Not used: Coll, Hughes, Stevenson, McLaren, McLean.
Referee: David Munro.