Published: 21/04/2017 04:30 - Updated: 21/04/2017 00:59

'Worst week of my life', says Graeme Stewart

Written byChris Saunderson

A RELIEVED Buckie Thistle boss Graeme Stewart must now focus on getting his players fully prepared for the game which can see them crowned Highland League champions.

Buckie boss Graeme Stewart congratulates his players following the draw at Formartine. Photo: Daniel Forsyth
Buckie boss Graeme Stewart congratulates his players following the draw at Formartine. Photo: Daniel Forsyth

The Jags' manager admitted the week leading up to the Highland League management committee meeting which absolved the club of any wrongdoing after being charged with fielding an ineligible player, had been the 'worst week of my life'.

He said: "I have not been able to work properly or sleep. I have felt so sorry for the players, fans, the directors and everyone connected with the club."

Stewart admitted training this week has not been good and it had been difficult to keep the spirits of the players up with the threat of a points deduction hanging over them.

The committee's decision to take "no further action" ensures there will be a final day battle for the title between Buckie, Cove and Brora.

Buckie striker John McLeod in an aerial battle with Formartine's Scott Henry and Jamie Michie. Photo: Daniel Forsyth
Buckie striker John McLeod in an aerial battle with Formartine's Scott Henry and Jamie Michie. Photo: Daniel Forsyth

Buckie know that a win over Strathspey will be good enough to clinch the league with a superior goal difference over Cove Rangers, who face Lossiemouth at Keith's Kynoch Park. Brora are two points clear at the top but have played all their games.

Added Stewart: "It is going to be tough because we know Strathspey will be up for the game. We need to concentrate and play our normal game."

The squad trained on Thursday night before the outcome of the management meeting was known.

He believes they reached the correct and fair decision after the club recalled Callum Murray from his loan spell at Deveronvale and he was an unused sub at Formartine.

League rules prevent players being registered after March 31, however, as Murray was a Buckie player, the club believed they could recall him to cover for injuries, and sought written and verbal confirmation from the Highland League secretary.

Stewart said: "The rule has to be changed as no matter how many times I read it, I couldn't tell what it meant. You can't punish a team that didn't benefit from the situation.

"It has been hard to get the players up this week but they are as high as kites now. We haven't won anything yet but we now have the opportunity."

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