Aberdeen could debut Celtic loan signing Liam Scales as Pittodrie first-team players head to Victoria Park for Buckie Thistle manager Graeme Stewart’s testimonial match
ABERDEEN are set to send a strong squad of first-team players to Buckie Thistle for Graeme Stewart’s testimonial match.
The Jags staged the tribute game for manager Stewart as a reward for his three stints as a player and a managerial stint that began as a goaltender in late 2014 before being named the following February.
It is understood Dons manager Jim Goodwin could field his entire squad for the clash at Victoria Park on Saturday, two days before leaving for a pre-season tour of Spain.
The Pittodrie club could include new signing Liam Scales, with the Irishman having signed a season-long loan from Premiership champions Celtic.
Other Dons summer signings who could feature in Buckie include Albanian midfielder Ylber Ramadan and defender Jayden Richardson, signed from Nottingham Forest as a replacement for teenage Liverpool-bound star Calvin Ramsay.
The match is sponsored by Aberdeen Subsea Pressure Controls Ltd whose managing director Neil Fentie donated 60 match tickets to be distributed through Buckie Thistle’s youth development.
The Jags signed goalkeeper Bal Demus on loan from Cove, defenders Joe McCabe, Cohen Ramsay and Ryan Fyfe, midfielder Tom MacLennan and forward Lyall Keir, who was loaned to Dyce Juniors.
Stewart said Buckie is the club that gave him the fondest memories of a career that included spells at Caley Thistle, Peterhead and Montrose.
“I was 24 or 25 when Duncan Shearer brought me here on loan from Buckie (in 2007) and at the end of the season I ended up signing a two-year contract.
“I went to Inverurie for a year and then Gregg Carrol re-signed me for Buckie and stayed through those glory years where we won leagues and cups.
“It was a good time to be involved with Buckie.”
A second stint at Inverurie lasted only a few months before a third Jags manager, Gary Hake, brought Stewart back to Victoria Park in 2013.
Within a year, poor results led to Hake’s departure and Stewart was asked to take on the team on an interim basis with compatriot Lewis Mackinnon as assistant manager.
“I think the club would now admit there’s no way they want me to be the permanent manager,” Stewart added.
“I was 31 and had a reputation. I was aggressive and had a few red cards in my playing days because that was how I played because I probably didn’t have the ability of other players.
“But I really wanted the job. My legs were kind of gone due to injuries, I broke my medial ligament and broke my ankle with pins and I myself knew my time playing in the Highland League was probably over.
“I realized that if I was still playing, there was no way I would get the job. I wouldn’t be able to focus on the game as a manager, and I couldn’t exactly ask the players to be disciplined when I was sometimes undisciplined on the pitch.
“Although the club could see some kind of character on the pitch, it wasn’t me in a professional light. At that time I was an oil company manager in Aberdeen and a more mature character than they maybe they didn’t think so.
Stewart was interviewed for the position and impressed the committee by producing a 10-page dossier on his plans for Buckie’s future.
“We progressed in the first year, a second year of construction and everything took off when we won the league and a cup.
“We have definitely built and firmly established ourselves as a top team that will be tough in all competitions.”