Player-assistant manager Lewis MacKinnon insists it’s up to Buckie Thistle to show they can compete with Brora Rangers and avenge the pain of their last visit to Dudgeon Park.
The Jags tackle the Cattachs tomorrow in the second Highland League Cup semi-final.
As last season’s champions, Brora – who have prepared for the tie with three League Cup group fixtures – start as favourites to progress to a final against Formartine United or Rothes.
Defender MacKinnon says it’s up to Buckie to find top form if they are to get the better of the Sutherland side tomorrow.
He said: “Brora are the champions and are a very good side and it’s up to us to raise our level and show we can compete.
“We’ve been playing Junior teams in pre-season and gradually building up the quality of the teams we’ve played.
“But we’ve spoken as a group about it, and no disrespect to them, but we’re coming up against a team that is miles ahead of the teams we’ve been playing before now.
“We’ve cruised along in the friendlies in third gear and maybe spells in fourth gear, we need to find fifth gear to get a good result against Brora and even if we do find that level there’s no guarantee of victory.
“I think we can compete with Brora and we go into every game thinking we can win and this is no different – we believe we can do it.”
Buckie’s last visit to Dudgeon Park was 11 months ago when they were thrashed 7-0 and finished with 10 men.
At that point in the season, only goal difference separated the sides at the top of the Highland League table, but – when the season was declared over in March – there was 19 points between the clubs.
MacKinnon is determined to make up for that disappointment.
He added: “Our last visit to Dudgeon Park was a 7-0 defeat, so it’s in the memory.
“It’s still raw in my mind and I think we were sitting top of the league at the time and playing well.
“That was the start of a poor run for us. Yes in some ways it was a freak result, we had a man sent off and maybe left ourselves too open chasing the game in the second half when we maybe should have taken 3-0 on the chin.
“But that’s the kind of team we are and I think that will be mentioned before kick-off to go and put that right and show we are a team that can compete with Brora on any given day.”
With tomorrow’s game being played behind closed doors, MacKinnon hopes streaming the game online for supporters to pay to watch can be a success.
He said: “It is strange with no fans with no noise when you score a goal or even hearing some of the grief the ref gets.
“I hope a lot of people tune into watch the stream and it will be good for the Buckie folk to see their team in a game after so long without it and hopefully the streaming can take off and help the league going forward.”