Fraserburgh skipper Ryan Christie will call time on his 19-year senior career after he makes his final appearance in tonight’s Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup tie against Aberdeen University.
Defender Christie has opted to retire having racked up 346 appearances for the Broch since making his debut against Keith in 2002.
The 36-year-old returned to action last November following more than a year out with a cruciate injury, only for last term to be cut short by Covid-19.
Although he has featured in the early part of this term, Christie has decided to retire having already taken up a coaching role with the Broch’s under-21s side.
Christie said: “It’s going to be an emotional night for me. It has been a long career at the Broch, which I’m grateful for and lucky to have had.
“Making the decision to stop was tough, but it was the right decision for me, my family and the club in the long-term.
“It had to be done. I have had six operations in my knee and two operations in my back. After every one it has been a lengthy time on the sidelines with the physio and rehabilitation.
“It has been a long, hard road for many years. The last year has been about getting my fitness up and doing work to build up my knee again. It’s just too much work, so I think it’s time to give the body a rest and let it recover.”
The Broch have claimed 11 pieces of silverware during Christie’s playing career, and he reflects fondly on his memories of representing his hometown side.
Christie added: “It was nearly 20 years ago I made my debut when I was 17.
“I was in the under-16s with the Broch, I played for the under-21s and then broke into the first team and was lucky enough to keep my place.
“To my eyes the Broch is the best club in the league by an absolute mile.
“To represent the club, play for it and be part of it for the last 20 years has been unbelievable. I am extremely lucky.
“There have been many highlights. I was part of the squad the year we won the league in 2001-02.
“I never got a game, but I was on the bench a few times and among it.
“I had my testimonial a couple of years ago, but leading the team out in the Scottish Cup against Rangers was probably the main highlight. That was the one that will stick with me for the rest of my life I would say.”
Christie is excited by what the future holds, adding: “I took on the under-21s at the start of the season so I will continue in that role, and I’ll hopefully help out the club in some other shape or form as well.
“It’s good to be able to give something back by working with the youngsters. I am enjoying it.”
Deveronvale manager Craig Stewart is hoping for an improved display from his side when they make the trip to Dyce Juniors for their last-eight tie.
Stewart was critical of his side’s showing in their 5-0 derby loss to Buckie Thistle on Saturday, and he said: “It wasn’t just about work-rate, it was when we gained possession as well. We didn’t do well enough on or off the ball and we didn’t work hard enough.
“We set a standard against Nairn County away, and even in the games against Brora Rangers and Brechin City. We were well below that on Saturday.”
Huntly’s tie against Formartine United has been postponed following a positive Covid-19 case in the Black and Golds camp.
A Huntly statement said: “One player in our first team squad has tested positive for Covid earlier this evening.
“This has resulted in the Aberdeenshire Cup quarter-final against Formartine United being postponed.
“The SFA will carry out the relevant Test and Trace investigations and until this is completed we will not know if there will be any further games affected.”