For the second time in the history, Tain Thistle were crowned Ross-shire Welfare League Champions following one of the most dramatic season finishes in the league's history.
2013 "Champions": A Season In Review
Requiring three points to level Alness Athletic at the top of the league table at the end of July, Tain completed the league calendar on 26 points, the same as their Easter Ross neighbours with a 2-0 win on their rivals' turf. Tain boasted a goal difference of +3 more than Alness, and the head to head showed a dominant 4-1 aggregate score for the Jags over both league games. Nevertheless, league rules dictate that a play-off must take place if two teams end the season on the same points, to decide the championship.
Confident of winning the game on either park, Thistle manager Gary Ross surrendered home advantage and agreed to the game being played at Alness. In the end, the venue was irrelevant as the Jags were triumphant and walked out 7-2 winners - clearing any remaining doubt over who the best team in the Ross-shire Welfare league were in 2013.
The feat was something of an achievement for Ross and his team - having been reshaped top to bottom, bringing in a number of new players. The path to the league title was not without stuttering however.
Beginning the season early, the Jags got off to a mixed start in friendly matches. Despite winning five games, their momentum was chopped with a 1-0 loss to Embo in a friendly challenge cup game. The first round of the League Cup followed with another struggle against newcomers Fortrose Union. The Jags took the lead late on, but an equaliser and extra time winner for the Black Isle side saw the Jags knocked out of a cup at the first time of asking. A refereeing error left a dark cloud over the match, and Thistle were yet to find their stride.
It looked as though Thistle may have been hitting the right note in their first league game, going 3-0 up against Balintore at the Links however catastrophe followed as the Seasiders pulled the score back to 3-3. Adding insult to injury, the game was also being played for the Graham Jardine Memorial Quaich and a shell-shocked Tain lost out 5-4 on penalties. Altogether, May proved to be a disappointing start, winning only two of their six matches.
The 5th of June proved to be the turning point. Losing 2-1 to Social Club away from home, the gaffer was beginning to question whether or not the team was good enough to compete for the league. What followed a week later however would change the entire landscape of the title challenge. With the team 1-0 down at half time, Ross tore into his team and called upon the passion he had yet to see. In the second half, they delivered it in spades. Coming back, Tain finished the game 2-1 winners, leaving Alness stunned and the rest of the league taking notice.
From then, Thistle embarked on eight consecutive victories - a club record, during which Liam Rostock hit form, scoring three back-to-back hat-tricks. That run also saw the club secure their first trophy of the season, claiming the Coronation Cup for the first time in the unlikely location of Maryburgh, beating Fortrose 1-0. Chris Mailley scored the only goal of the game in what turned out to be the strike of the season.
Thistle's league challenge took an unfortunate turn in mid July. With the team appearing in back-to-back cup finals, it could be argued the team's focus was elsewhere, and they fell 3-2 to Cromarty at home. The defeat was Ross's first home loss as manager. A glance at the table saw that only a play-off could secure the title for the Jags, unless Alness were to slip up.
As it happened, Tain would need the play-off. Despite beating Social Club 6-1 and Fortrose 4-2, not to mention a confident 2-0 win away from home against the then champions Alness, the play-off proved unavoidable. The rest, as they say, was history - and Tain Thistle were crowned champions thanks to a nine goal thriller at Alness.
Adding to the accolades, Thistle were awarded the Charity Shield while Liam Rostock shared the Top Goalscorer prize with Alness striker Michael McKenzie. The club itself dished out awards at the end of the season, with Arron Christie deservedly picking up the Players' Player of the Year award and Liam Rostock, having already collected the Top Goalscorer Shield, was also awarded the Player of the Year prize from the Club Committee. Though not in attendance, John Maclellan was awarded Most Improved Player and Chris Mailley for his wondergoal at Maryburgh was awarded Goal of the Season.
Article written on 16 Oct 2013 | Link to article
Tain Thistle go into Wednesday's game against knowing nothing but a win will do to force the Ross-shire Welfare league championship into a playoff. A win could take the Jags ahead of their Alness rivals on goal difference, however Ross-shire Welfare rules state that if 1st and 2nd are on the same points, a playoff must be played. Gary Ross and his men will be looking to force that very issue, by closing the gap between the sides on Wednesday.
Thistle set for July league climax
Since the club's Coronation Cup win, Thistle have lost only twice in eight games, but the defeat may have cost them dearly. Beating Cromarty 3-1 in the first round of the Seaboard Cup, Tain recorded a season record 11-2 win over Ross-shire Club only days later.
The Jags made in 8 wins in a row with an 8-0 win over Alness the last time the league contenders met on July 6th, in the semi final of the Seaboard Cup. Liam Rostock netted his third hat-trick in as many games, shooting him up the scoring charts.
The chance to win the league outright took a turn for the worse a few days later though, as the Jags fell 3-2 to Cromarty at home - Tain Thistle's first home defeat under Gary Ross since the gaffer took over in September 2012.
To make matters worse, Thistle's "bad week" continued, losing 2-1 to a home advantaged Balintore in the Seaboard Cup final. The Jags jumped back to winning ways the following Wednesday however with a 4-2 win over Fortrose Union.
With an eye on the Alness vs Cromarty game, Thistle did the necessary against Social Club a week later, recording a 6-1 win, however Alness kept their league lead with a 3-0 win over Cromarty.
Most recently, Tain continued their return to form with a 4-1 win over Balintore to reach yet another final - but the small matter of visiting Alness on Wednesday will take precedence for the time being.
Article written on 29 Jul 2013 | Link to article
For the first time in their seventeen year history, Tain Thistle have won the Coronation Cup, with a narrow but confident 1-0 victory over Fortrose and Rosemarkie Union.
Tain Thistle win Coronation Cup
Owing to a last minute change, the venue of the final, usually Dingwall's Jubilee Park, was switched to Maryburgh. The team, along with many supporters, made their way from the St Duthus Hotel in Tain to Maryburgh at 1pm. While the supporters convened at the nearby Cottage Bar, the squad and manager Gary Ross prepared for the match.
Just as the game began, the heavens opened and a steady shower of rain followed for what seemed like the entire duration of the match. Undeterred, the team on the park and those on the sidelines (including those cowering under Ian Christie's umbrella) lined up with confidence.
Another last minute change saw the unfortunate withdrawal of Steven Martin, who himself was returning prematurely from an injury to cover the absence of Johnny Allan. Keeperless, the gaffer made several frantic calls. The result was the signing of veteran stopper Gordy Macinnes, formerly of Gary Ross's Inver.
A cagey start by both teams saw little action in the opening ten minutes, with stubborn defending and a tight midfield taking shape in the middle third of a very short Maryburgh park.
It fell to Liam Rostock to send in the first test, his shot flying across the face of goal and just wide of the Fortrose goal. Indeed, the Jags were enjoying most of the passing, continuing to abide by the short passing game that has seen them in such great form of late - however the breakthrough seemed to be eluding them - thanks to clever sweeping and resilience in the Black Isle side's back line.
After half an hour, a moment of brilliance heralded the opener. Chris "Chippie" Mailley, rarely a scorer of simple goals, curled a shot from at least 25 yards over the top of Fortrose defence, and Martin Smith in the Union goal, landing in the top corner of the net. The goal naturally drew the applause and admiration of the Jags' faithful, but it would take even the most critical of the game's spectators to argue that a finer goal has been scored this season.
Play opened up after goal was scored and up front for Thistle, Rostock and Jamie Macdonald continued to give the Fortrose back line a torrid time of it. It was Fortrose, however, with two speculative efforts testing the Jags' goal who provided the next two chances of the game. An shot from the edge of the eighteen yard box, launched high into the air by Lewis Graizer, came down towards Macinnes in the Tain goal at a ferocious pace. It seemed as though the Thistle stopper might get to it, but the shot cannoned off the crossbar with an almighty thwack and bounced over the net. A similar effort followed only five minutes later, this time Stevie Stewart the striker for Fortrose, rattling the top of the cross bar. The woodwork was certainly proving to be the Union's undoing!
There was little other than a Macdonald header nodded just wide for Thistle to report in the first half, and as the rain continued to fall down, referee Michael Stainke called for an end to the first forty-five.
Thistle's search for a second was the main story of the opening stages of the second half, but despite enjoying the lion's share of the ball and a series of corners, Fortrose defended resolutely. Likewise in the Thistle defence, impeccable timing and organisation from the back three of Arron Christie, Keith Dingwall and Alan Duff ensured that Macinnes had a mostly quiet second forty-five.
With ten minutes left, the game opened up somewhat, Fortrose throwing everything forward in search of the elusive equaliser. A couple of free kicks followed for the Union, Partick McGarvey and Stuart Gammie both failing to find the target. At the other end, Darran Goller came close for Thistle striking the post with a shot curled across the face of Smith's goal; Martyn Farquhar rifling a shot into the oncoming arms of the Fortrose stopper before assistant Billy Murray's flag was raised for offside.
In the dying moments, it seemed that the wind had truly been taken out of the Union's sails as Gordon Whyte, having been booked earlier in the game, was sent off for a late challenge on Thistle's Martin Smith.
Play concluded after only a couple of added minutes and with that, Thistle were crowned Coronation Cup winners for 2013. Despite the narrow scoreline, the one goal that separated the sides was truly worthy of winning a cup final, and shall be remembered as one of the club's hardest fought cup victories.
After the game, both sets of players, committee and supporters convened at the Ross-shire Club in Dingwall, sponsors of the trophy. Sandwiches and cold snacks, kindly laid on by the venue, made for a great post-match refreshment. Overseeing the presentations, Ross-shire Welfare league chairman Jimmy Patullo presented the runners-up with their medals and match-ball, while the Tain lads collected their winners' medals and captain Daniel Christie accepted the trophy on behalf of the team. Speaking after collecting the cup, Christie congratulated those involved, and offered his and the team's admiration for Fortrose Union, toasting the Black Isle club as a great addition to the league.
Thistle now look forward to a free week (post-match post-evening recovery!) before returning to action on Saturday away to another Black Isle side in Cromarty to begin their defence of the Seaboard Cup.
G Macinnes, A Christie, K Dingwall, A Duff, G Davis, M Farquhar, S Wood (D Goller), D Christie, C Mailley, L Rostock (C Sutherland), J Macdonald (M Smith)
Sub not used:
C Mailley 31
M Smith, K Dingwall
Article written on 23 Jun 2013 | Link to article
An all-round team performance saw Thistle notch a 5-0 win over rivals at Balintore at Lower Seaboard Park last night. A hat-trick from Jamie Macdonald and goals from Arron Christie and Martyn Farquhar saw Thistle pick up all three points in the continued race for the Ross-shire Welfare league title.
Balintore 0 Tain Thistle 5
Article written on 20 Jun 2013 | Link to article
Tain Thistle made their into the Coronation Cup final this afternoon with a confident 3-1 win over Invergordon Social Club. An early goal snuck in at the near post by Scottie Innes gave Thistle the lead on 16 minutes before Liam Rostock made it 2-0 shortly after.
Thistle into Coronation Cup final
Social Club pulled a goal back in the second half, but it was Liam Rostock with his 70th goal for the club who secured the points with 15 minutes remaining to send Thistle into the final.
Article written on 15 Jun 2013 | Link to article
An incredible second half fight back saw Tain Thistle overcome league leaders Alness Athletic at the Links last night, recording their second win in four days over the champions.
Tain Thistle 2 Alness Athletic 1
A stuttering start saw Tain unable to test Andrew Maitland in the Alness goal during the opening stages, while Alness at the other end struggled to find the target.
It took forty-one minutes for the deadlock to be broken as Alness went 1-0 up with a opportunistic shot from Ally Rose at close range.
Strong words followed from gaffer Gary Ross and the same again at half time and a very different Tain Thistle emerged in the second half. Now maintaining possession and creating chances, the Thistle equaliser eventually came from the back, as Arron Christie found space from a free kick and curled a left foot drive beyond Maitland into the top corner of the net. It was as good a goal as anyone will see watching Ross-shire Welfare football this season.
Spurred on by the leveller, Thistle now looked for a winner, however their attacking options took a blow shortly after striker John Maclellan was introduced, as wing partner Darran Goller was mercilessly hacked to the ground. Goller had to leave the field of play, but the remaining Thistle men were undeterred as Maclellan and Rostock soon linked up to create the winner - the former squaring for the latter to run past the last defender and rifle the telling shot home.
At 2-1, Thistle expertly saw out the remaining minutes to secure a vital three points.
Article written on 13 Jun 2013 | Link to article
A valiant performance from the Jags over 120 minutes saw the Tain men beat Alness Athletic today in the first round of the Coronation Cup. A headed goal from Martin Smith in the second half of extra time saw Thistle run out 1-0 winners in a close encounter.
Tain oust Alness from Coronation Cup
Report to follow.
Article written on 09 Jun 2013 | Link to article
A last minute goal punished Tain Thistle for hesitance at the back in Invergordon on Wednesday, after a Liam Rostock goal had seen the Jags in the lead for most of the match.
Social Club 2 Tain Thistle 1
Rostock took advantage of slack work in the Invergordon defence after 15 minutes, poking the ball past Stephen Campbell to make it 1-0.
Thistle seemed like they would add to their tally as time went on however efforts from Rostock, Jamie Macdonald and John Maclellan all fell astray.
At the other end, it was all quiet until the latter stages when Mark Reid turned a short beyond stand-in goalkeeper Scott Innes to make it 1-1. With ten minutes left on the clock, Thistle frantically chased for an equaliser, substitute Daniel Christie coming close with an effort - but it was Social Club who scored the winner, as Kraig Vass took advantage of a blunder at the back to nip and finish.
Article written on 07 Jun 2013 | Link to article
Thistle recorded a 4-2 win in the Ross-shire Welfare league tonight against a firey Fortrose Union. First half goals from Darran Goller, Liam Rostock and John Maclellan gave the Jags a 3-1 lead at half time before Maclellan netted his second to make it 4-1. Shaun Etheridge scored a late consolation for Union with five minutes remaining.
Tain Thistle 4 Fortrose and Rosemarkie Union 2
More to follow.
Article written on 30 May 2013 | Link to article
Tain Thistle continued a disappointing tradition of losing in Alness to league rivals Athletic with an extra time defeat in the Pattisons' Cup this afternoon.
Jags crash out of Pattisons' Cup in extra time
Ally Rose opened the scoring for Alness in the first half, before Arron Christie equalised for Tain late in the second. The game finished 1-1 in normal time but the home side made easy work of it during the extra 30 minutes, running out 5-1 winners.
More to follow.
Article written on 25 May 2013 | Link to article
Missing the key component of goals, a dominant Tain Thistle were left frustrated on Wednesday against a Cromarty with fortune on their side. Missing Martyn Farquhar, Darran Goller and Lewis Ross from the team who successfully defeated Balintore on Saturday past, messrs Graeme Smart, Dean Morgan and Vinnie Wood were brought back into the squad.
Cromarty 1 Tain Thistle 1
Graeme Davis thought he had put Thistle into the lead after only 5 minutes when he cleverly nipped past the Cromarty back line to slot home, however referee Gary McCarthy adjudged that he was offside.
Jamie Macdonald kept up the pressure moments later, forcing a tremendous reaction save from Craig Maclean as his shot curled in towards the far post. Andy Durrand too was unlucky as a low speculative sent in by the full back shaved the upright as Maclean remained rooted to the spot.
At the other end, Steven Martin had only one save to make, when a defensive lapse allowed Jason Hill to shoot directly at the Tain custodian.
A goal eventually came for Tain when Martin Smith, scoring in his second game running, made it 1-0 just before the half hour mark.
The first half ended in disappointing fashion however as an infringement in the box led to a penalty award for Cromarty. Making no mistake, Simon Hill lashed the ball past Martin to make it 1-1, leaving the Jags feeling very aggrieved not to be finishing the half in the lead.
Replacing Hill with Phil Macdonald, Cromarty looked less of a threat up front in the second half and something of an onslaught began from Thistle as Liam Rostock was introduced to play. The crafty forward danced past two Cromarty defenders within moments of his introduction before lucklessly shooting wide of the far post.
A Scott Innes header was saved shortly after and Daniel Christie rattled the crossbar with a thunderous volley.
Despite the Jags' best efforts, it remained 1-1 and although not a bad result on paper, they will be disappointed to be leaving the Black Isle with only a share of the spoils.
The draw leaves Thistle with a game in hand over Balintore level on 5 points, while Cromarty and Alness Athletic sit two points ahead on 7 points.
Martin, Davis, Durrand, Innes, Dingwall, A Christie, Wood (Smart), D Christie, Sutherland (Rostock), Macdonald, Smith
Subs not used:
Article written on 23 May 2013 | Link to article
Tain Thistle battled their way into the semi final of the Pattisons' Challenge Cup this afternoon with a 3-1 win over a young Balintore side. Gary Ross welcomed Martyn Farquhar and Daniel Christie back into the squad, while Vinnie Wood dropped out due to injury. New signings Martin Smith and Lewis Ross also took places on the bench.
Jags beat Balintore to advance to Pattisons' semi
A frustrating first half saw the action flow from end to end as neither side appeared ready to break the deadlock. Liam Rostock and Darran Goller were both unlucky for the Jags as they seeked to take advantage of the better share of possession and at the other end the quick forward play of Michael Newlands and Terrence Brady for the home side was always a threat.
Balintore, in fact, were unlucky not to have taken the lead a number of times as Thistle's defending left a lot to be desired, the Seaboard men failing to find the target at the necessary moment to test Steven Martin.
The only goal of the first period came right before the half time whistle as Craig Sutherland got in behind the Balintore back line to rattle a shot into the top corner from an angle.
Thistle started the second half the better side and with the introduction of substitutes Martin Smith and Lewis Ross, they took a further hold on the game, Rostock and Goller having had a torrid time of it with a number of disputed offside calls. Scott Innes popped up from a corner on 65 minutes to make it 2-0 and Smith found the net with a header of his own just a minute later.
At 3-0, Thistle were comfortably leading, until a very quickly taken free kick for Balintore saw them pull a goal back through Paul Connolly.
As the game came to a close, Thistle defended resolutely against a flurry of corners to see out the result and advance to the semi final.
Martin, Durrand, Davis, Dingwall, Innes, A Christie, Farquhar, Rostock (L Ross), Sutherland, D Christie (Custerson), Goller (Smith)
Sub not used:
Sutherland 45, Innes 65, Smith 66
Article written on 18 May 2013 | Link to article
Having travelled to Dingwall on Wednesday evening, the Tain Juniors U17 squad returned with a 4-4 draw, having been 3-0 up at one stage in the game.
Juniors held at Dingwall
A Rory Vass hat-trick had given Tain the handsome lead, before a Dingwall fightback saw them draw level at 3-3. Jack Corbett pushed Tain back into the lead at 4-3 with ten minutes remaining, however a controversial penalty award saw the home side equalise. Vass was unlucky not to score in the latter stages, denied only by a great save from the Dingwall keeper.
Article written on 16 May 2013 | Link to article
The Jags got off the mark in the league last night with victory against Dingwall's Ross-shire Club. An unwavering second half performance and an Arron Christie penalty decided the outcome, whilst the team also celebrated their first clean sheet of the campaign.
Tain Thistle 1 Ross-shire Club 0
Martin Smith and Lewis Ross were introduced to the squad for the game, the latter taking a place on the bench, as Thistle's attacking options took a significant step forward.
Thistle started positively in terms of possession and before long, Liam Rostock had tested Neil Mackay in the Ross goal, with a shot easily held by the keeper. An Arron Christie free kick found the net soon after, but the goal was disallowed as the set piece was indirect.
It looked like Thistle may take a first half lead when Christie was fouled in the eighteen yard box. Taking the resultant spot kick, Andy Durrand unfortunately shot wide of the post, despite sending keeper Neil Mackay the wrong way.
Christie himself got in amongst the shooting action soon after with a left foot strike that had to be tipped over the bar and Rostock again tested Mackay with a shot on target; the keeper playing well between the sticks for the visitors.
Ten minutes into the second half, Thistle were awarded another penalty for a blatant handball. This time the taker, Christie, made no mistake, rifling his shot past Mackay to make it 1-0.
Mackay's evening came to an end shortly after a collision with substitute Darran Goller, landing awkwardly on his shoulder before being substituted. The floodgates looked like they may open soon after; Lewis Ross and Goller both having been introduced to the forward line in the second half.
Goller rattled the woodwork with a shot at the far post with fifteen minutes to go and five minutes later, Rostock was very unlucky with a shot curled onto the crossbar. Ross also was denied on a couple of occasions, first shooting into the side netting before curling a rasping shot across the face of goal.
The penalty goal was enough for Thistle however as time ran out, and the Jags recorded a 1-0 win.
The win moves Thistle on to 4 points in 4th place. With a game in hand, Thistle can equal the points tally of 1st placed Alness Athletic next week by beating Cromarty.
Martin, Durrand, Davis, Dingwall, Innes, A Christie, Wood, Sutherland, Rostock, Morgan (Ross), Smith (Goller)
Subs not used:
Custerson, Cameron, Oliver
Arron Christie (pen.) (55)
Article written on 16 May 2013 | Link to article
Following the resignation of Brian MacAngus from the role of Chairperson, the committee held an EGM tonight. Dale Finlayson was unanimously elected as the club's new Chairperson, while Niall Harkiss was elected as Secretary.
Committee EGM update
The club wishes to extend best wishes and a great deal of gratitude to Brian for the invaluable work he has carried out in the past few months.
Article written on 13 May 2013 | Link to article
Alleviating the downtime of the dreaded "free week", Tain Thistle welcomed Ross Sutherland RFC for a friendly match last night, winning by 7 goals to 1 in a well contested affair. A rugby club by nature, the "Stags" are in fact former Ross-shire Welfare league champions in their own right, having had a regular summer football team many moons ago during their close season.
Tain Thistle 7 Ross Sutherland 1
Unlike most traditional "scratch" teams, Ali Kennedy's men were fit, tactically aware and not at all short of effort, despite what the resultant scoreline may suggest. Among those missing for Thistle were Jamie Macdonald and goalkeeper Steven Martin (both due to work commitments), Chris Mailley (broken hand), Robert Ross (holiday) and of course the gaffer Gary Ross, sunning himself in the warmer climes of Corfu. Drafted in for the friendly in the absence of both Martin and Ross, was former Jags goalkeeper Johnny Allan.
Thistle got off to a great start after four minutes with Darren Custerson netting from close range after a breaking Liam Rostock placed the ball across the face of goal. Custerson found the net again shortly after but his goal was chalked off for offside. This didn't prevent the imposing striker from finding a second as on twenty minutes he cooly slotted a shot past David Kennedy to make it 2-0.
At the other end, Ross Sutherland were no slouches, most notably coming close with an effort from Andrew Cook that flew just over the crossbar on the half hour mark. As half time approached, Keith Dingwall popped up to make it 3-0 for Thistle.
The Jags made a few changes in the second half, but it was Ross Sutherland who were next to score with a neatly taken goal; Mike Gordon turning twice before poking the ball past Johnny Allan at his near post.
The fightback was shortlived however as Liam Rostock at the other end shot home from a tight angle to make it 4-1. The Ross Sutherland goal became something of a target as Thistle began a flurry of attacks in the second half, Cammy Gordon for the rugby men turning an effort into his own net on the hour mark; Martyn Oliver in close proximity during the faux pas. Oliver was not to be denied moments later however as he rifled home a Darran Goller pass to make it 6-1.
Moments before the full time whistle, Goller found the net with a placed shot in what would be the last kick of the game to make it 7-1. Following the whistle, the Ross Sutherland lads issued a hearty set of cheers for the victors - the type of sporting gesture that would not go amiss in recreational football.
Allan, Durrand, Davis, Dingwall, A Christie, Innes, Farquhar, Sutherland, Rostock, Custerson, Oliver, Cameron, Goller, Smart, D Christie, Murray.
Article written on 09 May 2013 | Link to article
A team of rugby players will meet Tain Thistle in a friendly match on Wednesday night, plugging a gap for the Jags during their "off-week" in the Ross-shire Welfare league fixture calendar.
Jags meet Stags in unique friendly
Originally scheduled to play new side MSIS (until the Invergordon's side decision not to enter the league) Thistle have instead arranged a 7.15pm kick off against the "egg throwers" of Ross Sutherland RFC at the Links.
The summer is traditionally the close season for Ross Sutherland's players, with the rugby club regularly competing in the RBS Caledonian regional leagues during the winter. However, the "Stags" will come out of hibernation and take to the Links for a game of "association football" against the "Jags" of Tain Thistle.
Article written on 07 May 2013 | Link to article
Tain Juniors' U17 trip to Dingwall under the auspices of the SWL Ross-shire League this past Friday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Juniors match postponed
Article written on 04 May 2013 | Link to article
Balintore fought back to punish Tain Thistle at the Links last night as the Jags threw away a 3-0 lead to finish 3-3. Finishing with a point apiece in the Ross-shire Welfare league, a post-match penalty shoot-out for the Graham Jardine Memorial Quaich added to Tain's woes, as Balintore won 5-4.
Balintore win Quaich as league spoils are shared
It looked as though Thistle would have an easy afternoon of it when Jamie Macdonald gave Tain the lead after 26 minutes, finishing at the far post following good work from Liam Rostock to break against a slow-to-react Balintore defence. Rostock himself had been unlucky just before when Ross Henderson in the Balintore goal saved a shot bound for the net.
Things went from bad to worse for the seaboard men as Ross Powell suffered an ankle injury just after the goal, forcing his substitution. Moments later, Stuart "Vinnie" Wood made it 2-0 with a close range strike rattled in via the roof of the net.
At the back, Innes, Dingwall and Christie looked composed and in goal, Steven Martin was rarely called into action throughout the first half until an aerial clash close to the edge of the box with Josh Cattanach saw the pink-clad stopper land awkwardly on his shoulder.
Thistle started the second half as they ended the first, with Rostock and Macdonald linking up well again; the latter heading just wide in the narrowest of misses. Rostock was not to be denied shortly after however as Vinnie Wood broke free and played Rostock in for a calmly slotted strike past Henderson. At 3-0, it looked as though it was going to be a long day for Balintore.
A period of calm followed as neither side threatened, until a stunning strike from Dave MacGruer on 56 minutes was curled into the net, instantly raising the tempo. Action followed from one end to the other - Thistle introducing Darran Goller to play following his ankle injury.
However, it was Balintore who were next to score - albeit very fortunately. An error at the back led to Ben Brown finding the easiest of chances to tap home into an open net. With the score now at 3-2, Thistle were all at sea.
The final ten minutes saw Goller and Macdonald both miss the target to secure victory and with the strongest of last minute pushes from Balintore, the "Gulls" clawed back the elusive equaliser with a ball trundled across the face of goal. Initially saved by Martin, the ball was ultimately trickled in at the far post by Gus Mcdonald and there was no more to be written as the full time score stood at 3-3.
As agreed between the teams before kick off, in the event of a draw, the destination of the Graham Jardine Memorial Quaich would be decided by a penalty shoot-out. With substitute Darren Custerson kicking things off for Thistle, successfully, the unfortunate miss would eventually come from Tain's Liam Rostock, Jamie Metcalfe netting the fifth and final successful penalty for Balintore. After the match, along with Thistle chairman Brian MacAngus, Jim Jardine, father of Graham, presented the trophy to the winning captain Gus Mcdonald.
The league result hands Thistle a point and leaves them sitting joint third with Balintore, while victorious sides Alness Athletic (beating Social Club 2-1) and Ross Club (beating Fortrose 4-1), sit in the top spots. Thistle now face a period of two weeks without a game, returning on May 15th at home to Ross-shire Club.
Martin, Durrand, Davis, Dingwall, A Christie, Innes, Farquhar, Mailley, Wood (Sutherland), Rostock (Goller), Macdonald (Custerson)
Sub not used:
Macdonald 26, Wood 36, Rostock 49
Article written on 02 May 2013 | Link to article
There will be two prizes up for grabs this Wednesday as Tain Thistle welcome Balintore to the Links. As well as 3 points in the Ross-shire Welfare league, the clubs will contest the Graham Jardine Memorial Quaich, last played for during the 2009/10 North Caledonian league between the sides.
Double prize at stake for Balintore visit
The Quaich is traditionally played for upon the first league meeting at Tain between the two, but with neither town entering a side in the Highland reserve, they have elected to introduce the prize to their Welfare football calendar. Graham's parents, Jean and Jim, will be on hand to present the Quaich to the victorious team. In the event that the league match ends as a draw, a special penalty shootout will be overseen by referee Billy Murray to decide the winner of the Quaich.
Speaking after the disappointing cup loss to Fortrose, Tain Thistle manager Gary Ross is looking to his squad to improve ahead of their opening league match against local rivals Balintore.
Gaffer seeks improvement for Balintore showdown
"I feel that we've allowed one very poor referee's decision to become the main topic and it's the main topic because we were unable to put the game to bed, which, being honest, we should have done."
"After the disappointing cup exit today, we welcome Balintore for our first home match of the season on Wednesday. This game gives us the opportunity to put the wrongs right, and record our first competitive victory of 2013. Hopefully we can all step up a gear and make it an enjoyable match for all."
The U17s of Tain Juniors played their first home game on Friday night, finishing in a disappointing 3-3 draw with rival SWL side Wester Ross U17s.
Late Wester Ross goal haunts Juniors
The Tain lads took the lead with a beautiful lob from Rory Vass placed over the keeper from 20 yards. Two clear chances to score followed as Tain pushed their Western visitors but were unable to convert them. As the first half came to a close, very much against the run of play, Wester Ross equalised.
The away side eventually took the lead with a free header in the second half but within five minutes Tain were awarded a penalty. Scoring his second in as many games, Josh Rodgers neatly converted the spot kick. Tain took the lead once again as Dean Ross was played through on goal with a great pass from Micah Spence to calmly slot his effort past the Wester Ross keeper.
At 3-2, it looked as though the Juniors would see the victory out, however with the last kick of the ball, Wester Ross were awarded a penalty. The visitors ably slotted past Dylan Chapman in the Tain goal to make it 3-3.
Speaking after the game, coach Mark Stainke left his squad with a stark warning, quoted as saying "Let's hope the boys can give a better performance away to Dingwall next week or they will get another roasting!"
Tain Thistle's opening competitive match ended in controversial fashion as a refereeing error left a bitter taste in Jags mouths. New side Fortrose Union battled towards a 2-1 win on their home turf despite going 1-0 down in extra time.
Controversial opening for Thistle in League Cup
In a closely fought game, honours were even at 0-0 after ninety minutes - a rarity in Ross-shire Welfare football - the only breakthrough coming from Keith Dingwall as he headed home on 70 minutes, but the goal was disallowed due to a foul on Fortrose keeper Martin Smith. Thistle undoubtedly enjoyed the lion's share of possession and chances during the game, but failed to make it count against a determined and motivated Fortrose side making their Ross-shire Welfare debut.
The unfortunate story of normal time was the unique performance of the "referee". Fortrose midfielder Jordan Black, having received a yellow card during the earlier stages of the second half was dismissed for a second bookable offence a quarter hour later, however the official elected to "allow" the home side to replace the player instead of reducing them to ten men. An exchange of words followed between the Tain dugout and the official however little order or agreement was mustered and the game took an ugly turn. Details of the incident and a report have been filed with the RSWFA.
In the first period of extra time, Keith Dingwall nodded home once again after five minutes, this time making it count to put Thistle 1-0 up. The lead was held for only five minutes though, as Union substitute Kenny McIver pounced on a rebound during a goalmouth scramble to equalise. Chances fell to many a Tain player throughout the rest of additional time, however Fortrose hit the Jags on the counter and Kieran Fitzpatrick deflected a rebound past Martin to score with three minutes remaining.
Try as they might, Thistle were unable to make chances count in the dying moments and Fortrose went on to win the match by 2 goals to 1.
Martin, Davis, Durrand, A Christie, Dingwall, Ross (Oliver), Farquhar, D Christie, Sutherland (Morgan), Rostock (Wood), Maclellan
Davis, Farquhar, Sutherland
Article written on 27 Apr 2013 | Link to article
For the second time in ten days, Tain Thistle recorded a win over East Sutherland amateur league champions Golspie Stafford, in what will be the team's final preparation for the forthcoming Ross-shire Welfare league season.
Tain Thistle 2 Golspie Stafford 1
With Darran Goller and Vinnie Wood still absent (ankle injuries), gaffer Gary Ross had an otherwise full squad at his disposal for the evening, as the Jags debuted their new home kit - kindly sponsored by The Railway Hotel.
It took Thistle just over ten minutes to take the lead, following a sustained period of pressure; midfielder Chris Mailley lashing a ball past the Stafford keeper from distance. The returning Jamie Macdonald was unlucky not to make it two shortly after a shot sent wide.
At the other end, Stafford nearly equalised five minutes before the break when they struck the crossbar; Scott Innes for Tain taking a glancing blow to the head during the melee.
In the second half, a moment of brilliance from Andy Durrand made it 2-0 for the Jags, as the wing-back shot with finesse from the edge of the box to curl a shot over the top of the keeper into the net.
Tain introduced five substitutes for the remainder of the second half. The next goal however came from Golspie, in the form of a strike from distance, placed into the top corner beyond Steven Martin to reduce the deficit.
Despite the consolation, Golspie could not muster an equaliser, and in fact, Thistle were the less lucky of the two sides, as Jamie Macdonald saw a headed effort drift just wide beyond the stranded Golspie goalkeeper.
The 2-1 win marks the Jags' fifth win in six pre-season games as they now face the competitive challenge of league newcomers Fortrose and Rosemarkie Union in the Ross-shire Welfare League Cup on Saturday.
Martin, Davis, Durrand, Dingwall, Innes, A Christie, D Christie, Farquhar, Mailley, Macdonald, Rostock, Oliver, Sutherland, Ross, Smart, Morgan.
Article written on 24 Apr 2013 | Link to article
Tain Juniors' U17 side got off to a winning start in the SWL Ross-shire league last night away to Invergordon. The home side opened the scoring with a disputed offside goal after five minutes however Tain replied just before half time with Jason Macdonald earning a well deserved equaliser.
U17s off to a winning start
Throughout the second half, Tain looked the stronger side with thanks to a fantastic work rate and then on eighty minutes, Josh Rodgers scored the winner with a beautiful shot from just inside the box. The 2-1 result capped off a great start to the season for the boys, who will welcome Wester Ross to the Links next Friday.
Report by Mark Stainke.
Article written on 20 Apr 2013 | Link to article
Under new head coach Mark Stainke, Tain Juniors' U17 side began training at the Links tonight, preparing for another season in the SWL Ross-shire League. The Tain boys will play their first league game on Friday in Invergordon before playing their first home game against Muir of Ord on April 26th.
Tain Juniors begin training
The U17's summer schedule is as follows:
19/4 - Invergordon (a), 26/4 - Muir of Ord (h), 3/5 - Dingwall (a), 10/5 - Muir of Ord (h), 17/5 - Alness Utd (a), 24/5 - Muir of Ord (a - John Maclean Cup 1st Round), 21/6 - Invergordon (h), 28/6 - Wester Ross (a), 5/7 - Dingwall (h), 12/7 - Muir of Ord (a), 19/7 - Alness Utd (h), 26/7 - Wester Ross (h - Jewson Shield 1st Round)
Article written on 17 Apr 2013 | Link to article
The Jags ambled towards a victory at the home of East Sutherland champions Golspie Stafford this afternoon, with a 3-2 win.
Golspie Stafford 2 Tain Thistle 3
Missing several key players, Thistle were boosted by the addition of trialists Mike Mackay, Alec Beattie and Darren Custerson to the bench, while Vinnie Wood also returned to the side, having missed the the midweek trip to Invergordon through injury.
The game took an unexpected turn prior to kick off as the appointed referee was unable to turn up and a representative of Golspie Stafford volunteered to take hold of the whistle. Despite a promising opening for Thistle, a lapse at the back cost Thistle dear as Stafford netted from their first attack, albeit with aid of a "handball", gone unnoticed by the stand-in official.
Despite taking control of the first two thirds of the park, forwards Martyn Oliver and Liam Rostock were unable to find a breakthrough up front in the opening stages and on the half hour mark, Thistle were stunned again as Golspie took advantage of a break and scored. Frustration at the referee's positioning became prevalent as the Golspie forward was more than several yards offside at the time the ball was played.
Nevertheless, Thistle's hold on possession soon turned to goals as Liam Rostock turned beyond the keeper following a persistent build up to reduce the scoreline to 2-1.
Following the restart, Custerson and Beattie were introduced. Hilarity ensured as just after the hour mark, Thistle were awarded their first free kick of the game, to a rapturous and somewhat sarcastic applause. It was soon after when Arron Christie found the net with a speculative lob over the top of the Stafford custodian.
Thistle's dominance finally saw them take the lead as centre half Scottie Innes nodded home from a corner. A series of chances followed in the remaining minutes, with Vinnie Wood shooting just wide and Rostock missing a chance to finish having gone clean through on the keeper. A long range effort from Martyn Oliver flew just wide in the final moments as Steven Martin enjoyed the quietest second half he'll have this summer.
The Jags will feel aggrieved not to have won by more in the end, however with strikers Robbie Ross, Dean Morgan and Darran Goller to return from injury and John Maclellan weeks away from his comeback, goals are sure to be in abundance.
Martin, Davis, Durrand, Dingwall, A Christie, Innes, Farquhar, Wood, D Christie, Rostock, Oliver, Custerson, Mackay, Beattie.
Article written on 14 Apr 2013 | Link to article
The new Tain Thistle home kit, made by Adidas, has been revealed, and is expected to be worn for the first time when the club play their first official game at the end of the month.
New home kit revealed
Article written on 13 Apr 2013 | Link to article
With the reintroduction of the "Tea Hatch" this season, Tain Thistle's hard working committee have been carrying out some improvements and none more so than the work carried out by David Purvis, who, along with his team have reintroduced matchday snacks to the menu. David has spent the best part of the past week sprucing up the clubhouse kitchen in preparation for the new season.
Clubhouse kitchen revamped
Article written on 12 Apr 2013 | Link to article
The Jags travelled away for a friendly against Ross-shire Welfare opposition last night, returning from Invergordon with a satisfying 2-0 win. A closely fought game saw the sides divided by an excellent Martyn Farquhar strike and a first goal in Thistle colours for Dean Morgan.
Invergordon Social Club 0 Tain Thistle 2
Under new management, the Paul Austin led Social Club had introduced a handful of players from Alness such as Craig Munro and Kraig Vass among others to cover for absences, while former Tain man Mark Reid also started up front for the home team. Messrs "Vinnie" Wood and "Chippie" Mailley were posted injured for Thistle, while Arron Christie and Farquhar returned to the side.
Steven Martin was called into action in the early stages as a defensive lapse saw Reid played in one on one. The Thistle keeper however, produced a great save to keep the scoresheet blank, continuing the good form he has shown in pre-season.
Farquhar broke the deadlock just after 25 minutes play with a lovely strike sent into the far corner of Stephen Campbell's net from fifteen yards. The Thistle midfielder saw a later effort fly wide of target before Liam Rostock was unlucky to shoot just wide of the post moments later.
The Jags' back line of Durrand, Davis, Innes and Dingwall held up well to the threat of the Social's attacking personnel with Ashley Mills, Reid and Vass thwarted on several occasions. Up front, Robert Ross had worked hard as a lone striker against a persistent Invergordon defence before making way for the young Dean Morgan.
As both sets of players tired in the second half there were chances at either end and moments after Vass had seen an effort held by Martin, it was Morgan attacking the Social goal whose target bound shot was deflected past Campbell to make it 2-0.
The scoreline was a fair reflection of Thistle's confident defensive display and command of midfield, proving the match to be a satisfactory exercise for every part of the team.
Social Club team from:
Campbell, J Austin, Bremner, McLauchlan, Sinclair, Munro, Gourlay, Mills, Stephens, Reid, Vass, Sangwin, Patullo, P Austin.
Tain Thistle team from:
Martin, Davis, Durrand, Dingwall, Innes, Farquhar, A Christie, D Christie, Sutherland, Ross, Rostock, McGaw, Morgan, Oliver, Mackay.
Article written on 10 Apr 2013 | Link to article
Last night, Brian MacAngus, the Chairman of Tain Thistle football club, accepted the generous donation of over £600 from the Tain Bowling Club, in front of over 100 people at a packed raffle event.
Chairman offers thanks to Bowling Club
Speaking today, MacAngus said: "The club would like to thank Tain Bowling Club for the fantastic donation made last night to the football club. A huge show of support was made towards Tain Thistle F.C, from all who attended the bowling club's weekly bingo night, and the committee of the bowling club too. It was truly a fantastic gesture from the bowling club community. All at Tain Thistle F.C are very grateful for the immense support shown towards us. Thank you all."
Article written on 10 Apr 2013 | Link to article
Black Isle side Fortrose & Rosemarkie Union will host Tain Thistle in the first round of the Ross-shire Welfare League Cup.
Thistle visit new boys Fortrose in League Cup opener
Union, formerly of the now defunct Ross-shire Amateur FA, join the Invergordon based MSIS team as newcomers to the Ross-shire Welfare FA for the forthcoming campaign.
The game is scheduled for Saturday, April 27th with a 3pm kick off and the 2012 cup winners Tain Thistle will be looking to spoil Union's debut at King George V Park. A win for the Jags will secure a place in the semi final at home to either Ross-shire Club or Alness Athletic.
Article written on 08 Apr 2013 | Link to article
Tain Thistle lost with a whimper this afternoon as a fit and firey Embo side bettered them at the Links, contesting a newly donated friendly prize in the form of the Purvis Challenge Trophy.
Inaugaral Purvis Cup goes to Embo
A second half Scott Mackay goal was enough for the visitors as injuries for the Jags and a solid performance from the Embo goalkeeper saw Tain fail to impress.
Central midfielders Chris Mailley and Vinnie Wood were both substituted in the first half, suffering from complaints of the calf and ankle respectively, replaced by the only subs available in strikers Dean Morgan and the returning Liam Rostock.
Graham Davis offered Thistle's only threat in the first half as he twice tested the Embo custodian Steven Mure with close range efforts but found his shots saved. At the other end, Steven Martin went largely untested in a game that was was far from entertaining to watch.
The second half continued in the same vein, however it was Embo through Scott Mackay who broke the deadlock, knocking a loose ball home after a defensive error had played the Embo forwards in. Despite producing a spectacular reflex save, Martin was ultimately beaten by the rebound. Embo had the ball in the net again not long after however the effort was disallowed following a foul on Martin.
Rostock and Morgan were positive in their attempts to equalise, and Jamie Macdonald did well to take control of the midfield but a resilient performance from Mure ensured that their scoring efforts remained fruitless.
Local man David Purvis donated a trophy for contention between the sides, designed to be played for every year, and with their 1-0 victory, the Sutherland side went home with the prize.
Martin, Davis, Durrand, Dingwall, Innes, Macdonald, Mailley, Wood, Ross, D Christie, Sutherland, Morgan, Rostock.
Article written on 07 Apr 2013 | Link to article
The Ross-shire Welfare competitions for 2013 will be contested between eight teams following the withdrawal of Inver from the association this past Thursday.
Jags join seven others for Ross-shire spoils
Joining Thistle are current champions Alness Athletic, League Cup holders Balintore, Pattisons' Cup holders Ross-shire Club, existing members Invergordon Social Club and Cromarty, along with new sides Fortrose Union and MSIS (based in Invergordon) who have also registered.
It is anticipated that a new list of fixtures will be released in the next few days.
Article written on 06 Apr 2013 | Link to article
An organised performance saw the Jags record their first win in many years over their Sutherland rivals Dornoch City last night, winning 3-0 at the Links. Martyn Farquhar and Craig Sutherland had put Tain two goals ahead before the returning John Maclellan found the net to open his account for the season.
Tain Thistle 3 Dornoch City 0
Joining Maclellan on the bench was newcomer Stewart Shearer and former Jag Stephen McGaw as the only additions to the squad who defeated Contin on Sunday past. Meanwhile, Graeme Smart and Daniel Christie were among the absentees.
The gaffer's 4-5-1 formation proved fruitful in the early going, with Sutherland unlucky to be caught offside on a number of occasions. At the other end, Thistle held firm against the early threat of the Sutherland men, seeing two free kick attempts fail to find the target. On twenty minutes, Farquhar eventually broke the deadlock for Tain, scoring his second in as many games.
The defence of Cameron, Durrand, Dingwall and Davis held strong throughout a second half dominated by Thistle as Sutherland eventually found himself through on Dornoch's goal to finish cooly, making it 2-0.
Introduced as a substitute in the second half, Maclellan offered a new threat up front and enjoyed a string of chances, eventually adding the Jags' third of evening with a top corner bound strike.
The win continues the new manager's unbeaten run since he took the reigns in September last year, with 7 wins and 1 draw thus far in friendly competition.
Martin, Cameron, Durrand, Dingwall, Davis, A Christie, Farquhar, Wood, Oliver, Maclellan, Morgan, McGaw, Sutherland, Ross, Mackay, Shearer
Article written on 03 Apr 2013 | Link to article
Sunday afternoon saw East Sutherland amateur league new boys Contin AFC visit the Links for Tain’s opening friendly of the season. Kick off was delayed by fifteen minutes due to the late arrival of the visitors, however this did not disrupt Thistle’s preparation as they started the brighter of the two sides.
Tain Thistle 3 Contin 1
Looking confident, the home side kept position well and the majority of play was in the Contin half. Thistle were denied the opener after 12 minutes when referee Mike Stainke decreed Martyn Farquhar to have fallen foul of the offside trap prior to tucking the ball past the visiting keeper.
Thistle, sporting a 3-5-2 formation, were making the most of the extra man in the middle of the park. The pressure paid off after twenty minutes, when a long ball from goalkeeper Steven Martin led to a corner kick and from the resulting set piece Daniel Christie found the head of centre back Robbie Ross, who expertly guided the ball into the net - despite the best efforts of Jordan Tremlett in the Contin goal.
It was 2-0 only seven minutes later and this time Farquhar was not to be denied, after neat build up play involving Stuart Wood and Martyn Oliver the ball was worked to Farquhar at the edge of the area and he finished with aplomb, steering the ball into the roof of the net leaving Tremlett with no chance.
Contin had Tremlett to thank on 30 minutes for keeping the score at 2-0 with a fantastic reaction save; the big stopper getting a hand to a ball destined for the postage stamp, tipping it onto the cross bar to deny Ross his second of the afternoon.
Contin did have a chance to pull one back only a few minutes later however, as a mix up in the home defence allowed the visitors in behind, only for the attacker to roll the ball wide as the advancing Steven Martin narrowed the angle well.
Shortly afterwards Brian Cameron was adjudged to have fouled the advancing player 20 yards from the Thistle goal. The free kick however, was wastefully curled wide of target.
The home side made several changes at the break, bringing on Graeme Smart, Michael Mackay and Arron Christie and adjusting to a 4-4-2 formation. Contin, however, began to gain a foothold in the match and Thistle had their goalkeeper to thank only three minutes into the second half, making a block when faced one on one with the striker.
The visitors’ pressure paid off in the 55th minute with a fine strike from Dean Morgan taken from the edge of the area, finding the roof of the net. Morgan should have levelled the match only 3 minutes later but lifted the ball over the bar from 8 yards out.
Martin was again called into action when a mix up at the back allowed another one on one, but the Jags’ keeper was able to thwart the aspiring equalizer.
Tain introduced two former youth goalkeepers to the game, as Darren Custerson and Alec Beattie came on at the hour mark playing up front and wide left respectively.
The home team where able to get back into the game and took control of the midfield once more, this was to pay off with 20 minutes to go, Graham Davis scoring a fantastic diving header after reacting quicker than Tremlett in the Contin Goal.
Thistle where able to see out the rest of the match with relative ease, there were no other chances of note and a 3-1 victory, albeit nervy is spells, was recorded by the home side.
Martin, Davis, Dingwall, Ross, Durrand, Wood, Cameron, Farquhar, Sutherland, D Christie, Oliver, Custerson, Beatie, A Christie, Mackay, Smart
Tain: Ross (20), Farquhar (27), Davis (70)
Contin: Morgan (55)
Article written on 01 Apr 2013 | Link to article