Tain Thistle's welfare stars sauntered to a 6-2 victory in the Christie Grant Memorial Trophy match yesterday, defeating Jim Jardine's Tain St Duthus XI.
A number of former St Duthus players took the field for Jim's side, from recent times in Alan Duff, DJ McCarthy and Gavin MacDonald to Gary Ross and Darren Mackay of Inver and even Willie Forsyth, who made his first appearance for Tain in 1959!
Arron Christie managed the Thistle welfare side going into the game, before taking the field for the second half. A more familiar Thistle side saw Martin Mackay in goal for the second time in as many matches, with full backs Andy Murray and Brian Cameron joining Martyn Farquhar and Scott Innes to make a back four. A midfield three of Chris Mailley, Paul Cowie and Colin Burry and a forward line of Robbie Ross, Daniel Christie and Calum Macdonald completed the starting XI.
For St Duthus, Jim started with DJ McCarthy in goal, a traditional back three of Alan Duff, Tom McCourt and David Calderwood with Darren Mackay, Ross Powell, Craig Swanson, James Rice and Hugh Taylor in midfield. Gary Ross and Kenny Johnstone spear headed the attack.
Thistle took an early lead through the returning Calum Macdonald, who nodded home a Daniel Christie cross in the 5th minute. Despite frequent Thistle attacks, however, a nimble Kenny Johnstone was able to scoot past Martyn Farquhar to level the scores on the half hour mark, slotting home past goalkeeper Martin Mackay.
The scores looked to be level going in at half time, but a scramble in the 6 yard box saw Paul Cowie hack the ball home to make it 2-1 Thistle at the break.
Half time saw a number of changes, with both goalkeepers being replaced. Secretary Alan Forsyth took the field for Thistle, while Graham Stewart replaced McCarthy between the St Duthus sticks.
Calum Macdonald got on the score sheet again, almost as quickly as he did in the first half, making it 3-1 on the 48th minute, before adding a fourth, ten minutes later, to make it a hat-trick. At 4-1, the St Duthus substitutions were coming thick and fast; not always with the same amount of men coming off the park as were coming onto it, however!
Perennial centre mid turned right-back for the day, Brian Cameron, could have made it five when his excellent work down the right hand side looked like it may be rewarded with a goal, but he failed to connect with a volley on the edge of the box.
Thistle netted their fifth in tremendous fashion when Daniel Christie's 25 yard lob looped into the top corner of Stewart's net, in an effort that would been fitting to win any game. A sixth followed when Christie again looked to have the better of the St Duthus defence; Graham Stewart's work to close him down was effective but he was powerless to prevent Bob Swann from netting his first goal for the club, with the easiest of tap ins.
Substitute Gavin MacDonald was the unlikely provider of a finale goal for the veterans, as he expertly took advantage of a through ball, sidefooting the ball beyond Alan Forsyth, to pull the scoreline back to 6-2.
Post match, manager of the St Duthus Hotel, Alan Grant (son of St Duthus legend Christopher Grant) presented the trophy, in memory of his father, to Thistle captain Scott Innes.