Tain Thistle made history last night by beating Invergordon Social Club by 5 goals to nil to win the Ross-shire Welfare League Championship.
Manager Arron Christie becomes the first Thistle boss to secure the league, leading a welfare side who have made a habit out of setting new club records this season. Christie recalled Calum Macdonald who stepped in to partner Robbie Ross up front, while Andy Durrand made way for James Rice at left back in the only other significant change to the side.
A nervy starting eleven and a raucous sideline were settled with the first goal after eight minutes, in the most unlikely fashion. The Jags scored when Social goalkeeper Scott MacGruer gifted Liam Rostock the opening goal, believing the winger's shot to be going wide. The ball trickled across the face of goal before nestling in the far corner, much to the amazement of MacGruer and the crowd.
At 1-0, Thistle looked radiant, and before long the attacking force of Rostock was once again too much for the Social Club. Referee Matty MacLelland awarded a penalty to Thistle for a foul on the inside of the eighteen yard box and top scorer Robert Ross made no mistake with the spot kick. After 15 minutes, Tain were cruising at 2-0.
Michael Brand was unlucky not to have scored on a number of occasions in the first half, as his aerial prowess twice found him heading goalward only for Social to clear the ball off the goal line.
The third goal came from clever play from Calum Macdonald who shot at goal; only to see his effort deflected into the path of Daniel Christie, who finished expertly.
A good tempered second half saw Thistle playing some of the best football they have played all season, Ross and Rostock both getting on the score sheet once more to make it 5-0; the latter producing the finest of chips over MacGruer to cap off a brilliant team performance.
The win crowns Thistle as the 2009 Ross-shire Welfare League champions -- the first time the club has ever won the prestigious competition.
Club chairman Niall Harkiss reserved thanks for everyone connected with the club.
"I've spoken to many people over the past week who have a connection with this wonderful club. People who play or have been players in the past, current and former committee members and spectators like myself. Today has been the result of the hard work of all those people, and to see the genuine delight on all of their faces makes what we do here extremely worthwhile. Tonight's victory is as much for our current playing staff and committee as it is for those have served the club in years gone by."
Post match, Railway Hotel manager Alan Nimmons was the perfect host, providing food, entertainment and a venue for the jubilant players and committee.
Thistle will now contest the Charity Shield against Ross-shire Club on August 15th, at Grant Park.
Martin, Brand, Rice (Oliver), A Christie, Dingwall, Goller, Rostock, D Christie, Farquhar, Macdonald (Reid), Ross (McGaw)
Subs not used:
Rostock 8, 77
Ross pen 13, 56
D Christie 42
Man of the Match:
Nobody, they are all brilliant!