As the 2015 season drew to a close, Tain Thistle collected the Ross-shire Welfare FA league championship shield at the Railway Hotel on Saturday night, after playing the Charity Shield final match at the Links against league runners-up Contin.
In the absense of club captain Daniel Christie, Martyn Farquhar collected the shield from league secretary Jimmy Patullo. Rhys Shewan of Fortrose finished top goalscorer, while also collecting the RSWFA Player of the Year shield. Eastern Rose were awarded the Fair Play award.
Contin, much improved from their 2014 debut season in which they finished bottom of the table, secured a hard fought 3-1 win against the champions, running out comfortable winners against the Thistle 'XI' who took to the field on Saturday. With the vast majority of the championship side missing due to other commitments, manager Robert Ross drafted some extra players into the starting XI. Keith Dingwall re-emerged from retirement for one last appearance, while Hilton AFC's Brian Cameron and Alness United's Jack Hudson, the latter up for the RSWFA Player of the Year award, also started for the Jags, alongside the manager himself, who played the full ninety minutes in midfield.
Tain were unlucky not to take the lead early on when Jack Hudson's powerful header was pushed over the bar. Contin eventually opened the scoring through Alex Beaton after 23 minutes, drilling the ball into the net from eighteen yards after a neat cut back. Great work from John Allan in goal prevented further goals for Contin as the first half drew to a close and just before the break, Thistle were handed a lifeline when excellent work from first half sub John Maclellan resulted in a Tony Farquhar flick on and a neat finish from Jags top scorer Mark Lamont.
The second half belonged to the champions for the most part, but for all their trying and attacking play, they couldn't take the lead and against the run of play, an Ally Rose cross caught the Thistle defence napping as Cammy Houston headed toward the empty net and Brian Cameron, lunging to clear the ball, carried the ball over his line. From there, Thistle collapsed and Contin should have scored more, were it not for the heroics of Allan, who cleaned up many a mess at the back and produced some great saves. Thistle used all four substitutes available to them in the match, including goalkeeper Daniel Cormack who took up an outfield role. In the dying minutes, Shaun Carson wrapped up the victory when he was waved onside despite protests and he easily sent the ball past Allan from an angle.
Allan, Cormack, M Farquhar, Munro, Dingwall, MacDonald, T Farquhar, Rostock, Goller, Maclellan, Hudson, R Ross, Scott, Cameron, Lamont