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  • Gaffer talks the future

    Every club has its icon. When you discuss Tain Thistle today, there are few names that remain synonymous with its humble beginnings, and none more so than that of Robert Craig Sutherland Ross. Close to a year after Roy Anderson had netted the club's first ever goal, a fifteen year old Robert opened his own account for the burgeoning Jags on May 6, 1998 scoring against The Morven, albeit during an 8-1 defeat.<br /><br /><img class="imgleft" align="left" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/razzle2012c.jpg"><i>"When I started out I was playing for the team that got beat every week, sometimes by double figures."</i> Ross laments. <i>"Myself and Billy Knox saw a poster in the post office about training and we went along. I'm still stuck here fifteen years later - what went wrong, I don't know!"</i><br /><br />Ross is quick to jest, quite modestly so, about his formative years as a player, however many of his peers will remark that despite year upon year of goalscoring in the throws of Ross-shire welfare football, he never quite reached the level he was destined for. A highly regarded product of Edwin Skinner's Invergordon youth setup and a young prospect with Brora Rangers, Robert played alongside local stars such as Billy Ferries and Richie Hart before he ultimately gravitated toward Tain St Duthus.<br /><br /><i>"I could have done better, but you're always going to say that about yourself. I did play in the Highland League and a few highlights include playing against Celtic and Aberdeen, but there were many good players there at the time and it didn't work out. I played for a few years at St Duthus and ended up as a sweeper."</i><br /><br />Robert's efforts at sweeper earned him the club's Player of the Year award, playing in a "second eleven" league arguably much more competitive than its namesake today. But the makeshift sweeper's eye for goal was his making in the welfare leagues. By 2002, he had finished as Tain Thistle's top goalscorer on three separate occasions, despite playing every position on the park for Gordon Burry's men. Hungry for success, Ross left Tain and joined Barry Nimmons to run the short-lived but successful Portmahomack FC. In his first season, he had accumulated a cup winners' medal, the top goalscorer shield and the league's Player of the Year award.<br /><br /><img class="imgright" align="right" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/razzle2012b.jpg">But knee cartilage and ligament troubles hampered his momentum and for a good while Robert was spending more time on the sidelines than on the park. His lust for involvement however wouldn't keep him out of action for long - and a return home was on the cards.<br /><br /><i>"I'd known Arron (Christie) for a long time since he was a young boy as my sister used to look after him. I'd heard that he'd been asked to take over the team (Tain Thistle) so I asked if he wanted a hand and he said yes. The rest is history."</i><br /><br />And history-making it was. Robert's arrival was followed by instant success. In his first season back, he scored twice in a 3-1 win to lead the club to their first ever trophy win, taking home the handsome Pattisons Challenge Cup. In the season that followed he completed a positional round-robin, playing the whole season in goal as the club controversially lost the league championship to Black Rock Rovers. One year on, and he'd secured the recognition that had eluded him.<br /><br /><i>"I've enjoyed a lot of great moments with the club but the best of all was winning the league title with Arron and the boys in 2009. It was worth every year I have been with the club."</i><br /><br />His contribution that season was far from understated, finishing as the club's top goalscorer for a record fourth time. Wind the clock forward three years and Robert is thirty years old and a veteran in a team with few players over the age of twenty-five. His motivation is different. His older peers such as James Rice, Mark Ford and Colin Burry have retired or reduced their game time and the faster, younger forwards of today are scoring the goals. Robert's football mind however, timing and strength are now his distinct advantage as Tain Thistle's experienced centre half. But in his fifteenth season, he is weighing up his options.<br /><br /><i>"Maybe its time to put the boots and the folder in the bin and spend more time with my family. I've had some great football influences, but the greatest has always been my Mam, as she was always out in the park playing football with me when I was young. My two boys are getting into football more and more every day and maybe its time for me now to be out in the park with them. As most players will tell you though, it's hard to say no when someone comes asking you if you want a game."</i><br /><br /><img align="none" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/razzle2012a.jpg">

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    Team Pld GD Pts
    Brora Wandrs 0 0 0
    Golspie Stafford 0 0 0
    Helmsdale Utd 0 0 0
    Lairg Rovers 0 0 0
    Lochinver 0 0 0
    Tain Thistle 0 0 0

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