A three goal flurry in the first half followed by two late goals was enough for 10 man Balintore, as they scuppered Tain's hopes of a first Easter Ross derby win in the North Caledonian league.
Gordon Duff returned from suspension to reclaim his spot at the back but a last minute call-off meant that manager Robbie Ross had to field himself in goal for first time since the club's final Welfare charity shield tie against Black Rock Rovers in August. Full back Dave MacGruer also returned to action along with Colin Burry.
In infamous fashion, Thistle started the game as they often have this season failing to successfully play the offside trap, leaving Balintore three glaring opportunities to score in the opening stages. The Seaboard side were 3-0 by the half hour mark.
Thistle did manage to pull a goal back before the break however; Arron Christie scoring his second of the season from 25 yards, dispatched into the top left hand corner of the net.
Tain did their best to redeem the scoreline and look to be almost back in the game on the 80 minute mark when substitute Darran Goller made the best of a goalmouth stramash to pull the score back to 3-2.
The chances of a 3-3 scoreline look promising still as Balintore were reduced to 10 men when a second yellow saw a member of the home side dismissed for dissent.
Going for a third however, Thistle were again caught on the break as the experienced North Caledonian campaigners added a further two to their tally to make it a more-than-comfortable 5-2 win.
Trialist keeper Steve Hyslop is expected to make his season debut for the Jags in goal covering for the absent Barry Nimmons, while reserve keeper Steve Bannatyne battles back to full fitness after being knocked down by a parked car.
Midfielder Michael Brand is also missing, but the void is expected to be filled by the returning Brian Cameron. Gordon Duff is also expected to be available, having returned from suspension for his dismissal against Muir of Ord three weeks ago.
In other news, Invergordon's Andy Murray (right) could be signed in time for the game, pending his release from the Recreation Park side.
Today's game between Balintore and Tain Thistle has been called off due to bad weather, and rescheduled for the following Saturday, November 29th, with a 1pm kick off.
The morning call off was the first of all five North Caledonian league games to be postponed.
Appointed referee is expected to be Gavin Dearie.
The media frenzy continues as club chairman Niall Harkiss is interviewed, first on Radio 5 Live, then on Good Morning Scotland (Radio Scotland) about the club's inclusion in Football Manager 2009.
Then, on the 19th November, BBC Scotland brought their cameras to Tain for a Reporting Scotland special.
Listen again to the Radio 5 Live interview:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ffjwj/5_live_Drive_18112008/ (52 mins in)
Listen again to the Radio Scotland interview:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00fl77p/b00fl76q/Good_Morning_Scotland_19112008/ (2hrs 19mins in)
Following the inclusion of Tain Thistle in this year's release of Football Manager 2009, the club have hit the national headlines for their achievement!
From The Sun:
From the Press & Journal:
From the North Star:
It was honours even at Grant Park, as Tain Thistle hosted the Sir Georges Park men, Thurso in the club's tenth North Caledonian league match. Manager Robbie Ross will have felt aggrieved to have taken only one point from a game in which a rejuvenated Tain Thistle side enjoyed a vast amount of possession and chances.
Ross made several changes to the side, with the suspended Duff and absent MacGruer making way for Andy Durrand and Martyn Farquhar, who were returning from duty with Brora Rangers Under 19s. Also returning was trialist Martin Mackay, who slotted in at left back for Arron Christie, who in turn pushed into the left wing position vacated by the absent Colin Burry. The midfield remained mostly unchanged with Michael Brand coming in to make it a five. Scott Morrison retained his place as the lone striker, with Barry Nimmons returning between the sticks.
Thistle suffered at the hands of a cruel wind upon their October visit to Thurso, and early on it appeared that the opposition manager had invited the weather with him on the visiting bus - as the rain blew upon kick off. Starting in a much more settled fashion, returning to a proven 4-5-1, Thistle enjoyed early dominance in midfield using the winging Christie brothers to pull apart a prone and nervy Thurso defence.
Paul Austin had the first chance of the game, heading a Daniel Christie cross into the arms of Asa Sinclair after five minutes, and soon after it was the former whose shot fired just wide of the post.
Thurso goalkeeper Asa Sinclair began to emerge as an early man of the match candidate, commanding his defence well against a determined and persistant Thistle attack. Forward Scott Morrison did well on 20 minutes to turn and strike against the constant pressure of Steven and Sinclair; his shot falling wide.
As the half hour mark approached, Thistle goal keeper Barry Nimmons could have easily been away for a pie, as Thurso finally made their first attack; Gavin Bremner forcing a save from the returning stopper on 35 minutes.
Just as the half-time whistle approached, it was Chris Mailley who almost certainly should have opened the scoring; his driving effort from outside the eighteen yard box just sailing wide of Sinclair's left hand post.
The teams emerged for the second half in similar fashion, the wind mildly assising the home side, but it was Thurso who stepped up their performance from the start, with Tain's Scottie Innes a tower at the back.
Thurso manager Stevie Reid made an early change, introducing Andy Cumming into the fray, and it wasn't long before Tain's relentless pressure was pulled back into a more even end to end game. Nevertheless, the resilient back four of Durrand, Farquhar, Innes and Mackay stood tall and defiant to ensure that Nimmons again had a quiet half.
Thistle's chances came again after the hour mark, as centre half Scottie Innes launched a blistering free kick which was tipped by Sinclair and cannoned off the crossbar for a corner. A barrage of corners and clever wing play led to a number of scrambles in the six yard box; the ball never falling to the right colour of shirt.
As the game reached a close, the manager brought on Gordie Oman along with the surprise introduction of himself, replacing Morrison up front.
A frantic final ten minutes saw end to end football, including two Thistle defenders go into the book for last ditch tackles - Scott Innes and Martyn Farquhar seeing yellow.
In injury time, a late opportunity for Martin Mackay could have clinched the game as Mailley played him through on goal, but the trialist looped the ball into the arms of the consistent Thurso keeper for almost the final kick of the ball.
The game finished 0-0 but despite the point, Thistle will feel that they lost two, from a match they most certainly controlled.
This weekend's Tain Thistle team could see a number of changes to the side that lost 5-1 to Muir of Ord last Saturday.
Gordie Oman is expected to make a return to action this weekend, along with the missing trio of Martyn Farquhar, Daniel Christie and Andy Durrand, who were absent due to their involvement in Brora Rangers' Scottish Youth Cup 3rd tie at Ibrox.
Also returning to the side should be first choice keeper Barry Nimmons, who despite some injury concerns should be available for selection.
Defender Gordon Duff is suspended following his dismissal last week, and will miss the game this weekend. The only other known absence is that of Dave MacGruer who has other commitments.
A shambolic first half performance saw Tain Thistle slump to their 8th defeat of the season, at the hands of an experienced and in-form Muir of Ord side.
Playing 4-4-2 for the first time since the start of the season, Thistle manager Robbie Ross re-introduced midfield pair Paul Austin and Chris Mailley to slot in between Colin Burry and Brian Cameron, who impressed the week prior against Golspie. Ewen Thain and Scott Morrison returned to the side, paired up front, with the usual back four of MacGruer, Christie, Duff and Innes unchanged. The most significant change saw the debut of goalkeeper Steve Bannatyne, who replaced the unavailable Barry Nimmons.
Both teams started quickly from the kick off, with through balls penetrating both defences early on. Indeed it was Tain who should have taken the lead on 5 minutes, when Colin Burry's cross found the head of Ewen Thain whose effort failed to hit the target. The rebound fell to the feet of right winger Brian Cameron at the far post, who also failed to make it count.
In an end-to-end first quarter hour, Muir eventually took the lead through Ewan Dance who slotted the ball past an advancing Bannatyne with ease. Undeterred, Thistle hit back almost instantly to make it 1-1, with Paul Austin knocking an easy ball past a flustered Ian Bartlett at his near post.
Bannatyne was exposed again two minutes later as yet another Muir attack found the back of the net; Martin Callum volleying a loose ball from inside the area past the punching fists of the debutant keeper.
Despite a series of frenzied counter attacks, Thistle found themselves in hot water after 20 minutes, with referee Graham Fraser adjudging that defender Gordon Duff had felled Dance just outside the area. Despite not being a goal scoring opportunity, the ref showed no hesitation in dismissing Thistle's consistent defender. The protesting Colin Burry was booked in the aftermath, and from the resultant free kick, Callum made no mistake with his strike, putting the home side 3-1 ahead.
Down to ten men, a disheveled and rattled Thistle side struggled to contain the persistent attacks of Muir of Ord, and on 24 minutes, Ewan Dance scored his second of the afternoon, from a tight angle. With the half time whistle still ten minutes away, Thistle's frustration saw the outspoken Scott Morrison booked for a verbal tirade directed towards assistant referee Leona Dunbar. Rounding off the first half's scoring tally, Martin Callum notched his hat trick on 35 mins, making it an embarassing 5-1 for Tain.
As the break approached, Thistle's afternoon got worse when midfielder Paul Austin suffered a knee injury and was forced to leave the field of play.
Following the break, Thistle moved into 2nd gear, as Muir of Ord happily sat back defending their more-than-comfortable lead. Winger Colin Burry did his best to open up a relaxed Muir defence, coming closest to scoring with a looping shot just over the bar. Shots from Thain and substitute Darran Goller in the latter stages also failed to hit the target, but it was Scott Morrison who was the first to test really test Bartlett, with a spinning volley inside the area which was stopped well at close range.
Despite the goal spree of the first half, the second period produced no more goals for the home side; Bannatyne doing well to thwart a handful of attacks.
While Muir move six points clear in 2nd place, the result leaves Thistle stranded at the bottom of the table, with Bonar Bridge having seen off the visit of Thurso in a 4-3 win to take them onto 7 points. In the other afternoon's games, Balintore returned from Alness with a 5-0 win, Halkirk saw off Golspie 3-1, and Bunillidh's visit to Invergordon saw them run out clear 4-1 victors.
Tain Thistle starlets Daniel Christie, Martyn Farquhar and Andy Durrand make their way to Ibrox in Glasgow today for tomorrow's SFA Youth Cup tie against Rangers FC, representing Highland League minnows Brora Rangers.
Due to the travel commitment, the trio will miss Tain's weekend trip to Muir of Ord this weekend.
Tain Thistle wish the boys all the best in their high profile tie.
Picture, courtesy of http://www.brorarangers.co.uk
With Barry Nimmons expected to miss this weekend's away visit to Muir of Ord, goalkeeping coach Steve Bannatyne is expected to fill the void between the sticks.
Bannatyne, formerly of Invergordon, joined the club in August for the start of their North Caledonian campaign and has been listed as Barry's understudy for three games so far this season.
The reserve's only run out came in a closed doors friendly against Brora Rangers in September.
The demo release of Football Manager 2009 (due for commercial release on Nov 14th) has been made available for download via FootballManager.net and has been confirmed to include Tain Thistle Football Club, for the first time in the club's history.
Thistle, formed in 1996, are represented in the demo as a non-league Scottish side, including director Alan Forsyth and current players Arron Christie, Barry Nimmons, Michael Brand and Colin Burry. It is expected that the full release, available on sale from November 14th, will include the full squad and backroom team (as at 31st October 2008).
In recent years, the only North Caledonian FA club to have been represented in the multi-million copy selling game was Golspie Sutherland, but this year the Scottish researcher opted to include all teams.
In a twist, specific to Tain Thistle however, club chairman Niall Harkiss contacted Sports Interactive to request that the club's players and staff be included also.
For more information on the Football Manager series, please visit:
League leaders Golspie Sutherland were forced to work for a 5-0 victory over a spirited Tain Thistle side at Grant Park.
Jags manager Robbie Ross had to contend with a number of changes to the side, enforced by the absence of Invergordon trio Paul Austin, Gordie Oman and Scott Morrison, as well as the missing Chris Mailley and Ewen Thain. The home side welcomed back Dave MacGruer, who reinstated the side’s first choice back four. A makeshift midfield three of Welfare stars Michael Brand, Brian Cameron and Martyn Farquhar was announced. Colin Burry retained his place on the left, with Daniel Christie making way for trialist Martin Mackay on the right wing. Christie took his place as the lone striker to complete the 4-5-1.
Thistle started the match well, thwarting a number of early Golspie attacks. The prolific Shane Sutherland came closest to opening the scoring for the league champions with a powerful strike, tipped over the bar by on-form Barry Nimmons. Nimmons was called into action again soon after, having to deal with a number of early corners.
On the quarter hour mark, Golspie striker Donald Sutherland was adjudged to be in an offside position when he pounced on a ball spilled in the box. Five minutes later however, it was Shane Sutherland who ensured the lead, with a calmly taken goal, one on one with the Nimmons.
Despite going 1-0 down, Thistle fought on, with Michael Brand and Brian Cameron both looking strong in midfield against the experienced and clever visitors. Thistle’s best chance of the first half came from a looping Cameron cross which centre half Scottie Innes nodded just over the bar.
Thistle continued to battle for an equalizer, following a series of clever moves using the battling Colin Burry and Martin Mackay, and the home side looked to have salvaged only a 1-0 deficit on half time, until left-back Arron Christie stopped a Golspie attack with a scything challenge inside the box. Referee Graham John awarded a penalty, and Shane Sutherland hit the back of the net for a second time, to make it 2-0 at half time.
Golspie returned to the field after the break, with all guns blazing, and by the hour mark they had extended their lead to five, beginning with another Shane Sutherland strike to mark the Golspie native’s hat trick. Golspie made it four with a shambolic defensive miscommunication in the Thistle box, seeing goal keeper Barry Nimmons deflect the ball into his own net. The fifth goal came from John Mackay, as the Thistle defence were pulled apart by the pace and confidence of the visiting side.
The league leaders took their foot of the pedal for the last half hour of the game, allowing the Jags back into the game, but despite a couple of slight chances for Daniel Christie in attack and substitute Paul Cowie, the match finished 5-0.
Click here for the match statistics and details