The first shipment of Tain Thistle red and black jacquard bar scarves is now in stock and we are now in a position to take orders through the website. Alternatively, scarves can be purchased in Home & Music in the High Street in Tain, or from the serving hatch at the Tain Football Pavilion on matchdays.
You can buy your official scarf by visiting the kit shop here:
The much anticipated Christmas clash between Tain Thistle and Bonar Bridge produced a nine goal thriller, in what was to be the club's highest scoring game since joining the North Caledonian league in July. Ending 5-4 in favour of the visitors, the game produced three first half penalties, seeing the first half end at 4-1 in Bonar's favour. A tremendous fight back from Thistle, courtesy of Scott Morrison and manager Robbie Ross, both notching their first North Caley goals for the club, made for a nervy final ten minutes as the Bridge held on.
Manager Robbie Ross welcomed back Gordon Duff, Scott Morrison and Michael Brand to the side, but made few changes to the lineup who lost 5-2 to Balintore in last week's Graham Jardine Quaich match. New to the side was Russell Lawrie, a striker from Inverness who took his place on the sub's bench for the start of the game.
In all too familiar fashion, Thistle found themselves 1-0 down after only two minutes. Gordie Oman hauled Sean Henstridge down on the edge of the box after kick off and referee Mark Dalton made no mistake when he instantly awarded a penalty to Bonar. Calmly, Henstridge knocked the ball past a diving Steve Bannatyne to take the lead for the visitors.
Thistle's shape was in question for most of the opening stages as the combined pace and technique of Bonar's forward line had a beleaguered Tain back four chasing shadows. Henstridge was clean through again within minutes and only an outstretched Bannatyne toe was the difference between 1-0 and 2-0. The let off was only temporary however, as on the 6th minute Henstridge worked a one-two with Billy Ferries to make easy work of a shot directly in front of goal.
Retaining his place at right back was Andy Murray, but for the Invergordon man the game could not have got off to a worse start, picking up a booking for a badly timed challenge on the wing. On 16 minutes however, Murray's afternoon could very well have ended early when his sweeping challenge on the edge of the box resulted in the second penalty of the afternoon. A lenient Dalton blew the whistle for Henstridge's hat trick, only just over a quarter hour into the match to make it 3-0 for the visitors.
Had it not been for Bonar Bridge losing their first choice keeper for the afternoon's festivities, the game could have been over by the half hour mark -- the unsettled David Crombie between the visitor's sticks seemed to be having a day of it, struggling to deal with the few yet accurate crosses from Arron Christie and Scott Morrison; Robbie Ross coming closest to scoring a consolation when his one on one strike flew just wide of Crombie's right hand post.
Sensationally, just as Tain seemed to be gaining some semblance of a hope, Paul Cowie's failure to catch Sean Henstridge on the chase and a subsequent grapple between the two resulted in the third penalty award of the afternoon for Bonar Bridge! Assistant referee Keith Middleton attempted to protest the case for Thistle that the resultant corner was sufficient but Dalton's authority won the case, and Bonar's John Dorrian made no mistake with the penalty kick to record an embarassing 4-0 deficit for the home side.
Perhaps resting on their laurels too early, Bonar allowed Tain a consolation in the first half when the pressure on Crombie finally paid off. A poorly handled back pass to Crombie left Scott Morrison with the easiest of touches for his first North Caledonian goal for Tain Thistle.
The Tain Thistle changing rooms must have played host to a roasting only turkeys should be subjected to at this time of year, as the side came out all guns blazing, now shaping up in an unorthodox 3-3-4, with debutant Russell Lawrie replacing an unlucky Paul Cowie to take up the right side of a four pronged attack. As is the often the case with such a gamble however, Tain were caught on the break at the start of the second half for Sean Henstridge to score his fourth of the day, taking the score to 5-1.
The set back did not deter the home side however, as they continued to pile pressure on Crombie and his vulnerable defence. A neat play through the middle put an inspired Morrison through on Crombie once more and with confidence, the wee man stuck away his second of the game to pull the score back to 5-2.
The introduction of Colin Burry for Gordie Oman created new avenues of attack and soon enough Thistle were on top of the game. A looping cross from the wing was enough for hard working Robbie Ross to leap as if catapulted above the Bonar defence and launch a bullet header past Crombie. At 5-3, Tain were pulling themselves back and Bonar looked nervy. The nerves showed as within four minutes, Tain had scored again, this time via a sclaff in the box which saw substitute Burry dink the ball underneath a disoriented Crombie.
Complimenting the resurgent Tain attack was a steady second half defensive performance; Scott Innes and Gordon Duff doing tremendously well to cut out the offensive threat of Henstridge and Rostock when needed.
The 5-4 scoreline made for a very tense final ten minutes, despite Bonar best attempts to fritter the remainder away with tight throw ins and delayed wing play. Thistle could very well have levelled however on 85 minutes when new man Lawrie found himself clean through to Crombie's left - but the towering forward could only hit the woodwork with his powerful strike, much to the onlooking Tain support's dismay.
Bonar Bridge will have been relieved to hear the whistle as Tain would have surely found an equaliser. The defeat unfortunately brings 2008 to a close for Thistle, who have found only one win this season.
Striker Scott Morrison was pleased with the second half display, despite the final result.
"We all gave ourselves a roasting at half time and everybody knew what needed to be done. We were all disappointed with the first half, but the second half showed what we can do."
"I'm pleased to have scored the first one. That's all I needed, was to score one and the confidence stems from there."
Bonar manager Billy Russell reserved praise for Thistle's fightback, citing the Tain player's resilience. "Even at 4-0 down they kept their heads up and got on with it. All credit to them."
Thistle's next game will be January 10th, with the club visiting Golspie Sutherland for what is likely to be the final Top vs Bottom clash of the season.
Buy your tickets online now for the Tain Thistle Football Club Christmas Raffle!
The prizes include a brand new Nintendo DS with Nintendogs Labrador game, signed Tain Thistle cartoon print from The Scottish Sun newspaper, a £20 gift voucher and a framed photograph of a player of your choice. And Just added -- a bottle of Glenmorangie Whisky!
So get buying now - at only £2 a ticket!
RAFFLE IS NOW COMPLETE
Please be sure to include your full name and address when sending your Paypal payment. Once payment has cleared, you will be sent a unique e-ticket number within 48 hours, to your Paypal email address. The winner of the raffle will be drawn on January 10th, 2009.
This raffle is being promoted by Mr Niall Harkiss, 31 High Street, Tain, IV19 1AE in conjunction with the Highland Council Lotteries Commission.
Changes to the North Caledonian league fixture calendar mean that Tain Thistle will now begin the year with a trip to league champions Golspie Sutherland.
In other changes, Thistle will end their league campaign at home against Invergordon.
The full fixture list can be viewed here:
Or by selecting Fixtures from the League option in the side menu.
For a full fixture list, involving all NCL clubs, visit:
A combination of experience and clinical finishing was enough for Balintore as they successfully defended the Graham Jardine Memorial Quaich against Tain Thistle, notching up three vital league points in the process.
Thistle started the tie in positive fashion; Paul Austin coming very close to opening the scoring straight from kick off getting on the end of an Arron Christie cross to power a header into the parrying hands of former Jags keeper Ross Henderson. Despite the early chance, a poorly defended throw-in at the other end of the park led to the Seaboarders taking a surprise 1-0 lead, when a bundled ball took a deflection off the back of the unfortunate Andy Durrand. Durrand was on the wrong side of scoresheet once more fifteen minutes later when a Gus MacDonald shot destined for the car park was deflected past Steve Bannatyne to make it 2-0.
MacDonald was denied a goal once again ten minutes later when his well placed strike and resultant goal was disallowed, on account of debutant linesman Bob Urquhart flagging for offside.
Despite the scoreline, Thistle continued to pile greater pressure onto Henderson's goal than the visitors were offering, with Daniel Christie, Robbie Ross, Gordie Oman and Arron Christie all forcing saves with a myriad of shots on target. The hard work finally paid off for Tain on 44 minutes when the third own goal of the afternoon trundled underneath Henderson to make it 2-1.
Thistle emerged for the second half rejuvenated and had the better of the early second half, again pressuring Ross Henderson with a number of well placed shots; Arron Christie most notably testing the keeper with a free kick, as he knocked it to brother Daniel for a powered right foot strike. The home side finally got back into the game on 57 minutes, when Arron Christie powered a left foot drive from 35 yards beyond Henderson to make it 2-2.
End to end football followed as both teams searched for a winner, with Thistle coming close to going 3-2 up on the hour mark, following a goal mouth scramble which despite numerous tackles, could not fall favourably for the home side. The number of counter attacks from Balintore increased, with man of the match Paul Cowie working endlessly to suppress it.
Balintore eventually broke the deadlock however, scoring a third and fourth in quick succession following a extremely well executed series of counter attacks. Scott MacKain made easy work of a one on one with Steve Bannatyne to take the lead for the visitors and a failure to deal with a cross ball resulted in an easy tap in for Gus MacDonald.
In all too familiar fashion, Thistle conceded an entirely unnecessary fifth goal on the 77 minute mark; Gus MacDonald again clinical in front of goal following an unfortunate defensive knock on from Scott Innes.
Thistle did enjoy a series of final attacks with substitutes Scott Morrison and Darran Goller injecting a smattering of pace up front but Morrison's one on one with Henderson went the visitors' way as the Balintore keeper easily closed the effort down.
At the final whistle, both sides gathered as club chairman and guest Jim Jardine presented Balintore with the Graham Jardine Memorial Quaich, resurrected after three years of inactivity, following the folding of Tain St Duthus.
After the presentation, Balintore captain John Skinner said:
"It's good to see Tain back in the league, because of days like this. It makes it more enjoyable."
"Graham would have enjoyed the game today as he was always a scorer of goals. This one is for him."
The win puts Balintore in a safe position in the top half of the table, but leaves Tain rock bottom with only 4 points from 13 games. A slight hope of catching Alness and Invergordon exists for the Jags, with next week's home game against Bonar Bridge an important fixture in that quest.
This Saturday's North Caledonian league match between Tain Thistle and Balintore at Grant Park will now also be contested to decide the winners of the Graham Jardine Quaich. Referee John Johnston has agreed to preside over a penalty shoot-out should the scores be level after 90 minutes.
The memorial Quaich (which will be presented after the match by Graham's parents Jean and Jim) was first contested in 1999 between Tain St Duthus and Balintore FC, teams with whom Graham had previously served with.
Kick off time for Saturday is 1pm.
Ahead of tomorrow's trip to Caithness, manager Robbie Ross faces a late personnel struggle to ensure that a strong team can be fielded against league title candidates Halkirk United, which could even see himself missing the bus!
Coming back into the side should be Gordie Oman and Michael Brand, but key absences such as Barry Nimmons, Colin Burry, Scott Innes, Chris Mailley and Scott Morrison means that Thistle will be up against it in the return visit from their early season 7-0 home thrashing at the hands of Halkirk in September.
Halkirk are expected to be without Gavin Henderson, who also missed the September tie, but otherwise manager Ian MacDonald reports an almost clean bill of health for the league fixture.