Manager John Oliver has confirmed that Tain Thistle training will continue to take place twice a week, on Monday and Thursday nights, from 7pm at Grant Park.
In other news, defender Stevie George has been released from the club. Tain Thistle wish Stevie all the best in his future endeavours.
Tain Thistle vaulted themselves into 6th place in the North Caledonian league today with a win at Seaboard Park, beating rivals Balintore by six goals to three in a non stop goalfest.
Following last week’s defeat to Dingwall, manager John Oliver made wholesale (mostly enforced) changes. Oliver introduced trialist Lee Morrison at centre half, replacing the injured Gordon Duff while Ally Matheson was given the nod in goal. Robbie Ross and Chris Mailley switched roles, with the latter dropping to centre half. The line-up was completed with Russell Lawrie and Darran Goller replacing the absent Christie brothers up front.
Thistle started the game well with the wind in the favour; Russell Lawrie drawing a save out of goalkeeper Ross Henderson and the forward line missing an early chance to take the lead following a fumble and stramash.
Despite Thistle’s early blust-assisted pressure, it was Balintore who took the lead. A neat cross played into the Thistle eighteen yard box was met by an advancing Balty head, as Tain stopped Ally Matheson called for the ball but failed to deal. The ball nestled into the back of the net for a seventh minute opener.
Even at 1-0 down, Thistle were undeterred and on 24 minutes David Mackay equalized for the visitors. Capitalizing on a clever through ball from Robbie Ross, full-back Mackay finished a nicely worked move, placing the ball at the far post, beyond Henderson. Thistle’s continuous first half pressure finally paid off just before half time when Robbie Ross blasted an effort past Henderson to make it 2-1, after some clever play from Martyn Farquhar.
The second half started with Balintore aiming to take advantage of a strong wind, which was now blowing in their favour. Their brief period of pressure failed to result in a goal before Russell Lawrie played Darran Goller in for a third Tain goal just after the hour mark. The pacey forward pair surprised onlookers with a series of clever passes against the weather.
Balintore were able to strike back almost instantly however, with a well struck free kick, only narrowly placed past Matheson from distance to pull the score line back to 2-3 - Steven Alexander the scorer.
Thistle continued to press forward when the opportunities presented themselves and Paul Austin believed he had scored when he poked a ball under Henderson. Play appeared to stop as both sides concluded that the goal had been scored, but the designated assistant referee waved for play to continue, sparking an angry reaction from Thistle.
The reprieve however, was only short lived though, as goalkeeper Henderson conceded a penalty with a quarter hour remaining. Robbie Ross stepped up to take the kick, but struck the ball down the middle into Henderson’s body – luckily for Ross, a speedy Ashley Mills was on hand to knock the ball home to make it 4-2.
Thistle’s advantage was clear with ten minutes left and soon Balintore appeared to hit the self destruct button, with Henderson fumbling a ball into the path of Robbie Ross, who turned and knocked his second into an empty net to make it 5-2.
A sixth inevitably followed with Russell Lawrie nipping clear of Henderson to side foot an effort home, but only after a defensive miscommunication saw Andy Ripley nod over Matheson for Balintore’s third consolation.
The win, only Thistle’s second in North Caledonian league competition, pushes the club into 6th place. In other action, the game between Bonar Bridge and Invergordon, arranged to be played at Bonar was postponed due to a water logged pitch. Today’s results saw Golspie coming back from 2-0 down to beat Muir 3-2 while Thurso dumped Fort William 4-1. The only other fixture saw Dingwall Thistle maintain their 100% record with a 4-3 win over Halkirk Utd.
Matheson, Mackay, Farquhar, Morrison, Mailley, Austin, Oliver, Mills, Lawrie, Ross (Oman 81), Goller
Subs not used:
George, Durrand, Sutherland
Mackay 21, Ross 45, 78, Goller 53, Mills 61, Lawrie 72
Man of the Match:
Manager John Oliver is expected to make several changes to the side that lost 8-0 to Dingwall last Saturday, as Thistle visit Seaboard Park for the first Balintore/Tain tie of the new season.
Arron and Daniel Christie are confirmed absences for the match, as is Gordon Duff, who was ruled out in midweek with a toe injury, while forward Darran Goller is expected to be back in action. Golspie native Stevie George is also expected to be recalled.
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Tain Thistle were torn apart at Grant Park today by debutant team Dingwall Thistle, as the visitors ran out 8-0 winners.
Dingwall's trialist forward John Macleod was the hero for away side, knocking five past Andrew Maitland in the rout.
Tain manager John Oliver named a side missing Darran Goller through injury. Michael Brand was a late inclusion at right back in a 4-4-2 which saw forward Robbie Ross drop to centre half, paired with Gordon Duff, with Martyn Farquhar switching to left back. The midfield four of Kyle Oliver, Arron Christie, Paul Austin and Ashley Mills was named; Chris Mailley playing as a makeshift forward along with Daniel Christie.
Despite a good start from Tain, Dingwall knocked a corner home in 10 minutes to take the lead, and within minutes had nestled a second past Maitland to make it 2-0. A third followed with a freak volley inside the eighteen yard box, and at the back, Robbie Ross was adjudged to have pulled a Dingwall forward back to concede a penalty. Dingwall's taker made no mistake with the finish to give them a 4-0 half time lead.
Despite changes seeing David Mackay replacing Ross and trialist Russell Lawrie coming on for Mailley, Tain failed to make any impact in the second half, Ashley Mills coming closest to providing chances down the right. Indeed, Tain's only shot on target came from a long range effort, struck by Daniel Christie, which goalkeeper Neil Mackay palmed over the bar.
Dingwall made easy work of the second half for a further four goals, to record Tain Thistle's worst defeat since joining the North Caledonian league a year ago.
Maitland, Brand, Farquhar, Ross (Mackay), Duff, Austin, Mills, Oliver, D Christie, Mailley (Lawrie), A Christie
Subs not used:
In other results, Balintore got off to a good start by beating Fort William 4-2, Invergordon were dumped 6-2 at Halkirk, Golspie recorded a 3-0 away win at Bonar Bridge and Thurso impressed with a 3-1 victory over Muir of Ord.
The official Tain Thistle matchday programme will be set for its newest issue tomorrow afternoon, as NCL returnees Dingwall Thistle visit Grant Park.
The matchday programme, issued for every North Caledonian league game last season, will be issued again this season, during the winter, at a price of £2 each. This first issue of the new season promises some new features and surprises, including the new fixtures, an interesting article on Michael Brand, all the latest news from the Welfare season and our new "By-gone Games" feature.
The club wishes to extend its thanks to Maggie Mercer of the Tain & Dornoch Picture Post for her excellent assistance in making the programme available for this weekend.
The office bearers of Tain Thistle wish to acknowlede the kind contributions of Murdo Macleod, Ian Christie, the Railway Hotel and Munro Butchers for the football season ahead.
As a former player of great success, Murdo Macleod has supported Tain Thistle since their inception and his generous contribution is greatly appreciated.
Ian Christie, committee member and father of players Arron and Daniel, has kindly donated water bottles and training balls to the club for the new season. Thank you Ian.
Munro Butchers, match sponsors for 08/09 have kindly offered to renew their sponsorship for the 09/10 season. Thank you to Munros for their continued support.
The Railway Hotel and manager Alan Nimmons as ever have been fantastic throughout the summer season, providing post match hospitality and never moreso than this past Saturday night when a good night was had by all. Thank you to Kirsty Mcfarlane, Alan and the very hard working staff at the Railway, as we look forward to the winter.
Here's hoping for a successful and enjoyable season.
Thistle's finalized their North Caledonian league preparations with a friendly 5-0 win over Inverness side Portland Hotspurs last night.
John Oliver named a strong starting lineup, with Stephen Alexander coming in for Scott Innes at the back and Arron Christie moving to the left wing for the return of Christopher Mailley in midfield.
The switch paid off instantly as Hotspurs failed to deal with the pace and technique of Christie. The left winger made no mistake with a free kick on the edge of the box, lashed past the Portland keeper for the opener on 5 minutes.
Clever play from Ashley Mills down the right wing opened up a number of chances for striker Robbie Ross in the first half but none could find the net. It was Christie again however who was fouled in the area for Thistle's second goal; the resultant penalty was easily put away by centre half Stephen Alexander to make it 2-0.
Goalkeeper Andrew Maitland was rarely troubled in a quiet first half from the Hotspurs, but handled and kicked well when required.
The second half eventually saw Maitland replaced by substitute keeper Ally Matheson, with Brian Cameron also replacing Christopher Mailley.
Thistle went 3-0 up with a spectacular long range shot from Daniel Christie, looped over the Portland keeper and into the top corner, stunning spectators and players alike.
Ross was again unlucky on a number of occasions, most notably when Arron Christie found Ross at the far post, only for the forward to nod over the bar.
Ross was replaced by pacey winger-come-striker Darran Goller, who had a point to prove. Within three minutes of his introduction after only narrowly missing one effort, Goller finished a Christie cross with ease to make it 4-0. To add to his super-sub appearance, Goller struck another past the Portland keeper on the stroke of full time, when he slid a ball into the Hotspurs' empty net.
Thistle will now head into their game against a strong Dingwall side on Saturday with a win on their side. The game will be played this Saturday 22nd August, at Grant Park, with a 3pm kick off.
Darran Goller, who has wowed Welfare spectators with his performances on the wing in the summer of 2009, picked up the coveted Most Improved Player of the Year award this weekend.
The second generation player is a hot prospect for the future and at only 19 years of age, having played for both the Under 15s and Under 17s of the successful Tain Juniors club, the talented winger already has success on his side.
Goller's first season at Thistle saw him win a runners-up medal in the Ross-shire Welfare league before going on to win a Cordiner Cup medal, the Charity Shield and Ross-shire Welfare League title with Thistle in 2009.
"I first signed for Tain Thistle last summer for the 2008 season, with my only senior experience having been at Balintore before. I spend most of my first season on the bench but it's been a different story this year."
"Before the season I was unsure about what I wanted to do, and had trials with Balintore again, and Cromarty but Arron persuded me to stay and I'm glad I did. I've been involved in almost all of our games and I've started every game I've been fit for."
Thistle manager John Oliver has already snapped the winger up for another year, for the impending North Caledonian league season -- and Goller believes 2009/10 could be a much better campaign for the club.
"Last season the team changed all too often and we struggled to get the team playing well. I've seen a few new faces at training recently, but it's also pleasing to see a few of the other Tain boys together as they are good players, well all get on and enjoy playing together."
"I didn't know much about John until he came to the club, but even during the Welfare season he has been helping me a lot with my game, at training and on the field. I'm very much looking forward to playing for him during the winter."
Goller is expected to play a part in Monday evening's friendly game against Portland Hotspurs, ahead of the season opener with Dingwall Thistle on Saturday 22nd August.
Tain Thistle captain Daniel Christie last night accepted the Ross-shire Welfare League Trophy Shield on behalf of the club, as the Jags were crowned Ross-shire Welfare League Champions for the first time in their thirteen year history.
The league was represented by Jimmy Patullo and John Macleod, who presented the both the League and Charity shields to Tain Thistle, while the Fair Play shield was narrowly awarded to Cromarty, who just beat Thistle to the award.
Alness Athletic's James Cochrane was acknowledged as the league's top scorer while Steven Macallum of Ross-shire Club won Ross-shire Welfare Player of the Year.
Later, as Thistle handed out their club awards, Player/manager centre-half Arron Christie picked up the Website Player of the Year, Committee Player of the Year and Player's Player of the Year awards, while Darran Goller was named as the Most Improved Player of the Year.
In addition to the player awards, the management team of Christie and Steven Martin were presented with two special Quiachs for their achievement of becoming the first management team to win a league trophy for Thistle.
"I'd like to thank Jimmy Patullo and John Macleod for their excellent work behind the scenes throughout the season, making it a smooth and thoroughly enjoyable campaign. Without their time and hard work the league wouldn't be where it is today and we would not have the platform to achieve what we have. Thank you Jimmy and John."
Tain Thistle rounded off an excellent season by defeating Ross-shire Club of Dingwall today, in the Ross-shire Welfare League Charity Shield. The score finished 4-1, with Kyle Oliver and Liam Rostock netting for the Jags, along with two own-goals.
Thistle named a familiar starting XI, with only three substitutes available on the day. Kyle Oliver scored his first and only goal of the season when he struck a left foot shot past the Ross-shire goalkeeper to make it 1-0 after only seven minutes, and only four minutes later, Oliver's corner was turned in for an own goal to make it 2.
Ross Club were caught on the hop again as Robbie Ross advanced on the keeper for a headed effort which cannoned the post. Ross's pressure finally paid off when his presence caused Ross-shire to knock yet another own goal home, to make it 3-0.
Thistle made changes in the second half most notably with David Matheson replacing Steven Martin in goal, after Martin had misjudged a Craig Sutherland shot which slipped past his hands into the far corner of the net.
At 3-1, the game took a calm turn in the second half. Gary Austin returned to make a substitute appearance, as did Paul Cowie, who is still recovering from a recurring knee injury and before long Martin was reintroduced as a makeshift striker! Martin very nearly scored within five minutes, turning the Ross defence before shooting over the bar.
Despite Robbie Ross missing a couple of one on one opportunities with the keeper to put the game beyond Ross-shire, it was winger Liam Rostock who made it four with a stunning free kick from 20 yards, rounding his season off with ten goals.
Martin (Matheson), Farquhar, A Christie, Dingwall, Rice (Austin), Durrand, Oliver, D Christie, Rostock, Goller (Cowie), Ross
Oliver 7, Own Goal 11, 30, Rostock 81
Man of the Match:
The Tain Juniors Under 17s won the SWL Ross-shire League tonight in emphatic fashion with a stunning 5-2 win at Dingwall. Martin Smith led the march with three goals on the night as the Juniors emulated the success of Tain Thistle to bring a second league championship to the town in 2009.
Having defeated Muir of Ord earlier in the week, Tain needed a win over league rivals Dingwall in what shaped up to be a hard task on paper.
Martin Smith opened the scoring for the Juniors with a penalty early on, before a retaken free kick extended their lead to 2-0; Ali Mackintosh the scorer with a header from the set piece.
Before long, a dominant Tain made it 3-0, this time John Maclellan getting on the score sheet, capitalizing on a brilliant ball from Ayah Rattanaphithak.
Dingwall managed to pull a goal back before half time, but not long after the restart, Tain had extended their lead to 4-1, Martin Smith breaking forward for Andy Bell to finish calmly.
Dingwall scored again to make it 4-2 but the game was all but over when their goalkeeper, after a string of great saves was dismissed for handling ball outside of his area.
Smith rounded the scoring off at 5-2 to secure Tain Juniors first league win since 2005, making 2009 one of the most successful years in the history of Tain football.
Rival manager David Masson had nothing but praise for the Tain side after watching them defeat Dingwall.
"Well done to Tain, they have thoroughly deserved this. They were the better team."
Tain Thistle will play their first pre-season friendly at Grant Park this Monday night against Inverness & District side Portland Hotspurs. The Hotspurs enjoyed a good summer season in the Inverness & District League Division Two, finishing 2nd and securing promotion to the league's top division.
The game will be played at Grant Park with a 7.30pm kick off this Monday night, August 17th.
Tain Thistle visited Dugeon Park for a closed doors game with mixed consequences.
Manager John Oliver introduced new trialist Andrew Maitland in goal for the Jags, with a back four of the returning Gordon Duff and Scott Innes, flanked by Martyn Farquhar and new signing David Mackay from Dornoch. Also returning was Paul Austin, who was paired with Arron Christie in the middle of the park with wingers Darran Goller and former Invergordon star Ashley Mills feeding in to strikers Robbie Ross and Daniel Christie.
Indeed good work paid off in the opening quarter hour when Ross put Thistle ahead at 1-0, the forward turning inside the 6 yard box to drill the ball home. Thistle were caught on the hop before half time however as Brora found an equalizer, capitalizing on a defensive error.
The second half saw many changes with Ally Matheson replacing Maitland in goal, Cromarty based Phil Macdonald replacing Ross up front and messrs Brian Cameron, Craig Sutherland and Christy Macdonald introduced late on. The changes from both sides turned the game and although Arron Christie produced a wonderful solo run and goal mid way into the second half a professional and confident Brora found the net on no fewer than seven occasions to make the final 8-2.
Rescheduled fixtures issued by the North Caledonian league can now be accessed via the official website, by clicking the Fixt/Results button.
Thistle's opening fixtures of the new season see the club playing host to new boys Dingwall Thistle, away to Balintore the following week then at home to Invergordon, before a visit to Bonar Bridge.
Tain's opening cup tie will be in the North Caley Cup 1st Round, away to Thurso on September 19th.
Tain Thistle tonight can exclusively reveal their new home kit for the 2009/10 North Caledonian League season -- generously sponsored by Aberdeen based kit supplier, 1st Touch Football.
The attractive new strip, made by high quality Italian sportswear manufacturers Errea is sponsored by 1st Touch, run by former Ross County stalwart Kenny Gilbert and business partner Mark Smith.
Club Chairman Niall Harkiss spoke to the official website on behalf of Thistle.
"I'd like to thank Kenny and Mark for their kind sponsorship for the forthcoming season and look forward to many a great victory in our glorious new kit."
"1st Touch Football have been great guys to deal with in the build up to our new season and it makes me very happy to associate the Tain Thistle name with their company."
Thistle expect to don the kit for the first time next Tuesday, in their pre-season outing at Dugeon Park, Brora.
Thistle fans looking to buy a replica of the new top can do so via the Club Shop online, using Paypal at a cost of £39.99.
News of the withdrawal of Bunillidh Thistle from this season's North Caledonian FA competitions now means that Tain Thistle, along with all other competing clubs, will face rescheduling of fixtures for the forth coming league season.
The news is also likely to result in an alteration to cup draws.