On Saturday May 29th, Grant Park will play host to the Moylan Urquhart Memorial Quaich match, which will kick off at 1pm.
The memorial tie, played in memory of Moylan Urquhart and to raise money for Takayasu’s Arteritis research, was this year organized by Graeme Ross and will be played for the fifth consecutive year. Played between two XIs of younger and older players from Moylan's generation, Keith Glazier and James Affrin will captain the sides for the afternoon.
Presentation of the Quaich and a raffle will take place after the game at the Railway Hotel with prizes including a signed Celtic shirt and an acoustic guitar
A confident first half performance from league leaders Balintore saw them extend their advantage with a 4-1 win at Grant Park against a disjointed Tain Thistle side.
Completing a number of changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Inver on Saturday, manager Arron Christie reintroduced striker Robbie Ross and Ryan Johnston, while also giving Thai winger Ayah Rattanaphithak his first start for the club, in place of Darran Goller.
End to end action in the first half saw the first break fall to Balintore, as North Caledonian young player of the year Andrew Ripley tucked a shot underneath Steven Martin for the opener. Balintore made it 2-0 shortly after with a Dave MacGruer strike.
Andy Bell added a third before the interval after Thistle failed to deal with persistent attacking play.
Making two half time changes, Thistle re-emerged for the second half with Darran Goller and Andy Durrand introduced, adding new attacking options. The chances quickly came through Goller as he narrowly missed a chance to score, one on one with Balintore stopper Ross Henderson.
Tain's second half pressure finally paid off when a Martyn Farquhar effort was adjudged to have crossed the line, despite protests from the Balintore bench. At 1-3 down, Thistle could have pulled another back thanks to a late Arron Christie lob, but the confident Henderson was up to the task.
Despite their best efforts, Thistle could not prevent Balintore from adding a fourth. From a set piece, the towering Gus Macdonald knocked the ball beyond Martin with deflected header, concluding the scoring for the evening.
Martin, Cowie, Johnson (Durrand), Rice, Sutherland, Farquhar, D Christie, Burry, Rattanaphithak (Goller), Ross, A Christie
Subs not used:
C Nimmons, Maclellan, Cameron
Tain Thistle can expect nothing but a tough contest from neighbours Balintore as the Jags challenge the 100% record of the seasiders this Wednesday night. The unbeaten Thistle will hope to make an advance towards top spot in the table by toppling their rivals with the home advantage on their side.
As the game closes in, we look at the last two meetings between the sides at Grant Park, from 2009 and 2008.
Tain Thistle 5-1 Balintore
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
Goals: D Christie 3, Rostock 5, Rice 7, 19, Goller 28 – Mackay 47
Martin, Farquhar (Austin), Rice, Dingwall, A Christie, Oliver, D Christie, Cowie, Macdonald (McGaw), Goller (Durrand), Rostock
Crombie, Mackenzie (MacKelvie), Metcalfe, Ross (Allison), Stainke, MacMillan, Mackay, Macdonald, Smith (Vass), Martin
James Rice was the hero of the day against a beleaguered Balintore side, as he netted a first half brace before narrowly missing out on a hat trick to contribute towards a thumping 5-1 win, rocketing Thistle to the top of the Ross-shire Welfare league table.
Tain Thistle 1-2 Balintore
Wednesday, May 19th, 2008
Goals: McCourt 24 - Kay 65, Mackay 70
Ross, Farquhar, George (Harkness), Rice, Cowie (Milne), Cameron, Burry, Brand, McCourt, Rostock (McQuillan), Perks
Henderson, Metcalfe, Mackay, Davis, Stainke, Ross, Martin (J Vass), Wood (Moffat), Macdonald, Smith, Kay (B Vass)
The Jags' early league momentum was quickly halted by a stubborn Balintore side as a flat footed Tain Thistle saw their early lead cancelled out by Ryan Kay and Martin Mackay to give Balintore three important league points.
Inver are the Ross-shire Welfare League Cup winners for 2010, following an entertainment packed ninety minutes at Balintore Lower Park yesterday.
Both sides had made changes since their inconclusive meeting at Portmahomack weeks prior, with Craig McCourt in for Greig Mitchell and Gary Mackay replacing Stephen Campbell in the Inver goal. For Thistle, Kyle Oliver was introduced to the midfield with Brian Cameron stepping into a full back role for Ryan Cowie. Experienced forward Robbie Ross failed to make the final squad due to the imposed limit of six Winter form players, while the returning Mark Reid took a place on the bench.
Pre-match, the Tain players and committee arrived together, universally clad in red and black bar ties. For many of the younger players, it would be their first Welfare final, having stepped up from the Under 17 ranks this summer.
Nerves were apparent early on as neither side could figure a conclusive hold on the game, but it was Inver who had the first chance, Ashley Mills managing to win a header in the Thistle box before sending a shot just over the bar after some shaky defending from the Grant Park men.
Despite the early pressure from Inver, it was Tain who opened the scoring, through an unlikely source. A looping cross from right back Brian Cameron reached the edge of the Inver area, but it was Inver captain Scott Innes who was first to the ball in what he must have hoped would be a headed clearance. The unlucky defender could only watch his effort drift into the net at Gary Mackay’s far post however, giving Thistle a surprise 1-0 lead.
The goal should have served as encouragement for Thistle, who had seemed all-at-sea for most of the half thus far, but disaster struck moments later when Craig McCourt found himself through on the Tain goal, this time forcing goalkeeper Steven Martin to produce a save, beating the ball behind for a corner.
The Thistle defence were caught napping once again as McCourt found himself in an advanced position and in a moment that player-manager Arron Christie will want to forget, the towering Inver forward was sent to the ground, leaving referee Michael Stainke with no other option than to point to the spot. McCourt stepped up and rifled the ball home to level the affair at 1-1.
As the first half continued, frustration grew higher as the action flew from end to end. In the frenzy, Thistle could only stand and watch as the next goal flew in, as Stuart Wood struck the ball from 25 yards, over the Thistle defence and their keeper to make it 2-1.
The deficit finally seemed to spur Tain on, as a flurry of chances before the half time whistle ensued. Kyle Oliver was unsuccessful first of all with a thumping shot that just skimmed its way over the bar, before the midfielder once again beat the keeper, only to see his angled shot bounce off the post – winger Darran Goller unsuccessful with the rebound. It was beginning to seem like one of those days for Thistle as John Maclellan also found himself clean through on Mackay. The forward dribbled the ball past the Inver keeper but in an infringement which seemed to escape the eyes of both the referee and his assistants, the young striker found his legs clipped by the keeper, ending his momentum and the scoring chance.
The second half told a very different tale to that of the first, with forty-five minutes of Thistle pressure about to begin.
Arron Christie, now in a forward position, should have made it 2-2 when he found himself one-on-one with Mackay, but much to the amazement of the Thistle support, after he beat Mackay his chipped effort came back off the crossbar! Christie’s frustration turned to scorn soon after as he found himself in the Inver box only to be wrestled to the ground; referee Stainke again ignoring any penalty claim to the amazement of both teams.
Thistle’s best chance of the second period fell without doubt to Andrew Sutherland who, having advanced for a set piece found the goal gaping, but could only shoot directly at an Inver defender on the goal line.
The Jags continued to pressurize up until the final whistle, Colin Burry, James Rice and even goalkeeper Steven Martin coming close to finding an equalizer but as time went on, it became evident that the name of Tain Thistle was never to be written on the League Cup this year.
Competition sponsor Jim Oman of Highland Heatsave Ltd Plumbing & Heating presented the trophy to Inver captain Scott Innes after the match, before medals and awards were handed out at Balintore's Commercial Hotel. Any taste of bitterness following the result were soon washed away with some excellently prepared soup, provided by the hosts.
Martin, Cameron (Reid), Rice, Sutherland, A Christie, Oliver, Farquhar, Goller (Rattanaphithak), Burry, Maclellan, D Christie
Subs not used:
Johnston, Cowie, Durrand
Innes o.g. 15
Tain Thistle got off the mark in style at Dingwall this evening, winning all three points after putting six into the Vertex net.
Manager Arron Christie made four changes for the visit. Resting winger Darran Goller, full back James Rice with Brian Cameron and John Maclellan dropping to the bench, while Kyle Oliver, Andrew Sutherland and Robbie Ross were recalled to the side along with the player-manager himself.
A promising start for Thistle saw Robbie Ross and makeshift forward Arron Christie come close with efforts in the box, with Daniel Christie also firing over the bar in the early going. A resilient Vertex defence were able to stave off the pressure from Tain's determined wing pairing of Colin Burry and Andy Durrand but before long the floodgates opened; Arron Christie leathering the ball into the top corner to give Tain a 1-0 lead in emphatic style with his first goal of the campaign.
Arron's brother Daniel Christie opened his account for the season soon after, turning a shot into the net beyond the keeper to make it 2-0, giving Thistle a more than comfortable half time advantage.
Shortly after the restart, Ross could very well have made it 3-0, but failed to connect with a cross at the far post, heading wide from close range. The duty was left to Thistle's left back, in sensational fashion, as Ryan Johnston watched his deep looping cross turn into the shot of the game when it sailed over the head of an unsuspecting Ross Rae and into the net.
Vertex enjoyed a brief reprieve from defending when Thistle brought on substitutes John Maclellan and Ayah Rattanaphithak as the visitor's rejigged their formation; the Dingwall side's Ryan Reid testing Steven Martin with a tame effort soon after with the call centre side's only significant chance of the game.
Substitute Rattanaphithak found himself in the thick of the action quickly, winning a free kick outside the box, before finding the net himself, stunning onlookers with a deft header over the ample Vertex keeper finishing a Mark Reid cross; a feat in itself for the diminutive Thai dribbler, who would take some beating as the shortest player in the league!
The tireless Burry added a fifth from a set piece outside the box soon after Rattanaphithak's contribution, much to the disappointment of the Vertex defence and their keeper who were caught off guard by Thistle's quickness in taking the free kick.
Rattanaphithak, finding it all too easy to advance on the vulnerable Vertex defence was adjudged to have been impeded in the closing minutes of the game and a penalty was awarded to the visitors by referee Mark Dalton. Still chasing his opening goal of the campaign, young striker John Maclellan stepped up to the plate for the spot kick and after sending the Vertex keeper the wrong way, Maclellan knocked the ball home to round the evening off at 6 goals to nil for Thistle.
The win gets Thistle off the mark in the Ross-shire Welfare league, catapulting them to 3rd in the table, behind Ross-shire Club who lost 1-0 to Balintore in another of the evening's games. Elsewhere in the county, Invergordon Social Club were beaten 3-1 at Portmahomack by Inver, while Alness Athletic regained form to make easy work of Cromarty in an 8-0 drubbing.
Thistle's win over Vertex will be their final outing before they play Inver in the Ross-shire Welfare League Cup final, scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 22nd at Balintore Lower Park, Balintore, with a 3pm kick off.
Martin, Cowie (Reid), Johnston, Farquhar, Sutherland, Oliver, D Christie, Durrand (Rattanaphithak), Burry, Ross (Maclellan), A Christie
Subs not used:
S McGaw, Cameron
A Christie 23, D Christie 36, Johnston 56, Rattanaphithak 77, Burry 82, Maclellan pen 90
Man of the Match:
Tain Thistle's resident mascot and betting enthusiast, Andy "I'll play anKNEEwhere" Murray weighs in with another edition of "Andy's Odds", speculating on the fortunes of the Ross-shire Welfare's league teams for this evening's card of games.
Inver vs Social Club
Inver will be keen to get a league game under their belt finally and with that I think they will prove too strong for Social!
My prediction: 3-0
Alness Ath vs Cromarty
Alness are a strong team but have struggled to score goals so far. However think Alness will sneak this one!
Mr prediction: 2-1
Balintore vs Ross Club
Both teams are currently sitting on 6 points with 1 goal between them. Going for a draw on this one!
Mr prediction: 1-1
Vertex vs Tain Thistle
Pre-season friendly ended with a narrow 2-1. With 3 points at stake Tain will be keen to see this one off with ease. Team news is that there could be a change up front, so will all depend on whether the new 'striker' finds the back of the net!
My prediction: 0-3
Tain Thistle are proud to announce a new club association with Estonian side Jalgpaliklubi FC Eston Villa.
Eston Villa play in the Estonian championship IV league and currently hold 2nd position in the East Zone. Thistle and Villa committees are currently working on setting up a friendly match, expected to be played in mid 2011.
The goal posts at Tain Thistle and Tain Juniors' Grant Park have been given a much needed tidy up and respray by Thistle committee members Ian and Arron Christie.
The newly painted posts were put to good use tonight during Thistle's league match with Alness, netted up by the able bodied hands of Graham Macrae and David "Embo" Matheson.
Welfare sides Tain Thistle and Alness Athletic were deadlocked at Grant Park today as the league challengers finished their match goal-less.
Injury concerns following the weekend saw Robbie Ross and manager Arron Christie drop out of the first team, with Andy Durrand and Andy Sutherland coming in while Christie's most recent signing Kyle Oliver took a place on the bench. Terry Stirling named a much changed starting eleven for Alness, with David Kennedy, Kraig Vass, Scott MacGruer and former Thistle welfare defender Keith Dingwall adding strength to the Alness side.
The first half told a familiar story of end to end flowing football from both sides, with Colin Burry impressing once again on the left flank. Thistle got started early with a corner in the first minute; James Rice heading wide from a Burry cross with the first chance of the game. John Maclellan was unlucky minutes later with a one-on-one chance against MacGruer as he shot straight at the stopper.
Alness enjoyed their best chance through Stuart Murray, who having spent most of the game offside was finally able to play the trap well to lob Martin, only to see his shot land on the crossbar and bounce over.
Goalkeeper Steven Martin was called into action twice in the second half following a period of Alness pressure, doing very well to tip an effort away from goal before holding a free kick.
Action flowed freely in the latter stages of the second half with most of the action coming through Burry and Darran Goller for the home side, but chances in the middle were few and far between for both sides despite creative play.
At the back, the young combination of Martyn Farquhar and Andy Sutherland received good reviews from the touchline, keeping their first clean sheet of the season as a defensive pairing, as the game meandered towards a 0-0 finish.
Elsewhere in the league, league leaders Balintore made it 2 from 2 with a 3-1 win at Dingwall over new side Vertex thanks to goals from David Calderwood, Ross Powell and James Metcalfe, while action at Cromarty never got started as traffic issues prevented Inver from reaching Victoria Park. In other game of the night, Ross-shire Club beat Social Club 2-0 at Invergordon.
Martin, Cowie, Rice (Oliver), Farquhar, Sutherland, Cameron (Ross), D Christie, Goller, Burry, Maclellan (Rattanaphithak), Durrand
Subs not used:
C Nimmons, Johnston
Man of the Match:
TainThistle.co.uk's resident pundit, Andy "The Hatchet" Murray weighs in with his prediction for this week's Ross-shire Welfare league fixtures.
Cromarty vs Inver
Cromarty had a good 1st round cup win and results have been close and with home advantage don't think Inver will have this one all their own way, especially with their goalkeeper 'cast' aside through injury!
My Prediction: 2-2
Invergordon Social Club vs Ross-shire Club
I think Ross Club will win this one although they don't seem to be as strong as last season. It all depends on what team Social put out however!
My Prediction: 1-3
Tain Thistle vs Alness Athletic
This will be another close one. Alness are a physical team but as long as (we) Tain match them, I think it'll be 3 points for Tain!
My Prediction: 2-1
Vertex vs Balintore
Vertex are the new team finding their feet, don't think they'll be a match for a seemingly strong Balti team!
My Prediction: 0-4
In 1920, the reformation of the Ross-shire League had begun -- with teams from Evanton (Black Rock), Invergordon and Dingwall competing again and among the others to join were Alness and Tain (St Duthus).
Most significantly for the latter two was their first meeting since the end of the First World War in 1920 with both sides finding themselves in the final of the Tain hosted Pattison Cup. Crowds flocked to "The Links" from both towns to view the spectacle, with the cup committee recording a gate of £10 - a record at the time for the town.
Tain had disposed of Dingwall Vics (then recognised as Ross-shire's premier team) and Invergordon en route to the final, while Alness had made easy work of Cromarty and Golspie.
The game was affected heavily by a strong wind, one which Alness benefited from early on, winning the toss for kick off and the weather advantage. Despite numerous corners for the visitors in the first half, no advantage was taken and the score remained 0-0 at the break.
Despite Alness having the better of things (with three shots saved by the Tain custodian), it was Tain who took the lead with their first attempt on Maynard's goal -- and in bizarre fashion. A cross from Mitchell was left to go bye by the Alness stopped but it careered off the post and back into the goalmouth. The stramash that followed found the ball trundle into the net; Maynard's valiant efforts to prevent it going in only succeeded in pushing it further over the line, resulting in what would effectively be classed as an "own goal".
The goal would be the only one of the game, with Tain securing the prize of the Pattison Cup in a 1-0 win. Presentations took place at the Temperance Hotel, awarded to the Tain captain by Mr D Sinclair of the North of Scotland Bank.
The year marked a renaissance for Tain football, as they went on to secure the first post-war (1920/21) Ross-shire League championship soon after, overcoming teams from around the county, with five wins from six games.
(Above: Tain St Duthus, Pattison Cup Winners 1920)
The teams on the day were:
Tain St Duthus
W Munro, W Macleod, E M Fraser, R Earl, A Macleod, W B Dunnett, J G Holmes, D J H Mitchell, D Mackay, G Findlay, W Ross
Maynard, Collins, Mackenzie, Grant, Macdonald, Maclean, Fraser, Young, Maclean, Darling, Lamb
Referee - Mr W G Mackay, Dingwall
Tain Thistle would like to thank Debbie Dyer and her crew of able bodied helpers from the Sunflowers Cafe for the provision of refreshments at today's semi final.
Spectators were spoiled rotten throughout the match and at half time with baguettes, tea, coffee, soup, rolls, cakes and the much sought after "Shortbread Gollers" (pictured here).
Thank you to Debbie, John and Sunflowers Cafe for their time and efforts.
A last gasp winner from Robbie Ross was enough for Tain Thistle to book their place in the Ross-shire Welfare League Cup final this afternoon, against cup holders Alness Athletic.
Arron Christie named a relatively familiar starting eleven, with Ryan Cowie coming back into otherwise the same side who played in the abandoned fixture midweek against Inver.
Despite a positive start from Thistle, it was Athletic who broke the deadlock through Stevie Murray; the forward taking advantage of defensive frailties in the early going to knock the ball past Stevie Martin. The goal jolted Tain into action and before long chances came, mostly through Colin Burry as he found the head of Robbie Ross on two occasions, both being sent over the bar.
As Tain continued to chase an equalizer, the game adopted a frenetic feel with chances at either end, Stuart Murray shooting over the bar while John Maclellan had an effort saved at the other end and bookings which soon followed, for Thistle's Rice and Athletic's Alexander.
But, capping off a brilliant first half display down the left wing, it was Burry who was able to pull his side back into contention with a tremendous goal, looping the ball over Annal and into the net from an acute angle just before the half time break.
The second half started as the first had ended, with much of the tough yet flowing football that both teams had promised to deliver pre-match on display for the 100 strong crowd. Chances falling to Darran Goller and Ross were squandered while Maclellan again found an opportunity held by Annal as Tain pushed for a winner.
Just as the match looked as though it was headed for extra time, Robbie Ross provided the heroic touch, as he had done in the Cordiner Cup semi final last year, with a goal in the dying minutes. Winger Goller's seemingly tireless legs carried him into a fantastic position down the right hand side to cross for Ross; the forward carrying the ball over the line to send the Thistle crowd home delighted, with the prospect of another cup final to look forward to.
Post-match, the Athletic touchline took issue with referee Billy Murray leading to ugly scenes at the full time whistle. Tain Thistle have been asked to post the following message on their official website at the request of Alness Athletic from the opposition club's manager Terry Stirling:
"I would like to apologize for my bad temperament and my attitude towards the referee. I understand that he has a hard enough job. My apologies to the children in attendance and to the great support Tain had at the game, if any offense was caused. Well done and all the best in the final."
In the other semi final, Inver travelled to Cromarty where they were able to win 3-2, setting up a derby final for the Invergordon hosted cup. The final is scheduled to be played on Saturday, May 22nd with a 3pm kick off Invergordon's Recreation Grounds.
Martin, Farquhar, Cowie, Rice, A Christie, Cameron, Burry, Goller, D Christie, Maclellan, Ross (Johnston)
Subs not used:
Durrand, C Nimmons, Sutherland, Rattanaphithak
Burry 43, Ross 89
Rice, D Christie, Maclellan
Man of the Match:
Despite a second half fightback, Tain Juniors' under 17 side fell by 3 goals to 2 to Aird Athletic tonight.
Tain took the lead through Ceiran Cunningham against a lively Aird side, but a quick fightback saw Aird go 2-1 before scoring third on the stroke of half time to go in 3-1 leaders at the break.
A second half penalty from Reece Stewart reduced the deficit but the elusive equaliser could not be found as Aird held on to win 3-2.
Tain Thistle are preparing to head into two back-to-back home meetings with Alness Athletic in the next five days. The latter meeting will on be on Wednesday evening on league business but first and foremost, the teams will meet in the Ross-shire Welfare League Cup semi final this Saturday afternoon.
For Tain, they seem to have found their bogey team in Alness Athletic, having lost three times in four of the meetings between the sides in 2009. They lost first of all in a friendly, losing 3-2 at Grant Park before leveling the playing field in a league game with a 2-1 win. Tain's further matches with Athletic (both in visits to Alness) ended in defeat, first with a 4-3 loss thanks to a last minute Jordan Greig strike and secondly, in a game which followed Thistle's clinching of the Ross-shire Welfare league championship; Alness making easy work of a tired Thistle in a 3-0 win to reach the Seaboard Cup final.
(Last season's Ross-shire Welfare League Cup winners, Alness Athletic)
Defending cup holders Alness will go into Saturday's game having beaten Dingwall's Ross-shire Club by an outstanding 8 goals to 2 at Jubilee Park in the first round. Striker Stuart Murray opened his account for Athletic with a hat-trick in that game and despite defeat on Wednesday evening (to Balintore), the forward was able to add to his tally with a brace making him the league's top goalscorer thus far. Flanked by prolific scorers of last season, Jamie Macdonald and James Cochrane, Alness are sure to be a threat going forward. Alness manager Terry Stirling is looking forward to a good display from both sides.
"If both teams play football and play the passing game we know both teams can play, fair but tough, then it should make for a good semi final"
Thistle however will be determined to get a result at the weekend having seen a chance to get off the mark on Wednesday vanish following the abandonment of their game against rivals Inver. Full back Ryan Cowie is expected to be back in action for Tain, having impressed against the Social Club in Tain's first round win while Michael Brand is likely to remain on the sidelines due to injury, possibly to be joined by top scorer and winger Darran Goller, who picked up a number of knocks in the club's unfulfilled midweek fixture.
While Inver and Tain Thistle's meeting at Portmahomack ended in postponement, three other fixtures opened the Ross-shire Welfare league season.
At Evanton, Alness fell by 5 goals to 2, as Balintore's Gus Macdonald netted twice to put his side to the top of the league.
Ross-shire Club of Dingwall join Balintore on three points after a 3-1 win over Cromarty, while in the only other game, Dingwall Vertex recorded their first point with a hard earned draw against Invergordon Social Club; Ryan Reid netting for the league newcomers in reply to a strike from Kenny Ross.
Alness Athletic 2-5 Balintore
Ross-shire Club 3-1 Cromarty
Invergordon Social Club 1-1 Dingwall Vertex
Inver vs Tain Thistle - abandoned
A head knock to Inver defender Jamie Shepherd brought an impromptu end to this evening's league meeting between Inver and Tain Thistle at Portmahomack, as the game was abandoned after 73 minutes of play.
Tain had started the game brightly and no sooner had they had their first attack when they scored through Darran Goller; the pacey winger finishing after his run down the right wing saw him one on one with Stephen Campbell.
Daniel Christie was unlucky not to extend the lead straight after as he powered a shot wide following a goalmouth sclaff - but it was Christie who started the move for Tain's second, playing Darran Goller into space for the winger to play a ball across the face of Campbell's goal for striker John Maclellan to net his first welfare goal for Thistle.
Before the half hour mark however, Inver's persistent counter play resulted in a goal for Ashley Mills, placing the ball under Steven Martin to pull one back for the home side.
The second half looked promising for Thistle as it started, with Maclellan looking to find the net again. The striker was unlucky on two occasions, first watching his effort drift wide before failing to round Campbell to score moments later.
The incident which followed led to the cessation of Shepherd's involvement and ultimately the postponement of the fixture. Following a tussle between Shepherd and Thistle's Robbie Ross, the oncoming goalkeeper Campbell collided with his defender (Shepherd) resulting in stoppage of play. The game was stopped for eight minutes as players and officials from both clubs helped the player from the field, awaiting an air ambulance. While the game resumed for a short time after, the air ambulance's arrival finally brought it to a halt.
Following consultation with the paramedics, it was clear that the game was not going to be resumed with suitable light and referee Keith Middleton brought an end to proceedings, calling the game off after speaking to both team managers.
News late tonight indicated that Jamie Shepherd has recovered well and has a concussion. Everyone at Tain Thistle wishes Jamie a speedy recovery.
Campbell, Davis, Smith (Swanson), Shepherd (G Mackay), Innes, D Wood, Mailley, Austin, Mills, S Wood, Mitchell
D Mackay, Ferguson
Martin, Farquhar, Rice, Sutherland, A Christie, D Christie, Cameron, Burry, Goller, Ross (Rattanaphithak), Maclellan
D Nimmons, Durrand, Johnston, C Nimmons
Goller (2), Maclellan (13)
Tain Thistle and Inver met in a pre-season friendly in April in a game that ended 5-4 to the Jags, thanks to a Daniel Christie hat trick and goals from Brian Cameron and youngster John Maclellan however the landscape will prove different for both sides as they head into their first league game of the season.
Regarding changes from their April meeting, Inver are expected to be boosted by the introduction of Invergordon natives Ashley Mills and goalkeeper Stephen Campbell, while Thistle are without the injured Michael Brand, Ryan Cowie and Liam Rostock having been strengthened mainly by the return of Robbie Ross.
Tain Juniors' unbeaten start to their SWL Ross-shire Youth League campaign came to a halt last night as they were beaten 2-1 by rivals Dingwall.
The Juniors were able to cancel out a Dingwall half time lead with a goal from Chris Gordon but were unable to prevent the home team from retaking their lead. Tain thought they had done enough to earn themselves a draw when Stuart Greenlees knocked the ball home but the referee on hand adjudged that the player was offside.
Next week, Tain travel to Kirkhill to play Aird Athletic in the second meeting between the teams this season, this time on league business.
Tain Thistle got themselves off to a winning start this afternoon with a first round victory over Invergordon Social Club to advance to the semi final of the Ross-shire Welfare League Cup, but not without hard work. Manager Arron Christie handed the reigns to father Ian in his absence and Christie the elder named a strong eleven; boosted also by the return of winger Liam Rostock.
The Tain men got off to the perfect start when last season's top goalscorer Robbie Ross beat goalkeeper Daniel Cormack to put the home side 1-0 up after only nine minutes, opening his and Thistle's account for the summer.
The pressure on the Social's goal continued throughout the first half with young striker John Maclellan coming close with a shot off the post before turning the rebound wide, leaving Thistle wondering if it was going to one of those days.
The second half continued as the first had ended, with Maclellan again coming close before the the crowd witnessed miss of the game, credited to Liam Rostock, who shot the ball over the bar from four yards after a clever through ball from Ross. Ross could have scored not long after following clever link up play between Rostock and Ayah Rattanaphithak but his shot was sent wide.
Under continued pressure, it looked as though things were only getting worse for Social as forward Ali Connell, who had received an earlier caution for dissent, was eventually dismissed for a wild tackle on Darran Goller outside the box leaving Social with ten men for the remainder of the game.
But it was the Invergordon men who found the net in the second period; Neil Stevens surprising Thistle keeper David Matheson with an angled looped shot into the top corner. The goal had been Social's first significant shot on target during the ninety minutes of play, and it also confirmed that extra time would be needed to separate the sides, much to the astonishment and frustration of the Tain support.
Matheson was forced to withdraw before extra time commenced due to vision problems and the change saw Thistle make their final substitution, with Ryan Johnston making his debut for the club while scorer Ross pulled on the goalkeeper's jersey. The loss of Ross's threat up front was countered when left back Colin Burry was pushed into midfield, while Rostock was moved from the wing to the front.
Despite resurgent Social attacks in the first spell of extra time (Social still buoyed by their goal), centre-backs Martyn Farquhar and Andrew Sutherland both showed steely determination to protect their goal as they had done during normal time.
Winger Darran Goller lit up the extra time period up front finally in the second half with a moment of brilliance; cutting into the box on the left hand side to drill a shot home with his right foot, much to the relief of the Tain touchline. The tricky Rattanaphithak picked up an assist for Goller's second goal soon after, as he crossed for the winger to thump the ball beyond Cormack to make it 3-1.
With the game all but finished, Rattanaphithak nicked a goal of his own, adding the finishing touch on a Goller effort launched from the left hand side.
The win advances Thistle to the semi of the League Cup, with another home tie looming. The opposition proved to be Alness Athletic, who handed Ross-shire Club an 8-2 drubbing at Dingwall. In other action, Dingwall's other team in Vertex were drubbed 5-0 at home by Cromarty, while Graham Davis, Stuart Wood and Greig Mitchell scored the goals necessary for Inver to beat Balintore 3-1 after extra time in Portmahomack.
Matheson (Johnston), Cowie, Burry, Farquhar, Sutherland, Cameron (Durrand), D Christie, Goller, Rostock, Ross, Maclellan (Rattanaphithak)
Sub not used:
Ross 9, Goller 109, 113, Rattanaphithak 116
Man of the Match:
The semi finals of the League Cup will be played this Saturday, May 8th with a 3pm kick off.
Tain Thistle vs Alness Athletic
Cromarty vs Inver