Following an evening buffet provided by the Saint Duthus Hotel, the players and committee of Tain Thistle were joined by several guests for the presentation of their annual end of season awards last night.
Proceedings were carefully handled by guest speaker for the night, the President of the Highland Football League, Dennis Bridgeford, who gave thanks to the club's sponsors, The Railway Hotel, The St Duthus Hotel, Isleburn Ltd, Ferries Kitchens and Tain Golf Club before entertaining the crowd with a series of clever quips and anecdotes.
Andrew Durrand collected the Most Improved Player award on behalf of the absent Martyn Farquhar, and collecting the Top Goalscorer Shield for his haul of 27 goals this season was Mark Lamont. Daniel Christie won the Goal of the Season trophy for his stunning strike in the Seaboard Cup Final against Balintore.
Niall Harkiss took to the podium to present the Committee Player of the Year award to Craig Munro, before Robert Ross ably presented the Young Player of the Year trophy to Cameron Mackintosh. Shortly after, James Rice gave a rousing speech before awarding the Player's Player of the Year shield - created in memory of Graham Macrae - jointly to Dave Macgruer and Mark Lamont.
Dale Finlayson rounded things off by presenting Robert Ross with the Manager's Quaich, in recognition of his league winning achievement this season.
Everyone at the club wishes to thank Kirsty and Alan at the St Duthus for their hospitality for what proved to be a very enjoyable and memorable evening.
Past team-mates, friends and supporters of the club turned out for the testimonial year of Daniel Christie, Martyn Farquhar and Liam Rostock yesterday as the Ross-shire Welfare league champions played a match against a XI side managed by James Rice.
The scores finished level at 2-2 at half time, but ultimately fitness told as the current side ran out 6-3 winners. A minutes silence was excellent observed before kick off in remembrance of former player and committee member Graham Macrae, who passed away last week.
Both Liam Rostock and Daniel Christie were presented with Testimonial Quaichs later in that evening, and collecting for the absent Martyn Farquhar was Andy Durrand.
John Allan, Ian Ross, Neil MacDonald, Craig Munro, Arron Christie, Daniel Cormack, Robert Ross, Darran Goller, Daniel Christie, Mark Lamont, Liam Rostock, Andy Durrand, Cammy Mackintosh, Dean Ross
Scorers: Darran Goller 3, Neil MacDonald 2, Liam Rostock
Alan Forsyth, Jamie Walker, Andy Murray, Andrew Sutherland, Gary Austin, Keith Dingwall, Graeme Davis, James Rice, Shaun Mckenzie, Brian MacAngus, Ross Grant, John Maclellan, Ali Mackintosh, Colin Burry, Darren Gilmour
Scorers: Ross Grant, Ali Mackintosh, Colin Burry
Guest referee: Billy Murray
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Graham "Peeps" Macrae. A former goalkeeper, committee member and above all - the club's greatest ever supporter - Graham will be missed by all at Tain Thistle Football Club. Our thoughts are now with his mother Marie, his family and close friends.
Graham's funeral service will take place this Friday from 1pm at Tain Parish Church, before meeting at the St Duthus Hotel afterwards.
As the 2015 season drew to a close, Tain Thistle collected the Ross-shire Welfare FA league championship shield at the Railway Hotel on Saturday night, after playing the Charity Shield final match at the Links against league runners-up Contin.
In the absense of club captain Daniel Christie, Martyn Farquhar collected the shield from league secretary Jimmy Patullo. Rhys Shewan of Fortrose finished top goalscorer, while also collecting the RSWFA Player of the Year shield. Eastern Rose were awarded the Fair Play award.
Contin, much improved from their 2014 debut season in which they finished bottom of the table, secured a hard fought 3-1 win against the champions, running out comfortable winners against the Thistle 'XI' who took to the field on Saturday. With the vast majority of the championship side missing due to other commitments, manager Robert Ross drafted some extra players into the starting XI. Keith Dingwall re-emerged from retirement for one last appearance, while Hilton AFC's Brian Cameron and Alness United's Jack Hudson, the latter up for the RSWFA Player of the Year award, also started for the Jags, alongside the manager himself, who played the full ninety minutes in midfield.
Tain were unlucky not to take the lead early on when Jack Hudson's powerful header was pushed over the bar. Contin eventually opened the scoring through Alex Beaton after 23 minutes, drilling the ball into the net from eighteen yards after a neat cut back. Great work from John Allan in goal prevented further goals for Contin as the first half drew to a close and just before the break, Thistle were handed a lifeline when excellent work from first half sub John Maclellan resulted in a Tony Farquhar flick on and a neat finish from Jags top scorer Mark Lamont.
The second half belonged to the champions for the most part, but for all their trying and attacking play, they couldn't take the lead and against the run of play, an Ally Rose cross caught the Thistle defence napping as Cammy Houston headed toward the empty net and Brian Cameron, lunging to clear the ball, carried the ball over his line. From there, Thistle collapsed and Contin should have scored more, were it not for the heroics of Allan, who cleaned up many a mess at the back and produced some great saves. Thistle used all four substitutes available to them in the match, including goalkeeper Daniel Cormack who took up an outfield role. In the dying minutes, Shaun Carson wrapped up the victory when he was waved onside despite protests and he easily sent the ball past Allan from an angle.
Allan, Cormack, M Farquhar, Munro, Dingwall, MacDonald, T Farquhar, Rostock, Goller, Maclellan, Hudson, R Ross, Scott, Cameron, Lamont
Tain Thistle rounded their season off this past Saturday with a satisfying 3-0 victory over Dingwall at Inver to secure the Cordiner Cup for the second time in the club's history.
Missing several key players, manager Robert Ross drafted Tony Farquhar into the starting lineup for what was to be the tall striker's third start of the season. Darran Goller, who has been suffering with ankle problems, was also called onto the four man bench, for his first involvement in over two months.
In the opening stages, Dingwall looked the more positive of the two sides, as Andy O'Connor's men looked for the long ball to Liam Muir as their main threat; Arron Christie and Neil MacDonald both thwarting several attempts in the early going.
The condition of the pitch at Inver had been the subject of much consternation in the run up to the game with ankle knocks a concern for both teams, but it was to be a hamstring concern that would claim the first casualty, as Dave Macgruer was forced to withdraw after 14 minutes. Replacing the wing back, Darran Goller was then given an unexpectedly early introduction to the game. It took Goller just seven minutes to make an impact. Bursting past the Dingwall defence he powered the ball into the net from a drilled Liam Rostock cross to put Thistle 1-0 - albeit somewhat against the run of play. The goal was Goller's first of the season and his 50th overall for Thistle.
Moments later, Cammy Mackintosh should have Thistle 2-0 up as he fired a shot over the bar from 15 yards. From then, the game soon turned in Tain's favour. Forward man for Dingwall Ryan Reid then dropped to the ground after a six yard box tussle, nursing an ankle injury.
It wasn't until the second half that the Jags were able to assert their full authority. Mackintosh was unlucky not to double Tain's lead after Goller got in on the action again, this time as provider to slip a ball into the midfielder's path, but he could only shoot into the outstretched arms of the Iain Mackenzie. A Craig Munro corner shortly after set up Tony Farquhar for a dangerous looking header at the back post, but again Mackenzie was up to the task.
Tain's grasp on the game could have slipped just before the hour mark when Liam Muir managed to rise above Johnny Allan to head goalward, but the towering forward's effort sailed just over. As quickly as they had nearly lost their lead, Thistle almost doubled theirs with a great passage of play started and ended by Neil MacDonald. Working quick one twos with Munro and Mackintosh, MacDonald travelled from defence to attack before forcing a tremendous save from Mackenzie. If the ball had found the net from that move, it would have been hard for anyone to argue against it as a candidate for goal of the season!
Tain's second finally arrived just a minute later, and in somewhat fortuitous circumstances. Sending a ball into the box, Liam Rostock send the ball up the sloping eighteen yard box and watched as his cross flew underneath Mackenzie and into the net at the far post, slipping through the loose fitting goal net. There was a moment's pause as the touchline waited for confirmation that the ball had actually crossed the line, but the referee awarded the goal.
The second goal appeared to knock the wind out of Dingwall and within nine minutes, Tain went three up, as Daniel Christie battled forward before rounding Mackenzie and tapping the ball into the net to make it 3-0. On eighty minutes, the ball was in the net again after when Dingwall's Ryan Stewart diverted a cross into his own net, but with Tony Farquhar deemed to have been in an offside position and interfering with play, linesman Bill Murray flagged the goal to be disallowed.
A confident Thistle saw the remaining ten minutes out with ease and were unlucky not to add to their tally on a couple of occasions, with Tony Farquhar in particular seeing an effort saved. Referee Keith Middleton wasted no time in blowing the whistle after the ninety minutes, with no further added time, as the whistler blew for the last time, for what was to be his final match as an official.
Allan, M Farquhar, A Christie, MacDonald, Munro, Mackintosh, D Christie (Smith 77), Dunnett, Macgruer (Goller 14 (Maclellan 75)), T Farquhar, Rostock
Subs not used:
Goller 22, Rostock 62, D Christie 71
Post-match, Thistle were presented with the Cordiner Cup trophy by Tanya Taylor of the Inver Inn, before retiring to the post-match venue where both teams were treated to excellent hospitality, an array of sumptuous mince pies, servings of pea and ham soup and plates of cheese and onion rolls. Prior to the medal presentations, Keith Middleton was presented with a decanter and a bottle of malt whisky by Bill Murray, and in recognition of his length of service, both teams applauded as the long serving official gave a well received speech.
Saturday's win marks the first time in the club's history that they have won two cup competitions in one season, completing their first ever Ross-shire Welfare "treble" - having also won both the league championship this year and the Seaboard Cup in July.