Tain Thistle may have lifted themselves off the bottom of the table, but for the second weekend in a row the club's North Caledonian adventure ended in defeat.
Robbie Ross named three trialists in a starting lineup which was changed drastically from the previous week's home game against Bunillidh. In came Arron Christie, Martin Mackay and James Rice.
Thistle handled themselves very well in the first half, missing several opportunities to take the lead, most notably through debut man Arron Christie who, after a referee miscommunication, was clean through on the Invergordon goal. For the majority of the first half, defensive pair James Rice and in particular Dave MacGruer dealt with everything the home side could dish out.
But it was the Recreation Park men who took the lead, just before the break. Thistle failed to deal with a corner, allowing Gavin Legge to put Invergordon
ahead. Tain heads down and the Jags' defence bedraggled, Alan Stone doubled the home side's lead within minutes, thumping home a rebounded effort following a poor clearance.
The comfortable 2-0 lead for Invergordon made the second half a drab and ill- tempered affair, with frustration for the visitors gaining them three needless bookings. To add to the club's woes, James Rice left the field of play with an eye injury on the hour mark.
Despite some clever wing play from Darran Goller and Daniel Christie, the chances never came and it was Allan Campbell, having scored a double earlier in the season for the Sutor Inn against Thistle, who netted in the 85th minute to increase the deficit to three.
It has been reported that Grant Park, the council-owned mutual home of Tain Juniors and Tain Thistle FC has been severely vandalized over the weekend.
The discovery was made this morning, following the club's opening North Caledonian league fixture at the weekend.
Issuing a statement on behalf of the club, Niall Harkiss had this to say:
"We are absolutely disgusted by this blatant example of deliberate and mindless vandalism. The police have been notified and will be dealing with the issue. My thanks go to the Highland Council and Ian MacLeod of Tain Golf Club who have responded quickly, and will hopefully make the pitch playable for our next home game on the 6th."
A glorious day out for North Caledonian debutants Tain Thistle ended in a 4-1 defeat at home to Bunillidh Thistle at Grant Park yesterday.
Newly appointed captain Paul Cowie led the side out for the club's Winter season and first ever North Caledonian league game, but despite a confident start, the visitors eased their way into the box for an eighth minute opener. Before Tain could adjust the first goal, Bunillidh had doubled their lead, with Calum Mackay knocking home his side's second after 13 minutes.
As has been the case throughout the pre- season, Tain took a good 15-20 to find their feet before they gained control of the game. Despite being 2-0 down, the team fought on, pulling back a goal just after half an
hour, courtesy of a well placed Colin Burry free kick.
Thistle went in 2-1 down at half time and in the second half dictated most of the play as they searched for an equalizer. But a looping free kick, very much against the run of play, gave Bunillidh a third goal, which all but killed Thistle's hopes and confidence.
Adding weight to their winning margin, Bunillidh rounded the afternoon off with a fourth, against a tired and disoriented defence, minutes from time.
The much anticipated Players vs Committee XI game due to take place on Wednesday 20th August has been placed on hold due to much needed training time for the players ahead of their crunch debut match against Bunillidh Thistle.
The match will take place at a later date in the year.
David Wood was named the first ever Tain Thistle FIFA Gaming Champion on Saturday night, following an eight man elimination tournament, sponsored by the Games Room in Cadboll Place, Tain.
Chairman Niall Harkiss lost to Wood in the semi final, after defeating club stopper Barry Nimmons 3-1 on aggregate in the quarter-final.
Wood, 19, won a meal for two at Anisha Indian Cuisine. The tournament is scheduled to be held again later in the year.
Tain Thistle took care of the visiting Blacksmiths FC, from the Inverness & District Amateur league, with ease in a 3-1 win at Grant Park today, without moving out of second gear.
In goal once again was Barry Nimmons, with a back four of Dave MacGruer, Scott Innes, Martyn Farquhar and Stuart Ross.
The midfield was comprised of Michael Brand, Vinnie Wood, Arron Christie and Colin Burry with forwards Daniel Christie and Greig Mitchell on hand up front. In a last minute switch, Thistle winger Darran Goller was drafted to the Blacksmiths side to play a full 90 minutes.
Blacksmiths stunned the North Caledonian side with an early goal through their pacey forward Charlie Fawnban, but it wasn't long before the Tain side pulled a goal back. A goalmouth scramble saw Greig Mitchell notch his second goal of the pre-season, leveling the scores at 1-1.
Thistle went in at half time 2-1 ahead, thanks to a confident long range effort from midfield workhorse Michael Brand. The candidate for player of the year took advantage of a clever layoff from new signing, centre half Scottie Innes.
In the lead, the Grant Park men struggled to make their domination count further, as several chances went begging. But in the latter stages of the game Arron Christie had a clear opportunity to add to his pre-season tally, but the ball made its way across the face of goal for substitute Dickie Durrand to make it 3-1.
Tain Thistle coasted to a 4-1 win at home to Brora Rangers U19s tonight, thanks to a professional performance for 90 minutes, putting the club's depth to test.
Thistle were missing no fewer than five of the side that started in Evanton on Saturday, with only Scott Innes, Dave MacGruer, Arron Christie, Brian Cameron, Dickie Durrand and Craig Swanson remaining. Re- introduced to the team were keeper Barry Nimmons, full back Stuart Ross, Michael Brand, Kenny Ross and Vinnie Wood.
Despite being caught on the hop by Brora's youngsters in the opening stages of the match (leading to a 1-0 goal deficit), Thistle controlled most of the game, with a solid defensive display. The Tain side equalized on the twenty minute mark with a well worked move. Arron Christie looped a left footed ball across the Brora box for an oncoming Stuart Ross to hammer the ball home.
Thistle took the lead soon after when a mistake in the Brora defense allowed Christie to score the home side's second. With almost half an hour gone, Tain found the net for a third, with in-form Dickie Durrand scoring, with a postage stamp placed shot from the edge of the box.
Thistle went into cruise control for the remainder of the match, with occasional chances to extend the lead going astray.
Late in the second half, the greatest of chances came when referee Eric Robertson awarded Tain a penalty. Thistle full back Stuart Ross took up the position of penalty taker but on this occasion placed the ball a yard over the bar.
Substitutes Darran Goller and Scott Morrison were given some time on the park toward the end, and it was the latter who rounded off the evening's scoring to make it 4-1.
Capitalizing on a loose ball following a Dave MacGruer effort, Morrison pounced on a rebound to open his scoring account for Tain Thistle.
The much anticipated Players vs Committee XI game will take place on Wednesday 20th August, 7.30pm, Grant Park.
The Committee XI will be made up of our dedicated committee, featuring such stars as Norman MacAngus, Brian Patullo, Niall Harkiss, Alan Forsyth, Ian Christie as well as aspiring hopefuls Robbie Ross, James Rice and Arron Christie.
Referee for the night will be Mike Stankie.
The first Tain Thistle FIFA’08 / Pro Evo competition night will run on the evening of August 16th, after the club's friendly against Blacksmiths FC. The event will be held at 7pm in The Games Room, Cadboll Place, Tain.
The competition is open to Thistle players, committee and supporters as an "open invitation" but please use the CONTACT button in the top right of the screen to book your place.
Competition entry is £5 a head, with prizes to be won.
The club today welcomed a host of new players to the club for their upcoming North Caledonian campaign, including:
The players offer a wealth of past experience and playing history, with previous clubs ranging from Ross County, to Forres Mechanics to Culloden Academy to the dizzy heights of Inver and Balintore.
The Welfare season ended in bitter fettle as Black Rock Rovers took yet another controversial victory in the Charity Shield.
As the match was an exhibition, Thistle opted to field their North Caledonian squad for the tie, introducing new players Scott Innes, David MacGruer and Rob McCormack for the first time.
Midweek goal scorer Greig Mitchell started up front alongside Ewen Thain again as the Jags dominated the first half. Taking an early lead through MacGruer, Thistle controlled the game and before long they were two ahead, thanks to a well taken Dickie Durrand drive.
Black Rock managed to pull a goal back, but a bullet header from Colin Burry put Thistle 3-1 ahead on the hour mark.
Rolling substitutions and rampant changes to the Black Rock side brought them back into the game, and before long they had pulled level. A late goal amidst tired defending and an injury to Thistle keeper Ross Henderson put Black Rock ahead and two minutes from time the Culcairn Park side notched a fifth.
Pre-season casualty Stevie George is expected to miss Thistle’s pre-season friendlies with Brora Rangers and Blacksmiths FC due to a bruised foot.
The defender was absent for Thistle’s bounce game with Inverness City. George, 23, played 15 games during the summer Welfare season, scoring 2 goals in the process.