With several first team players absent and the manager himself missing due to suspension, a much changed Tain Thistle side from the one that won the League Cup took to the field of Jubilee Park to play Dingwall Vertex last night. Goalkeeper Steven Wemyss returned to action for his second consecutive league appearance, while Daniel Christie also returned to the starting XI filling the void in midfield left by the holidaying Michael Brand. Also returning to action was Kyle Oliver at centre half, slotting in to replace the injured Andrew Sutherland who continues to recover from a back complaint.
The much improved Vertex side who had drawn 0-0 with Thistle in pre-season appeared to have turned up in the early stages, competing well in an end-to-end period of action, but as expected it was the Jags who had the better of the attacking play, forcing a series of corner kicks.
It was a corner which eventually resulted in the first goal as John Maclellan opened his account for the season, tucking a cross home from close range to make it 1-0.
The Dingwall side's spirit appeared to peter out only moments later as Vertex keeper Macrae failed to hold an aerial shot, dropping the ball behind his head for Martyn Farquhar to casually canter the ball into the net for his fifth goal in five games.
Referee Mark Dalton awarded Thistle a penalty soon after, but taker Darran Goller shot at the keeper's right and the kick was saved.
Ryan Johnston played well at left-back, again a goal threat. The young full back had scored the goal of the season in this fixture last year, but could only fire wide from distance this time around just before half time.
The second half started with an abundance of slips and falls amidst heavy wind and rain, but the weather conditions could not prevent Daniel Christie from exhibiting a touch of class on 56 minutes, as he looped a free kick from five yards wide of the eighteen yard box into the far corner of the net to make it 3-0.
Top scorer Darran Goller was unlucky not to score in the second half with a number of angled shots, and was even more unlucky not to win a penalty as the Vertex stopper appeared to obliterate the pacey forward during a one-on-one; referee Dalton waving play-on after having sent Thistle keeper Robbie Ross off for less the previous Saturday.
Late on, it seemed as though the score would finish 3-1, as Ally Smith struck from a tight angle past Wemyss to apparently rattle a shot into the net off the far stachion, but again referee Dalton waved play-on. Full time followed shortly after, the 3-0 scoreline handing Thistle their first league win, and their first clean sheet of the season. The Jags will be pleased with the win, despite never really moving out of second gear.
Wemyss, Cameron (D Nimmons), Johnston (Stainke), Oliver, A Christie, Farquhar, D Christie, Burry (C Nimmons), Durrand, Goller, Maclellan
Subs not used:
Maclellan 30, Farquhar 33, D Christie 56
Man of the Match:
Elsewhere in the league, the results again provided a few surprises, Ross-shire Club handing Balintore a 4-0 drubbing away from home. At Portmahomack, Inver threw away a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 to the Social Club, while Alness Athletic made easy work of Cromarty, winning 3-1 at home.
Next week's league fixtures:
Ross-shire vs Alness Athletic
Tain Thistle vs Balintore
Cromarty vs Invergordon Social Club
Inver vs Dingwall Vertex
All 7.30pm kick offs.
In other news, Michael Brand has reported that he and Michael Stein are having a good time in Magaluf, despite Steino throwing up at the airport entrance then fainting on the plane.