Captain’s Log with Jim McAlister

I would like to start by wishing everyone a happy New Year. I hope you and your families enjoyed a very merry Christmas and here’s to a happy and prosperous 2019.

We finished 2018 by collecting an excellent three points with a 2-1 win against Partick Thistle at Firhill last Saturday.

The gaffer had given the squad both Christmas Day and Boxing Day off, which was excellent for boys who are far-travelled.

Personally, it was great to get home to family in Rothesay and spend time with them over the festive season, which hasn’t happened for about 10 years because of Boxing Day fixtures or playing in England.

It was a real show of trust from the gaffer and we were delighted to pay back his and Housty’s faith with the three points.

Although the team didn’t quite reach the standards we had in previous weeks in terms of performance, we successfully executed the game plan we had worked on through the week.

That was to encourage Partick onto us as we felt they would leave spaces when we turned over possession, and this was perfectly illustrated by the winning goal.

Following a great run and pass from Reghan Tumilty, wee Charlie Telfer found the back of the net with a composed finish.

It was a huge victory when you take the league table into consideration. As well as putting us back in touch with the play-off places, it also extended our advantage over Partick and teams below us.

Prior to last Saturday’s game, I felt that we were unfortunate not to have collected more points from our recent fixtures.

For me, we merited more for our efforts from the home games against Dundee United and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The Inverness game, in particular, was highly frustrating given the way we started on the front foot and took the game to them only to be hit with a sucker punch.

We conceded a cheap goal and then went down to 10 men following Kerr Waddell’s red card for a pull inside the box.

With defensive options threadbare due to injuries, I was asked to fill in at centre back – the only outfield position I hadn’t played in a competitive game. It was a challenge I enjoyed.

They say the older you get, the further back on the pitch you find yourself playing. When I signed in late 2002 I was a striker and couldn’t have envisioned being anything but a forward.

But here we are, entering 2019, and I’ve just turned out as a central defender. I just need a run-out between the sticks now to complete a clean sweep.

Inverness then missed the penalty awarded for Kerr’s foul. We regrouped after getting that break, and even responded superbly well to losing a second goal early in the second half.

Tiff came off the bench and gave us a spark, scoring a brilliant solo goal, and we came within inches of a draw, which I felt was the least we deserved, when young Reece hit the post with a header.

Tonight we host another strong Highland club in Ross County. They are currently top of the table and sit there on merit after a fantastic first half of the season.

I can’t think of a better way to begin the year than a game against the league leaders under the floodlights and live on television. Hopefully we can start 2019 with three points.

C’mon the Ton!



Image: Gary Bradley