He collected the accolade this month from IOG Chief Executive Geoff Webb and David Carson of Award sponsor Rigby Taylor, in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the IOG Scotsturf exhibition in Edinburgh.
Tommy, who has been at the club for 38 years, also collected the trophy for winning the 1st Division category in the IOG Awards.
The coveted award is judged on criteria that includes available resources, scope of operations, presentation and housekeeping standards as well as technical knowledge – based on a shortlist drawn up by the IOG Scotland Region from a league table of pitches formulated using weekly reports from referees.
Working alone on the soil-based pitch at the Highlands ground, Tommy says that drainage is the main problem he faces annually – “though a consistent programme of aeration and sand-slitting does go a long way to helping maintain the surface to expectations”, to accommodate the 45-50 games each season.
“Our undersoil heating is, at best, only seven inches beneath the surface,” he adds, “so aeration (using different sizes of tines to suit needs) is a ‘careful’ process, to say the least.”
The Groundsman of the Year Award is competed for by the winners from the Scottish Premier League as well as Divisions 1, 2 and 3. In the Premier League, the winner was Celtic FC’s John Hayes (who has won the Award three times in recent seasons) and the finalists were David Roxburgh of Rangers FC, Tommy Docherty of St Mirren and Paul Fisk of Aberdeen FC.
Runner up for the 1st Division title was Mark Farrell of Greenock Morton. The 2nd Division Award was won for the second successive year by David Montador from East Fife FC, with Neil Wood of Brechin FC as runner up. The 3rd Division trophy was collected by Stevie Bache of Queens Park while last year’s division winner, Martin Gray of Forfar FC, was runner up.
Sponsor Rigby Taylor also presented each division winner with a monetary award.
The IOG Scottish Region also presented Airdrie’s John McGuire with a memento in recognition of his 35 years’ service to the club.
All category winners from the IOG Scottish Football Groundsman of the Year will now go forward as nominees for this year’s Alex R Millar Award – the Professional Football Grounds Management Team of the Year - which will be announced this month in Cardiff as part of the prestigious IOG Industry Awards.