In the Papers Today

Greenock Telegraph (Chris Fitzgerald)
Bobby Linn says he is determined to force his way into the first team next season.
Peter Weatherson brushes off rumours linking him with a summer switch to Hibs.
Also, Jim McInally has said that Morton will play some of his fringe players down at Ayr in the final game of the season. Brian Graham and Bobby Linn will start up front. Craig Black and Scott McKellar will 'feature at some point' according to Mcinally. Jim also says that the number of fringe players will be limited as some are still out on loan to junior sides.
As well as looking forward to seeing Linn and Black, who I both rate highly, I'll personally be looking forward to seeing Brian Graham start up front. After speaking to his Dad at a recent reserve game at which he told me he has scored 14 (now 16) reserve goals in 16 (now 18) games I was hoping he would get a chance to see if he could do it at first team level. I seem to remember he came in on as a sub the last game of 2005/06 awat to Forfar and played well.
It will also be interesting to see how Scott McKellar gets on. I've heard good things about him but I've never been very impressed with him in the reserves.

Weatherson Misses Out on Player of the Year Award

Brechin City's Iain Russell (left) beat Morton pair Paul McGowan and Peter Weatherson to be crowned SPFA 2nd Division Player of the Year on Sunday night.

I watched the awards on Setanta fully expecting Peter Weatherson to get the award and was astonished when Alex Smith read out Russell's name. To be fair I think Russell was even surprised and admitted as much in his acceptance speech.

Peter must be gutted as in most people's opinions (and probably his own) he definitely deserved the award. At the end of the day it's hard to argue too much when the award is voted for by his fellow professionals and Russell has scored 22 goals in approximately 25 starts so far - but I'd still say Weatherson deserved it.

Another blow for Morton came when it turned out manager Jim McInally wasn't actually nominated for the manager of the year award. A story on the BBC Sport website last week claimed that he was nominated.

The one bright spot for Morton was that 5 of our players made the 2nd Division team of the year : Paul Mathers, Peter Weatherson, Stewart Greacen, Jamie Stevenson and Paul McGowan.

Morton 1 - 1 Stranraer

On Saturday Morton drew 1-1 with a Stranraer side clinging to the small hope that they could avoid the 2nd / 3rd Division play-offs.

It was a poor game in which it was obvious that the Morton player's minds were on lifting the trophy and looking forward to next season. It was always going to be a tough task to get them motivated and for them to keep their eye on the ball.

The Champions opened the scoring when top scorer Peter Weatherson fired in his 18th goal of the season at the back post. Stranraer equalised in the 35th minute through veteran Paul McGrillen who was later dismissed. McGrillen and Wilson both received their marching orders at the very end of the match.

For me the celebrations were quite subdued. The weather didn't help and neither did the fact that the players walked around the whole pitch before coming to the cowshed to celebrate (rumoured that this was on the stewards say s0). However the biggest spoiler was the dreadful Your Radio DJ who played music when we wanted to sing and tried to force the fans to chant and do Mexican waves when they didn't want to. It was more of a relief that we are out of the 2nd division rather than a celebration of a great achievement. Roll on 2007/08 in the 1st Division.

1. Mathers - 6
2. Weatherson - 6
3. MacGregor - 6
4. Harding - 6
5. Greacen - 6
6. McLaughlin - 6
7. Finlayson - 6 (12. Millar - 4)
8. Stevenson - 7
9. Templeman - 6 (15. Linn - 4)
10. McGowan - 6
11. McAlister - 8

14. A. Walker
16. D. Keenan
20. D. McGurn

My mom - Jim McAlister

Att : 5255 (Highest Home League attendance of the season)


Where Are They Now ?

From time to time I'll post about the whereabouts of ex-Morton players if they pop up in the media or at a match.

Stephen Whalen was, for a time, a highly rated Morton youngster. Irvine born Whalen was a striker who first appeared in the Morton team as a sub against Raith Rovers at Cappielow in season 1998-99. He was a decent finisher but was as slow as a week in the jail.
Whalen became a regular starter at a very young age - mainly due to the mismanagement of the club at that time. He scored around 10 goals in his Morton career and subsequently moved onto Livingston and then had loan spells at Alloa and Ayr United. Followed by a permanent switch to Ayr.

None of these spells worked out and asa result Whalen ended up in Ayrshire Junior football where he is currently playing for Irvine Meadow. Meadow sit top of the Super First Division and look to be heading for succesive title wins after a recent 3-0 over Troon - a match in which Whalen scored.
Bryan Slavin is another ex-Ton Player playing in the Ayrshire junior ranks. Slavin's best period at Morton was under Billy Stark. Stark gave him a couple of extended runs in the first team at right back. A decent whole hearted player but someone probably not good enough for senior football. Stark showed his lack of faith when he dropped him for a Scottish Cup quarter-final v Celtic at Cappielow. Stark dropped Slavin - who was a regular in the team at that point - to play midfielder Stevie Aitken in the unfamiliar right-back role.
Slavin currently plays for Auchinleck Talbot and, like Whalen, scored in a recent vicory over Beith.

Queen of the South Reserves 0 - 3 Morton Reserves

According to Queen of the South's official website (http://www.qosfc.com/) Morton reserves beat Queens reserves 3-0 at Palmerston last night.

There are no details of the goalscorers or line-ups.


Jim McInally Nominated For SPFA Award

Morton manager Jim McInally has been nominated for this season's inaugural SPFA Manager of the Year Award.

McInally has already won three Second Division Manger of the Month awards this season (August, September and December).

Gordon Strachan (Celtic), Owen Coyle (St. Johnstone) and ex-Morton manager Billy Stark (Queen's Park) are his fellow nominees.

He joins Morton players Peter Weatherson and Paul McGowan who are also in the running for SPFA awards for 2nd Division player of the year.

Personally I feel that Billy Stark deserves the award for almost certainly guiding amateurs Queen's Park to the 3rd division play-offs. However Jim is well worth his nomination and I'd be delighted to see him win.



Morton Reserves 0 - 0 Queen's Park Reserves

Morton and Queen's Park fought out a dull no score draw in a Reserve League West fixture at Cappielow last night.

Brian Graham threatened a couple of times for Morton but lacked composure when it came to his finishing. Dean Keenan had a long range drive that had to be tipped over the bar.

Queen's Park's best effort came when they hit the post at the Sinclair Street end in the second half. McGurn also had to look lively to pull off a couple of important saves.

Morton's young left back Gary Philip was impressive. He was very comfortable on the ball and attempted to link up on the left by keeping the ball on the ground rather than clipping it up the line all the time.

I got talking to Brian Graham's Dad at the game. He said that Brian has 14 goals in 16 games for the reserves this season and that he (Brian) is getting a little frustrated at his lack of chances. He's hoping to get on the pitch for some (or all) of the Ayr United match on the last day of the season. He also said that Graham's contract runs out at the end of this season. From what I've seen he seems like a decent prospect.


1. McGurn - 7
2. Philip - 7
3. Black - 6
4. Walker - 7
5. Gilbride - 7
6. Keenan - 6
7. Fulton - 6
8. McKellar - 7
9. Graham - 7
10. Linn - 6 (14. McLean - 5)
11. Russell - 5

12. Laughran
15. Barbour
GK. Baxter

Reserve League West Table (before tonights fixture) :

Reserve league West Fixtures :


Raith Rovers 2 - 0 Morton

On Saturday 14th of April 2007 Morton were crowned 2nd division champions for season 2006/07.

Around 2400 Morton fans crammed into Starks Park's North Stand on Saturday in expectation of a title party and that's just what we got. The final whistle started joyous celebrations with the players at the end of the match and again when they returned from the dressing room, led by the enthusiastic Jim McAlister.

Ayr United's 3-2 win over Stirling Albion meant that Morton have finally returned to the 1st division and for this reason there was an overwhelming sense of relief all around. We can finally look forward in to a new season of bigger crowds, better stadiums and a higher standard of play.

The match was a very poor one from Morton's perspective with only two real attempts on goal - Chris Templeman's 'pass back' and a late drive from Bobby Linn. Rovers took the lead in the 70th minute when Todd Lumsden drove home a loose ball. They doubled their lead when Hearts loanee Denis McLaughlin's deflected effort squirmed past Paul Mathers six minutes later.

The Morton players looked very nervous, this combined with the efforts of a good Raith Rovers side - inspired by my man of the match Marvin Andrews - meant that Rovers ran out comfortable and worthy winners.

I felt that the defeat took a little of the shine off of the celebrations at first but once the players came backout of the tunnel the fans and players (and Douglas Rae) both started to really enjoy the moment.

Well done Morton !


1. Mathers - 7
2. Weatherson - 6
3. MacGregor - 7
4. Harding - 7
5. Greacen - 7
6. McLaughlin - 6
7. Finlayson - 6 (12. Millar - 4)
8. Stevenson - 6
9. Templeman - 5 (15. Linn - 4)
10. McGowan - 5 (16. Russell - 3)
11. McAlister - 7

14. A. Walker
20. D. McGurn

Att : 4327


Raith Rovers v Morton - Match Preview

Raith Rovers will be going all out to prevent Morton from celebrating at Starks Park today. They currently sit 3rd in the table and have a decent team who still have a chance of promotion via the dreaded play-offs (personally i think Rovers will win the play-offs). Jim Mcinally has made it clear that his players will not underestimate the team that stands between them and the championship.

If Morton match Stirling Albion's result (win, draw or loss) tomorrow we will be crowned 2nd Division Champions for season 2006/07. This will mean a return to the 1st Division where most Morton fans feel we belong and where I always remember Morton playing when I was younger.

The Hugh Scott era and the recent catastrophes (2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06) have meant that we have not played in the 1st division since season 2000/01. That is far too long of an absence for a club of Morton's size.

Tomorrow is a huge day in the recent history of this club. If (when) we get up I think that only then can the ghost of Hugh Scott be laid to rest. The emotions of the Morton support wont just be of joy and celebration but also an overwhelming feeling of relief. I'd expect a few tears from a support that has suffered for far too long.

Team News - Morton have a full team to choose from today. It's almost certain that McInally will go with the same XI that destroyed Forfar Athletic last week.Derek Carcary is out for Raith while Paul McManus is doubtful. A Raith team without McManus would be a huge advantage for Morton.

My prediction : Raith Rovers 0 Morton 2


SPL 2 Edging Closer ?

According to today's Sun 30 SFL clubs will meet at Hampden next Thursday to decide whether or not to form SPL 2. The snippet by Paul Hughes also suggests that clubs like Livingston will quit the SFL if they 'don't get their own way'.

The principal clubs behind SPL 2 received a boost when Clydesdale bank hinted that they would consider sponsoring SPL 2 if it were to be formed. Clydesdale have already agreed a sponshorship deal with the SPL for next season.

In the Morton v Cowdenbeath matchday programme (31.03.07) Morton chairman Douglas Rae said : "I personally believe that if by First Division Clubs joining the SPL, more money would be brought in to Scottish Football, then we should all vote for it."

If Clydesdale bank agree to sponsor the SPL 2 and a TV deal can be found (probably with the ever expanding Setanta Sports) I can't see how Morton could not get involved. The SFL needs a major shake up and in spite of the flaws in SPL 2 (Pearse Flynn's money grabbing) I would like to see Morton involved. It's all very well saying that clubs like East Stirling and Forfar would be left behind but those clubs have little or no ambition and are quite happy to maintain the status quo.
Hopefully SPL 2 wouldn't become the virtual closed shop that the SPL has become. It would also be beneficial if a pyramid system were formed at the base of Scottish Football. This would allow ambitious junior clubs and highland league clubs to progress up through the leagues and replace those 'professional' clubs who are happy to stagnate while paying players £10 per week.
If Clydesdale bank are genuinely interested in getting involved it would bring SPL2 a significant step closer to being realised.
Clydesdale bank express an interest in sponsoring SPL 2 : http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_div_1/6550759.stm


Celtic v Dundee April 1999

As a Setanta Sports subscriber I get Rangers and Celtic TV for free. I just finished work at 10pm and switched on the TV, after flicking through the sports channels I came across Celtic v Dundee from 1999 and who's there strutting his stuff in centre midfield -Jim Mcinally. Strange to see him playing again. Unfortunately for him a Celtic team containing Henrik Larsson, Mark Viduka and Harald Brattbakk (Brattbakk and Viduka both scored their first goals for Celtic v Morton in the Scottish Cup) hammered his side 5-0.

Ex- Morton players Robbie Raeside and Eddie Annand were also playing for Dundee.

Weatherson and McGowan nominated for SPFA Award

Peter Weatherson and Paul McGowan have both been nominated as candidates for the SPFA Second Division player of the year. The list also includes Stirling Albion's ex-Morton midfielder Chris Aitken and Brechin City's Iain Russell.

I'm pretty surprised to see Chris Aitken's name mentioned. I'd expect Weatherson to win convincingly after the amazing season he has had. 17 goals from a player who has played the majority of his games at right-back is phenomenal.

Well done to both Morton players mentioned.


In the Papers Today (Wednesday)

Greenock Telegraph (Roger Graham) :

Paul Mathers looks forward to Saturdays game with Raith Rovers. Describing the day as one 'footballers relish'. He says that it 'definitely helps' that the game will be played in a Premier League standard stadium.

He also laments losing a goal to Forfar in the 9-1 demolition as it ended a run of 3 clean sheets in a row. Mathers' best run since he joined Morton.
Peter Weatherson has been officially announced as the Albert Hotel Morton Suppoters Club Player of the Year. Peter received 67% of the vote.

Chirs Templeman finished second (13%) and David MacGregor & Paul McGowan came in joint third (5%).