Another Friendly Date

Another pre-season friendly date has been confirmed. We will play Dumbarton at the Strathclyde Homes Stadium (pictured) on Friday the 18th of July with a 7.15pm kick-off.


Renfrewshire Cup Final Moved / Hartlepool Friendly Date

As a result of our bye to the 2nd round of the Challenge Cup Morton and St. Mirren have agreed to bring the Renfrewshire Cup Final foward to the date the 1st round tie would have been played on - Saturday the 26th July.

The match was originally scheduled for Tuesday the 29th July.

In further pre-season news Hartlepool United have confirmed that we wil be playing them in a friendly at Cappielow on Tuesday the 15th of July (7.30pm).

The Coca Cola League 1 side will be based in Largs and will also play Falkirk as part of their mini-tour of Scotland.

Challenge Cup Draw

The draw for the first round of the Challenge cup was made today and Morton have been given a bye to the second round.

These matches are scheduled to be played on Saturday the 26th of July - a week before the league season starts.

In other fixture related news the SFL have demoted Gretna to division three meaning that Stranraer and, significantly for Morton, Airdrie United have been moved up a league.

*Picture: Morton's Andy McLaren after the draw for the 2005 semi-final paired us with local rivals St. Mirren.

6 Foot And You'll Get A Game At Morton

Well according to Jamie Stevenson anyway.
Earlier today a Morton fan emailed me with a link to Scott McLaughlin's Bebo page on which Jamie Stevenson has left a comment about his chances of leaving the club that finishes with "what about some of the signings? 6 foot and youll get a game! joke!".

Not the wisest of moves considering he's still got a year of his contract left and if he can't get a new club he'll be sharing a dressing room with some of these players who might have something to say about them only being guaranteed a game because they are 6'.


McManus Agrees To Join Morton

Allan McManus has agreed to join Morton when his contract expires on the 2nd of June.

Davie Irons is delighted to secure the St. Johnstone defender and told the Greenock Telegraph's Roger Graham: “We felt we needed experience at the back. He knows the First Division and he can help the younger players.”

Irons goes on to say that there will be two further signings - a goalkeeper and a striker.


Old Faces On Show At Ravenscraig

Morton fans looking for their fix of live football might be interested to know that Port Glasgow Juniors are playing Arthurlie in the Central League Cup 4th round at Ravenscraig tomorrow night.

Arthurlie come to Greenock with a few faces that will be familiar to Cappielow regulars. Stevie Aitken, Paddy Flannery and Eddie Annand all play for the Barrhead side and all should feature at some point tomorrow night.

The match kicks off at 7.30pm.

http://www.footballcentral.org/sfa/associations/scottish-junior-football-association/west/fixtures.cfm# (click on 'next 7 days' on the drop down menu)



Morton Linked With Snodgrass

An article on The Courier (Tayside and Fife local newspaper) website has linked us with a move for Livingston's Scotland Under-21 cap Robert Snograss (pictured, with Ryan Harding when he was at Livi, after scoring against us in the Scottish Cup in 2005).
I know we were in for Snodgrass before but Livingston weren't willing to sell.

Ian Roache's article focuses on Dundee's interest in the player suggesting that we are also interested and that Livingston would require compensation because Snodgrass is under 24 years old.

New Strip Launch Dates

The new Morton home kit wil be launched on Thursday the 26th June at 7pm. This will be held in Smiths with the players and management in attendance.

The 3rd kit will follow on Thursday the 24th July at 7pm. This will mean that both kits will be available to buy before the season starts on the 26th of July.



Finlayson Signs Contract

Kevin Finlayson has finally agreed terms with the club after rejecting an earlier offer.
The news was announced on http://www.gmfc.net/ and states that Finners has signed on for two more years.


Morton's New Strips In Smiths

Morton are releasing a new home kit and third kit for the 2008/09 season and both are available to view in Smiths sport shop in Greenock town centre.

Stevie Aitken's Love Child (Darren) has posted photos of the strips on the Morton messageboard and I'm sure being a pal of his he wont mind me posting them on here.

2008/09 Home Kit

2008/09 Third Kit

Another poster, EanieMeany,posted to say that a sign in the shop says that the strips will be available to buy in July sometime.



Morton Offer Robertson A Contract

Morton have offered Airdrie goalkeeper Stephen Robertson a two year deal according to the Greenock Telegraph's Steven McArthur.

The article also states that Airdrie have offered the 31 year old a contract extension.

I don't know anything about the player if I'm honest. Checking the stats he appears to be Airdrie's first choice keeper this season and one of their top performers according to his profile on their official website.

Name: Stepehen Robertson
Age: 31 (16.03.1977)
Position: Goalkeeper
Nationality: Scottish
Height: 5' 11"
Former Clubs: St. Johnstone, Hamilton Academical [loan], Clydebank, Stranraer, Airdrie United


Pre-Season Tour Unlikely

It looks like Morton won't be going on a pre-season tour this year. I'd heard a pretty strong rumour that we wouldn't be going anywhere earlier in the week. This coincided with the Ayr United and St. Mirren friendlies being announced with no mention of a tour that was expected to be revealed sometime during the week.

All the evidence seemed to point to a pre-season at home and it would appear that this is indeed the case. After talking to Davie Irons at the fans' game today Sean Donnelly (Se65an)of the Gourock Morton Supporters posted on the unofficial messageboard to say that a tour was unlikely and that, so far, we would only be playing the following matches:

Ayr United (h) - Saturday 12th July
St. Mirren (h) - Tuesday 29th July
Dumbarton (a) - TBC
Hartlepool (h) - TBC

This will be the first time in six years that we haven't been on a tour of some sort.

July 2002 - Campbeltown, Fort William, Inverness Caldeonian Thistle
July 2003 - Buckie Thistle, Keith, Deveronvale
July 2004 - Buckie Thistle, Lossiemouth, Clachnacuddin
July 2005 - Northwich Victoria, Altrincham, Witton Albion
July 2006 - Morecambe, Barrow
July 2007 - Morecambe, Chester City (cancelled), Lancaster City (cancelled)



Morton Sign Stevie Masterton

Morton have signed Clyde's free-kick specialist Stevie Masterton today.

The story first appeared in the Soccer Shorts section of today's Daily Record. An article subsequently appeared on the Greenock Telegraph website stating that the player will join us on a two year deal on the 25th May - when his Clyde contract expires. The Inverclyde Now website suggests that he the contract is for 2 years.

Masterton scored a trademark free-kick against us on the first day of last season.

Clyde profile: http://www.clydefc.co.uk/squad/profiles/Steven-Masterton/

Ayr United Friendly

Morton have arranged a pre-season friendly with Ayr United.

The match will be played at Cappielow on Saturday the 12th of July.

As usual there is no mention of this from Morton's end but it is announced on Ayr's official website.


No Truth In The Rumour St. Mirren Want McGowan

I'd still love us to sign Paul McGowan so I was happy to see that Gus MacPherson has quashed rumours that St. Mirren were set to sign the Celtic reserve.

On St. Mirren's official website MacPherson admits that he had been impressed with Paul while he was on loan at Cappielow but that he wouldn't be making a bid due to the price Celtic quoted us when we tried to sign him.

The Buddies gaffer claims that Celtic asked for £250,000. I'm not sure how accurate that is but I'm led to believe that Morton went as high as £150,000 and the bid was rejected.



Renfrewshire Cup Final Date Announced

The date has been set for this season's Renfrewshire Cup Final - Tuesday the 29th July. Unusually - well in recent seasons anyway - the match will be played on a Tuesday night.

The story appeared in today's Daily Record and is confirmed by Gus MacPherson on St. Mirren's official website.

Morton Sign Colin Stewart

Former Livingston goalkeeper Colin Stewart has signed a two year deal with the club.

The deal was signed yesterday and Stewart told the Greenock Telegraph's Steven McArthur: “I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be a challenge, but a challenge I’m well capable of achieving. You look to who else is going to come in, but I’ve been at various clubs where I’ve been first choice — I’ve risen to the challenge before, I don’t see why I can’t do it again. I’m not coming here to be a second choice, my main aim is to come here to play for Morton, and hopefully take the club to the level everyone thinks we should be at.”

The Tele' article finishes with Davie Irons indicating that he wants to sign another three or four players.

I think most fans are in the same boat when it comes to Stewart. They are willing to give him a chance but are also sceptical due some of his less than impressive performances against Morton.




Motherwell To Bid £75,000 For Jim?

Motherwell are set to bid £75,000 for Jim McAlister according to a snippet in a Newspaper* on Tuesday.

The snippet says that Motherwell have been watching his progress all season and that Davie Irons might find it hard to knock back that sort of money.

* I have no idea what newspaper it was. It was my brother who noticed it and took a picture on his mobile but forgot what paper he was reading!?!

Walker And Harding Sign New Contracts

Alex Walker and Ryan Harding have both extended their stays at Cappielow by signing new contracts today.

Alex has signed on for a further year and Ryan has extended his by two years. Their contracts expired later this month.



Clyde Stay Up

We are a step closer to knowing the full line-up for next season's First Division after Clyde beat Airdrie United 2-0 in the second leg of the play-off final. They had already won the first leg 1-0 so stay up with a 3-0 aggregate win.

Airdrie's fate will only be decided when the Gretna situation is finally decided. However it does look certain that they will go out of business and Airdrie will inherit their place in the 1st division.


2008/09 Irn-Bru Scottish 1st Division

Dunfermline Athletic
Greenock Morton
Gretna / Airdrie United
Partick Thistle
Queen Of The South
Ross County
St. Johnstone


Brian Wake - Goal Machine

You can now celebrate Morton's latest cult hero and his end of season heroics by sporting his visage on your chest.

greenockmorton.org messageboard poster xj2006 has created a t-shirt with Brian Wake's face and the words 'Brian Wake Goal Machine' emblazoned across the front.

The item description on eBay says:



2007/08 Player Of The Year

Jim McAlister can add the prestigous honour (don't laugh) of winning the inaugural greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com player of the year to the list of supporters' awards he has already won for his performances this season.

Jim romped to victory with 56% (53 out of 93) of all the votes registered on the poty poll. Chris Millar was runner up with 16% (15 out of 93) while Kevin Finlayson secured third place with 10% (10 out of 93). Lee Robinson, Stewart Greacen, Scott McLaughlin, Peter Weatherson and Iain Russell were the other players to receive a vote.

I was going to add bonus points for player of the month awards but even then McAlister would have still had enough to win - he won two player of the month awards compared to Chris Millar's three.

Well done Jim!

greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com Player Of The Year 2007/08: Jim McAlister

Monthly Awards:
August - Dean Keenan (43% of vote)
September - Jim McAlister (32%)
October - Peter Weatherson (56%)
November - Chris Millar (34%)
December - Iain Russell (30%)
January - Chris Millar (69%)
February - Chris Millar (41%)
March - Jim McAlister (35%)
April - Brian Wake (57%)


Morton Are Interested in David Graham

Morton assistant manger Derek Collins has confirmed that we are interested in Hamlton striker David Graham. Graham's contract with Accies is about to expire and Collins acknowledged this when he said: “I believe David is out of contract at the end of the season, but right now he has a responsibility to his manager Billy Reid. Hamilton will obviously be keen to keep David, but if he became available then we would be very interested.”

In my opinion Graham would be an excellent signing. He has impressed me going back to his days at Stranraer when he ran us ragged while sporting his badger hairdo and as recently as this March when he scored a stunner against us at New Douglas Park.

Name: David Graham
Age: 24 (02.06.1983)
Position: Forward (either through the centre or on the right)
Nationality: Scottish
Height: 5' 9"
Former Clubs: Stenhousemuir, Stranraer, Gretna, Hamilton Accies.

The story appeared in Steven McArthur's article in today's Greenock Telegraph. McArthur also confirms that Morton are intersted in Allan McManus, that we have been in touch with his agent and that Ryan Harding and Alex Walker look certain to sign new contracts while Kevin Finlayson is still negotiating.


£10,000 Raised For What?

The 2008 Morton Sportsman's dinner, held in Greenock Town Hall last Saturday, was hailed as a huge success and raised £10,000 for Morton's youth set-up.

Russell Steele's article on the Greenock Telegraph website includes video footage of the event. Here you get a wee idea of what the night was like by listening to Dougie Rae, Willie Henderson and Ron Atkinson.

The £10,000 raised will be boosted by the £3000 the Supporters Trust expect to make from the fans' game. However, there are major concerns about Morton's youth set-up. Messageboard regular pgmsc posted this:

That is the reason[.] [There is] no youth licence holder at Club[.] McInally held it [but the]present coaches dont hold level 4 coaching badges [which are the] requirments of SFA.Proposal put that they enter next years u14's and U15's in a unnone unsure where youth league to buy time to meet the requirements.The information was passed on by Jim McColl and Gillian Donaldson [but there was] no football person there [this] means boys can be pick[ed] up by any other club for free come 15th May[.] Total shambles[.] no way will they keep 30 boys + happy for a year playing at a lower level than they have been playing at .The U19's have not been confirmed[,] yet again more spin coming from within a very angry and hostile meeting[.]

pgmsc's posts are usually quite accurate when it comes to the youth set-up so this post raises real concerns - as does the rest of the thread. Another regular, Mags, had this to say:

It's not a case of if your in the 1st division you only play other 1st division teams,or you only play 2nd division teams if your in the 2nd.There are two pro youth leagues,Performance and Development( or is it Initiative?....can't remember! ) Performance is made up of mostly SPL teams and any SFL team who meet the criteria,which includes training facilities,playing ground etc....that's why Ross County and Hamilton play in the top league.Morton play against all other SFL teams from the 3 leagues....but if we can't even make the criteria for that league then our youth set up really is in a bad way.

There are loads of local coaches who have the relevant coaching badges,but Morton aren't willing to pay for their services

There has been no official news released but from what I can make out from the posts on this thread the club are failing to meet pro-youth criteria because the current coaches do not hold the relevant youth coaching licences and the club seem reluctant to rectify the problem.

This is all the more disappointing considering the money raised for youth development by both the Sportsman's Dinner and Fans' Game.

The least the fans should expect is some sort of announcement to tell us what exactly is going on.


Stuart Kettlewell Update

I've finally found online confirmation (of sorts) of the rumours linking us with Queen's Park's Stuart Kettlewell.

In today's Evening Times Bert Mitchell says "skipper Stuart Kettlewell is likely to agree terms with Morton."

Name: Stuart Kettlewell
Age: 23 (04.06.1984)
Position: Central Midfield
Nationality: Scottish
Height: 6'
Former Clubs: Queen's Park

His profile on Queen's Park's official website says:

Stuart Kettlewell
Brought into the team by Kenny Brannigan, Stuart has become an almost ever-present since. Strong, 110% committed and seemingly able to run all day, Stuart rarely puts in a poor performance. He's now made more than 100 starts and more than earned the right to captain the team towards the end of last season.

Fans' Game - Update

Bidding has now closed on the auction of jerseys for the Greenock Morton Supporters Trust fans' game.

Trust Board member Bryan Purdue told me that he estimates that the day will raise around £3000 - all of which will go towards Youth Development at Cappielow.

Another important point to note is the change of date. The game was originally scheduled for the 10th of May but will now be played on Saturday the 17th of May. The change was due to the potential clash between the game and Morton participating in the play-off final.


Check how the bidding finished here: http://gmst.org.uk/fansgame/bids.htm



Morton Interesed In Allan McManus

Morton have been linked with a move for former Airdrie and St. Johnstone defender Allan McManus.

According to Tayside and Fife local newspaper The Courier Morton, Dundee and Livingston are battling for his signature.

Name: Allan McManus
Age: 33 (17.11.1974)
Position: Central Defender
Nationality: Scottish
Height: 6' 1"
Former Clubs: Hearts, Livingston, Alloa, Airdrie, Ayr, St. Johnstone

This is a rumour I've heard in the past week and I'd be quite happy if it turned out to be true.


We have also been linked with moves for Queen's Park's Stuart Kettlewell and Jon Newby who was recently released by Morecambe. The rumours appeared on football messageboards and both claim that the stories linking us with these players had appeared in newspapers - I couldn't find any links to the articles.

Queen's Park messageboard: http://www.spiderstalk.tk/

Newby link: http://www.greenockmorton.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=20832

Greacen To Sign Three Year Deal

Morton defender Stewart Greacen is expected to sign a new three year deal sometime today.

The news appears in today's Greenock Telegraph. In an article titled 'Greacen Signs On' - something he might've been doing if his performances didn't improve dramatically towards the end of the season - Tele' sports reporter Steven McArthur states that Greacen has come to terms with the club and that the formalities will be taken care later today.

Greacen is quoted as saying: I’m just delighted to have the new contract, it means I can concentrate on preparing for next season. I have no hesitation at all in staying, I really enjoy being at the club.Hopefully now we can get a few more players tied up and build for next year.”


3 Options For Pre-Season

Morton are currently considering three options for this Summer's pre-season tour: Northern England, the Scottish Highlands or Ireland (it's unclear whether this is Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland).

Douglas Rae, Davie Irons and Derek Collins will meet today to discuss the options available according to Roger Graham in today's Greenock Telegraph.



Wake's Last Day Heroics Are Nothing New

On Friday night in work I was reading the Greenock Telegraph and in particular Steven McArthur's article about Brian Wake. In the article McArthur talked about how Wake's goals at Firhill were not the first he'd scored to save a club at the end of the season; on Tuesday the 29th of April 2003 Wake scored a hat-trick at Gay Meadow to save Carlisle from relegation to the Conference and send Shrewsbury down in their place.

Of his heroics Wake said: “I remember it well, it was my first season as a professional. We were in a similar situation — whoever lost the game went down. I felt sorry for the Shrews, but you have to just do it for your own team. I scored a couple of hat-tricks that season. Hopefully, I can do that next year with Morton.”



After reading this it was a slight coincidence that the next day I decided to join a few Morton supporters who had already decided to travel down to Carlisle to watch their crucial promotion / relegation decider with Bournemouth.

Carlisle United 1 - Dobie (57)
Bournemouth 1 - Pitman (68)

Att - 12,233

As this is a Morton blog this brief match report is written as the match was seen through a Morton fan's eyes so it may well be of interest to others of a Ton persuasion.

The game was played in front of a 12,000 odd crowd. The outcome of the match mattered to both teams. Carlisle, should they win and Nott'm Forest and Doncaster draw or lose, would gain automatic promotion to the Championship while Bournemouth had to win to avoid relegation to League 2.

There were a few familiar faces on show. Playing left-back for Carlisle was Evan Horwood who was on loan at Gretna earlier this season. Horwood scored on his final appearance for Gretna against us in the 2-2 draw at Cappielow. Former Scotland internationalists Scott Dobie (6 caps, 1 goal) and Warren Cummings ( 1 cap) - playing for Carlisle and Bournemouth respectively - were joined by former England International Darren Anderton. Bournemouth also had highly rated youngster Sam Vokes on show. Vokes is tipped for a move to a top team this summer.

The final score was 1-1. Dobie opened the scoring for Carlisle sweeping home a rebound off the keeper. Pitman prodded home an equaliser with 20 minutes to go and that's how it finished. Bournemouth were relegated and Carlisle will now face Leeds in the play-offs.

We are led to believe, by media, pundits and players, that this level of football is better than probably all levels in Scotland apart from the SPL but if this game was representative of the standard of the league in general I would argue that this is certainly not the case. The standard was dreadful. Players could hardly control the ball, pick a pass or shoot and in a game that really mattered to both teams the effort or urgency from the players just wasn't there. Think of twenty (keepers excluded) Ryan McGuffies jogging languidly around the pitch.

Another feature of the match was the negativity of the Carlisle fans. There are those who'd have us believe Morton have a terrible home support whos over the top abuse does nothing but hinder their team - they should try visiting the home end at some other grounds. I was in the 'Paddock' terrace at Brunton Park and all around us the home fans abused their team for 90 minutes. They laughed at their own players, jeered them and gave ironic applause when they completed passes. Imagine the moaniest 'boo boy' you can think of in the Cowshed - he'd be a 'happy clapper' in here.

All in all it was an enjoyable day out but, and I didn't think I would have said this about any match a few weeks ago, this game could've done with Brain Wake and a couple of his trademark crucial final day goals.

Carlisle: Westwood, Arnison, Campion, Murphy, Horwood, Dobie, Lumsdon, Grant Smith (Bridge-Wilkinson 79), Hackney, Graham (Carlton 85), Madine (Taylor 72).
Subs Not Used: Howarth, Aranalde.

Booked: Lumsdon, Horwood, Arnison.

Bournemouth: Bournemouth: Forde, Bradbury, Gowling, Pearce, Cummings (Bartley 86), Gradel, Anderton (Pitman 61), Cooper, Hollands, Kuffour, Vokes.
Subs Not Used: Pryce, Young, Garry.

Booked: Bradbury, Hollands.

My Man of the Match: Darren Anderton (Bournemouth)

Sponsors Man of the Match: Darren Campion (Carlisle)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)




Tony McParland Training With Morton

According to an article by Steven McArthur in today's Greenock Telegraph former Celtic midfielder Tony McParland (pictured) is training with us with a view to joining the club next season.
Derek Collins said: “Tony has been training with us for a while. He’s been patient and we respect that, and he will continue with us with a view to possibly joining.”

Name: Tony McParland
Age: 25 (20.09.1982)
Height: 5' 7"
Position: Right Midfield, Left Midfield
Nationality: Scottish
International Honours: Scotland Under-17, 18, 21s (according to wikipedia)
Former Clubs: Celtic, Barnsley, Wycombe

In the same article Collins quashed rumours we were interested in Chris Aitken. He also confirmed: rumours that Kieran McAnespie, Jamie Stevenson and David MacGregor can find new clubs (all have a year left on their contracts); Brian Graham will be sent on a year long loan ( he has two years left on his contract) and that there will be no reserve side again next season but their will be an under-19s team.


Greacen Wanted By 1st Division Rivals

Morton defender Stewart Greacen is wanted by Queen Of The South, Livingston and Dunfermline according to a snippet in today's Scottish Sun.

Two of the clubs mentioned above are not new to Stewart. He spent three years at Livingston between 2000 and 2003 and spent a month on loan at Queen Of The South between September and October 2000.

The big defender is out of contract this month and is also considering an offer to stay at Cappielow. The Sun has, however, decided he is a 'contract rebel'.


Millar's Gone

Chris Millar has been unveiled as one of two new recruits made by St. Johnstone today.

Millar will join Gavin Swankie in Perth next season ending speculation that he was set to renege on his pre-contract agreement with the Saints to stay at Morton.

Chris is quoted in today's Greenock Telegraph as saying: “Morton made me a fantastic offer, but I’d come to an agreement with Derek McInnes. I felt the right thing to do was move on. St Johnstone were challenging for promotion this year, so it’s the right decision for my football career. It’s nothing to do with the management, the deal was already done before they came in. You can see the ambition at the club.The chairman did everything he could to make me stay at the club — but I feel it’s the right time to go.”

Good luck Chris!