Where Are They Now?

Robbie MacKillop (pictured) was Morton's reserve keeper for the 3rd Division Championship winning season in 2002/03. As far as I remember he didn't play any first team football mainly due to the form of Craig Coyle who was an ever present that season.

Robbie was released at the end of the 2002/03 season as David McGurn took over the back up goalkeeper role. I didn't have any idea where he went to after that until a couple of Saturday's ago when he took to the field to play against us (Gourock Morton Supporters) for Dunoon in the annual challenge match. Robbie was head and shoulders above everyone on the park (in my opinion) making a few excellent saves including a few in the penalty shoot out and scoring one himself so I was surprised to learn after that match that he was currently playing for Dunoon Amateurs. The reason I'm posting about him today was that there was a snippet in today's Scottish Sun revealing that he'd signed for Pollok Juniors - a level I think he should have been operating at anyway.

During a conversation with one of the guys who travelled over with the Dunoon team I was told that Robbie is 'Morton mad' - good man. Good luck at Pollok Robbie.


Kevin Cuthbert

Today's Daily Record has renewed speculation we are interested in former St. Johnstone goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert (pictured).

The soccer short says we are set to battle it out with Dunfermline to sign him.


Talking Crap

Something at Cappielow stinks - and for once I'm not talking about Jamie Stevenson's attitude. In today's Metro Morton groundsman Mark Farrell reveals that he keeps Cappielow's playing surface in such good condition by covering it in Turkey manure. Apparently this stunk the ground out but produced remarkable results. Farrell is quoted as saying: "The smell is awful but the results are magnificent. It all came up brilliantly."


Harding To Miss First Month Of The Season

Ryan Harding (pictured, left) looks set to miss the first month of the season due to a couple of injuries. The former Hibs and Livingston defender has a minor muscle injury that will need an operation and inflammatrion of the pubic bone that will require rest.

Harding told the Greenock Telegraph's Steven McArthur: "If everything goes to plan, I should be fit by mid to late August. I’m still reporting in to the club, and seeing the physio to prepare for my own pre-season programme — but I’ll be playing catch-up. You don’t want to miss any games, but I’ll have to just grin and bear it."

To read the full article click here: http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/articles/2/25659

Workington Friendly Unconfirmed

For anyone considering follwing Morton to the North of England for the matches against Durham City and Tow Low Town it might be worth holding off finalising your trip until a proposed friendly with Workington Reds is confirmed or rejected.

greenockmorton.org user 'Savo' posted a link to the News and Star - a local newspaper that covers the Carlisle area - article in which Reds' manager Darren Edmondson says that he is waiting to hear whether or not Morton have accepted a pre-season friendly offer.

The article is dated Wednesday 18th of June and there has been no further news. With Morton's tendency to leave things to the last minute, especially with regards to announcements to the fans, you can't write anything off.

If anyone has further news on this friendly feel free to post a comment below.


Robinson To Return

Lee Robinson (pictured) could be set to return to Cappielow on another season long loan.

In yesterday's Greenock Telegraph Steven McArthur explained that Morton had been back in contact with Rangers with a view to renewing the loan for another season.

Davie Irons does say that if the loan move falls through they have other goalkeeping targets.


Mini Tour Announced

Further to the pre-season fixtures already annnounced Morton have confirmed via the www.gmfc.net website that there will now be a mini pre-season tour to the North-East of England.

We will play Tow Law Town on Wednesday the 9th of July and on the following night - Thursday 10th July - we take on Durham City.



Innes On The Verge Of Signing For Morton

Chris Innes is on the verge of signing for Morton according to The Courier.

The newspaper - which serves Tayside and Fife - claims that Innes looked all set to sign for Dundee until a last minute personal problem arose.

Innes has been without a club since he was released by Gretna's administrators in March.

Name: Chris Innes
Age: 31 (13.07.1976)
Position: Central Defender
Nationality: Scottish
Height: 6' 1"
Former Clubs: Stenhousemuir, Kilmarnock, St. Mirren [loan], Falkirk [loan], Dundee United, Gretna

Clyde - Again

The SFL announced their fixtures for next season today and Morton will open the 2008/09 campaign just like we did 2007/08 - with a fixture against Clyde on Saturday the 2nd of August. The only difference is that this time the match will be at Broadwood rather than Cappielow.

We play our first home match a week later and this will see Chris Millar return to Cappielow with St. Johnstone. The season finishes at home to Ross County on Saturday the 9th of May.

I was keen to get the dates for our away trips to Ross County to plan a weekend with my family in Inverness. I also know that many Morton fans were also looking to plan a weekend bevvy session around them as well. The first is set for Saturday the 4th of October which isn't that appealing. However, I'm much happier with the second match which will be played on Saturday the 21st March - 4 days after my birthday.


The Greenock Morton Quiz Book

Graeme Ross, author of Morton Greats and More Morton Greats, has another 'Ton book in the pipeline - The Official Greenock Morton Quiz Book.

However, fans hungry to test their Morton knowledge will have to wait a while to get their hands on the book -co-authored by Chris Cowlin - as it is not scheduled to be published until the 19th of September 2009. The book will cost £8.99 and can already be pre-ordered on http://www.amazonco.uk/.

The Apex Publishing Ltd website includes a brief description:

800 questions which cover all aspects of the club, from memorable managers and players to transfer fees, opponents and awards, and are sure to conjure up fond reminiscences of the colourful characters and nail-biting matches that have peppered the club’s long history.With a fitting foreword by Douglas Rae, this is as much a treasure trove of interesting facts and figures as it is a quiz book, and is guaranteed to provide hours of entertainment for young and old alike.

Apex are also set to publish Andy Ritchie: The King Of Cappielow - John Riddle's biography of Andy Ritchie.





Morton Interested In Cuthbert

Morton have been linked with a move for ex-St. Johnstone goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert.

The story appeared in one of the soccer shorts in today's Daily Record. The article claims that Livingston are favourites to sign him (the last I heard they still weren't allowed to sign anyone) with ourselves, Dunfermline and Queen of the South all interested.

I'm quite happy with this news - if it's true. Cuthbert is one of the goalies I thought we should be looking at for next season.

Name: Kevin Cuthbert
Age: 25 (08.09.1982)
Position: Goalkeeper
Height: 6' 0"
Nationality: Scottish
Former Clubs: St. Johnstone


Bus To Threave Rovers Friendly

Your first chance to see Morton's new signings in action will be against Threave Rovers on Monday the 7th July and Gourock Morton Supporters will run a bus to Castle Douglas depending on numbers.

You can book a seat by contacting Jim MacVicar or replying to this post on the unofficial messageboard: http://www.greenockmorton.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=21340&st=0&gopid=457563&#entry457563

The bus will leave the Darroch bar in Gourock at 5pm and will cost £12 (with no concessions).


Ross Matheson

I was sad to read about Ross Matheson (pictured) in today's Greenock Telegraph.The former Rangers and Morton midfielder was fined in court after being caught in possession of heroin. His lawyer was also quoted as saying: "He had developed quite a habit and was taking three bags a day, but is now on a methadone programme and is attending services voluntarily, where he receives counselling for his problems."

Ross was a player I always rated in his time at Cappielow; particularly for the way he carried some of the younger players through season 2000/01 - when we were at our lowest ebb - scoring 13 goals.

As a fan who appreciated his efforts for Morton at such a depressing time for the club I sincerely hope he can keep his life on track and wish him good luck in doing so.

Extra Pre-Season Friendlies Announced

Morton have confirmed some friendlies that haven't already been announced.

As well as playing Ayr United, Dumbarton and St. Mirren we will also face:

Monday 7th July - Threave Rovers (away)
Monday 21st July - Calton YMCA (home - Renfrewshire Cup semi-final)
Wednesday 23rd July - Stranraer (away)

The news item on http://www.gmfc.net/ does not mention the friendly against Hartlepool which Hartlepool themeselves have confirmed.

Threave should be an interesting trip for the anoraks among the Morton support who will have a new ground to visit. They play their home matches at Meadow Park, Castle Douglas and currently compete in the South of Scotland league where they finished 2nd this season.


Share Issue To Help Pay For Redevelopment Of Cappielow

In a front page exclusive the Greenock Telegraph's Russell Steele reveals that Morton plan to use money from a share issue to make Cappielow SPL compliant.

At last week's EGM a resolution to make one million new shares available at 75p was passed. It was also revealed that should all the shares be sold £750,000 would be raised and this would be put towards upgrading Cappielow.

Douglas Rae is quoted as saying that it would cost £2 million to bring the ground up to the required standards.

The article also says: 'The club also confirmed people are already interested in putting cash into the club, but could not disclose their identity'. To make one million shares available the club must be expecting substantial investment from those interested; one of whom has to be Alistair Donald, surely.


Season Ticket Prices

According to http://www.gmfc.net/ season tickets for the 2008/09 season will be available for collection on Thursday 26th June from the Morton Shop at Smiths and thereafter from the office at Cappielow between 10am and 4pm.

Season Tickets prices are :

Adult - £260 (Section C & D) , £240 (Section A & B)
Concession - £170 (Section C & D) , £155 (Section A & B)
Parent & Child (Section A & B) £285 (Additional Child - £60)

Adult - £210
Concession - £135
Parent & Child - £255
Child - £65


These prices represent a £10, and in some cases £15, rise on last season's prices. £10 isn't a huge amount I confess but I don't see how the club can justify any price increase after escaping relegation /play-offs on the last day of the season.

However, if you compare our prices with other teams in the league they aren't that bad. Especially when you consider that we have the option to pay less to stand on a terrace - an option other supporters don't have. Rather than Morton charging too much it's more a case of all SFL clubs charging too much for the quality of football on show.

Other teams Adult season ticket prices:

Airdrie United: not available yet
Clyde: £240
Dundee: £280 [£260 before 31.5.08; £270 before 3o.6.08]
Dunfermline: £299 [Main stand], £259 [South West, North West, Norrie McCathie]
Livingston: £280 [West stand], £220 [West Stand family]
Partick Thistle: £240
Queen of the South: not available yet
Ross County: £195 [East and West Stands], £169 [terrace]
St. Johnstone: £260 [Main stand], £225 [East Stand]

McManus To Coach Under-19s

Allans McManus (pictured), Morton's latest signing, is interviewed in today's Greenock Telegraph. The article is filled with the standard cliches about him knowing he isn't guaranteed a start, that he'll have to fight for his place in the team and that Morton were always his first choice. However one thing did leap out at me and that was the news that he will be coaching the under-19s team next season.

McManus told the Tele's Steven McArthur: “I’m also delighted to be given the opportunity to coach, and I will be involved with helping at the Under-19 level next season. I’ve done bits and bobs before, and I’m glad to keep my hand in at coaching.”

I've always said that I don't agree with players under 30 (Jamie Stevenson, Chris Millar, Jason Walker, Peter Weatherson) coaching our youth teams as they are still young boys who haven't had much of a career themselves and are likely to want to move on. In this case I think it's a wee bit different. McManus is 34 later this year, has a wealth of experience to pass on and is looking to move into coaching when he retires, possibly at the end of his contract with the club when he'll be 36. As long as McManus takes it seriously, which I think he will, I think his appointment to the Under 19s is a positive move.


Morton In For Arbuckle

Davie Irons is 'closing in' on Gary Arbuckle according to a Soccer Short in today's Daily Record.

The striker was released by Clyde after 4 seasons at the club.

Name: Gary Arbuckle
Age: 23 (16.08.1984)
Position: Striker
Height: 5' 11"
Nationality: Scottish
Former Clubs: Celtic, Clyde

I'm sad to report that after the tip off about Jamie Stevenson's comments on Scott McLaughlin's Bebo I've become a bit of a 'Bebo stalker' - as I'm reliably informed it's called - and checked some footballers Bebos for comments on who they might be signing for. Gary Arbuckle has left a couple of comments on a friends site stating that he has "had something set up for a few weeks now so all shall b revealed in time" and that it isn't Airdrie.


John Simpson Wants To Fight At Cappielow

Next Friday local boxer John Simpson (pictured) takes on Paul Appleby in a defence of his British title in Glasgow's Kelvin Hall. If he wins he gets to keep the Lonsdale belt and could be set for a European title fight.

On page 72 of today's News Of The World Jim Black previews the fight with an article titled 'A Ton wait for Simmo'. The article begins: 'Morton fan John Simpson is desperate to make history by selling out Cappielow in Greenock's first ever world title fight.'

I'm not sure Simpson actually is a Morton fan (he's a Celtic fan from what I've heard) but he is quoted as saying: "I'd love to have a big fight in Greenock. That's always been my ambition and there are a couple of possible venues - including Cappielow. There is definitely a market, judging by the way the locals got behind the club two or three years ago to prevent Morton going out of business. I am sure I can rely on similar backing if we can make a fight at Cappielow happen and I don't see why not."

Did You Know...

...that Chelsea's legendary winger Charlie Cooke was an avid Morton supporter as a boy and counted Jimmy Cowan as one of his heroes?

I'm currently reading Cooke's autobiography The Bonnie Prince in which he talks at length about growing up in Greenock, attending Greenock High School and supporting Morton. It's obvious he's very proud of where he comes from and the team he supported as a boy as he constantly refers back to the town and team throughout the book.

Here's a couple of excerpts:

"Greenock Morton was our team... By the time I started attending matches, when I was six or so, the club had already touched greatness - the Scottish Cup victory was still very clear in the memories of the older supporters - but it very much retained it's local feel and played many local men. Those same older supporters who would regale us with the glory of the cup win would also tell us about a time, not so long before, when a local butcher incentivised the players by offering a leg of lamb to any goal-scorer and when the pitch was also used to graze a flock of lambs during the week."

"If in our hero-worshipping young eyes Jimmy [Cowan] was our most illustrious asset, he did not overshadow the other players, and I can see their cigarette-card faces now and even recall their styles of play and characteristics. Tommy McGarrity was a scheming wing-half / inside-forward; Davie Cupples a quick centre-forward; Tommy Orr a tall, leggy wing half (today we'd call him a midfielder); Billy Campbell an elegant inside-forward; Willie Whigham the journeyman full-back; Johnny Hannigan a sparkling ball-playing right-winger and centre-forward and who can forget Jimmy White?"

"Saturday and a Morton home game was always a big day. I can dimly remember the first time I went to a match, walking down Gibshill Road in my mackintosh and sou'wester ('Rain, rain go to Spain', remember), turning down Weir Street to Sinclair Street and on down under the railway bridge to the main gate. Later when we had moved across town to Thom Street, Dad and I would walk down to the West Station to catch one of the special Cappielow buses."

Cooke never played for Morton but did play against us in our only tie in European competition. He scored one in Chelsea's 5-0 win at Stamford Bridge but missed the second leg at Cappielow.

Charlie Cooke was born in St. Monance, Fife. His mother was from the tiny fishing village and his father was from Greenock. He lived there until he was three years old and his family moved back to Greenock where he was raised and lived until he moved to Aberdeen as a 17 year old. In his football career he played for: Port Glasgow Rangers, Renfrew Juniors, Aberdeen, Dundee, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Chelsea, LA Aztecs, Memphis Rogues, California Surf and won 16 caps for Scotland.