Morton look set to start Saturday's league opener at Clyde with a makeshift defence.

Stewart Greacen will be the only defender with a chance of taking part in Saturday's league opener at Clyde on Saturday. Last season's Captain - who has only played 78 minutes of action this pre-season, all of which came as an early substiute against St. Mirren in the Renfrewshire Cup final - is even rated as doubtful by the Greenock Telegraph's David Christie.

Alex Walker played in both the Renfrewshire Cup semi-final and final but is short of match fitness. David MacGregor and Allan McManus are still out. Ryan Harding will miss the first month of the season after an operation on minor muscle injury and inflammation of the pubic bone.

These injuries mean that Morton will probably go with a back three of:

Weatherson Greacen McGuffie

However, I have a feeling Irons mught risk Alex Walker and play him ahead of McGuffie. In addition there is a chance that former Rangers defender Chris Smith could be signed and put straight into the team.


East Stirling Away In The Challenge Cup

Morton will play East Stirlingshire in the 2nd round of the Alba Challenge Cup. The match will be played at Stenhousemuir's Ochilview on either Tuesday 12th or Wednesday 13th August 2008.

This tie will see us face familiar faces in Jim McInally, Martin Clark and John Hillcoat. Brian Graham - who is on loan at the Shire - could face us depending on the terms of his loan deal.

The full draw is as follows:

Alloa Athletic v Clyde
Livingston v Forfar Athletic
Raith Rovers v Ross County
East Stirlingshire v Greenock Morton
Dunfermline Athletic v Queen of the South
East Fife v Airdrie Utd
Partick Thistle v Peterhead
Cowdenbeath v Albion Rovers

Robinson Deal Depends On McGregor's Fitness

Davie Irons appears to be getting slightly frustrated by the length of time it is taking to get Lee Robinson (pictured) back in on loan.

Morton must wait until after tonight's Champions League qualifier between Rangers and Kaunas to see if Allan McGregor comes through without getting injured.

Davie Irons told the Greenock Telegraph's David Christie that he will bring someone else in if the loan deal is not sorted by Thursday at the latest: "It is a case of wait and see if Allan McGregor is fit, then everything should be okay, from his point of view and ours. But if it isn’t sorted out by Thursday morning at the very latest then I will have to go and get another goalkeeper quickly."

Christie also tells us that Irons will not be making a move for trialist Jeff Forsyth.


Morton Are A Better Club Than Airdrie

We all knew it already but Morton trialist Chris Smith (pictured) has confirmed it - Morton are a better club than Airdrie United.

An article in yesterday's Greenock Telegraph reveals that former Rangers youth Chris 'Junior' Smith is desperate to join the Ton and will do so when paperwork is completed in the next few days.

Smith mentioned a trial he had with Airdrie before coming to Morton: "I had a brief trial with Airdrie too but I've basically been here since we started pre-season.

"I'd much prefer to come here as it's a better club and I've really enjoyed my time so far."

Click image to enlarge

Morton 1 - 1 St. Mirren

Morton 1 - Russell (23)
St. Mirren 1 - McAusland (25)

St. Mirren win 5-4 on penalties

Att - 3836

Peter Weatherson vowed never to volunteer to hit a penalty again after gifting St.Mirren their third Renfrewshire Cup win in a row by missing the crucial spot-kick on Saturday (see video below).

Davie Irons started out with a 3-4-3 formation but he was forced into a rethink after only 12 minutes. Brian Wake clashed heads with St. Mirren's Mark McAusland and was replaced by Stewart Greacen. Ryan McGuffie was pushed into midfield as a result.

Morton took the lead in the 23rd minute when Iain Russell slammed home a Jon Newby square ball after good work on the left. Newby's wing play and subsequent assists were a feature in the semi-final win against Carlton YMCA. Russell and Newby put in excellent shifts and were probably Morton's best performers on the day.

The Morton fans - who had just broke into song - went silent minutes later when McAusland powered home an Andy Dorman corner.

The match finished 1-1 and, as both managers requested, the match went straight to penalties. Unfortunately St. Mirren won 5-4 after misses by Greacen (Howard made a tremendous save) and Weatherson. Newby, Russell, Paartalu and Masterton converted for the Ton. Saints' sinner was former Morton target Tom Brighton but Craig Dargo, Jim Hamilton, Andy Dorman, John Potter and Garry Brady all netted to win the cup.

For videos of all the penalties check out Youtube user discocampbell who has uploaded them here: http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=discocampbell&p=r

Morton (3-4-3 / 3-5-2):

1. Stewart - 7
2. McGuffie - 7
3. Walker - 7
4. Weatherson - 7
5. Paartalu - 6
6. Masterton - 6
7. McAlister - 7
8. Russell - 9
9. Wake (12. Greacen - 12 mins - 7)
10. Newby - 8
11. Finlayson - 6

Subs Not Used:

14. McAnespie
15. McGeough
16. Mitchell

1st Half - Start

McGuffie Weatherson Walker
Finlayson Masterton Paartalu McAlister
Russell Wake Newby

1st Half - 12 mins onwards

Weatherson Greacen Walker
Finlayson McGuffie Masterton Paartalu McAlister
Russell Newby

St. Mirren: Howard, Barron, Miranda (Brighton 74), Mason, Potter, McAusland, Murray (Brady 65), Dorman, Mehmet (Dargo 89), Wyness (Hamilton 65), McGinn.

Subs Not Used: O'Donnell, Smith

My man of the match: Iain Russell

Sponsor's man of the match: Iain Russell

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Sold Out before I could get one.

Greenock Telegraph match reaction: http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/articles/2/26675

Tontastic pictures: http://www.tontastic.com/index.cgi?dir=2008-07-26-RenfrewshireCup-H-StMirren

saintmirren.co.uk match report: http://www.saintmirren.premiumtv.co.uk/page/ManReg/NewsDetail/0,,10295~1351774,00.html


Jeff Forsyth

According to today's Greenock Telegraph Jeff Forsyth (pictured), a defender who was on West Bromwich Albion's books, played as a trialist against Rangers yesterday.

Name: Jeff Forsyth
Age: 20 (14.10.1987)
Position: Central Defence; Right Back
Nationality: English
Height: 5' 10"
Former Clubs: West Bromwich Albion, Halesowen Town

His profile on West Brom's official website described him as a 'no-nonsense centre half who is good with the ball at his feet'.
Forsyth started last season with Halesowen Town but was released after only three first team appearances.

The Tele's David Christie quotes Morton assistant manager Derek Collins as saying: "He had a good game even though he is a little out of condition but that is something we can work on."

Rangers 3 - 1 Morton

A Rangers XI beat Morton 3-1 at Murray Park earlier today.

Charlie Adam gave Rangers an early lead but Brian Wake (pictured) drew Morton level with a header. Daniel Cousin and Andrius Velicka both scored to give Rangers the win.

Of the match Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist said: "We wanted to give everyone a game. We need everyone to be match fit and ready for the season so we took the game with Morton this morning at Murray Park.

"It was a good exercise. Boydy played, Velicka scored his first goal and Charlie also scored. Again it was a good exercise."

A poster called Tigerton posted the Rangers line-up on http://www.greenocmorton.org/: Alexander (Robinson 72); McLachlan, Dailly (Harvey 77), Webster, Wilson (Little 46); Lennon, Furman, Adam (Emslie 63), Fleck (Craig 72); Boyd (Lafferty 62), Cousin (Velicka 62).


Morton Draw Stranraer Away

Morton have been drawn to play Stranraer in the 1st round of the League Cup. The match will be played at Stair Park on either Tuesday 5th or Wednesday 6th August.

The competition has recently changed its name from the CIS Cup to The Co-operative Insurance Cup as a result of the insurance company's moves to rebrand.

The full draw for round one was as follows:
Montrose v Cowdenbeath
Ross County v Airdrie United
Dumbarton v Annan Athletic
Peterhead v Dunfermline Athletic
Stranraer v Morton
Alloa Athletic v Elgin City
Clyde v Queen's Park
Albion Rovers v Raith Rovers
Ayr United v Berwick Rangers
East Fife v Brechin City
Arbroath v Stirling Albion
Partick Thistle v Forfar Athletic
East Stirlingshire v Livingston
Stenhousemuir v St. Johnstone


Morton 9 - 0 Carlton YMCA

Morton 9 - Russell (8, 21, 64, 66), Wake (38), Paartalu (40), Newby (59), Finlayson (74), McGuffie (82)
Carlton YMCA 0 -

Att -

Morton cruised into the Renfrewshire Cup Final with a 9-0 win over amateurs Carlton YMCA.

Iain Russell helped himself to four goals. The first was a back post header from a Jim McAlister cross in the 8th minute. His second arrived 13 minutes later. McAlister was again the provider as his through ball played Russell in behind the opposition defence and the former Brechin man rounded the keeper to score.

In the 38th minute Brian Wake picked up a Kevin Finlayson through ball and finished with ease for number three and Erik Paartalu added a fourth five minutes from half-time when he converted a Jon Newby cut back. This completed the scoring for the first half.

Newby made it five in the 59th minute, the former Liverpool man rounded the keeper but seemed to have taken the ball too wide of goal. He looked up and, from what seemed an impossible angle, curled a shot high over the stranded goalkeeper and into the top corner.

The final four goals were a series of tap-ins. First Russell tapped home his hat-trick in the 64th minute after great work by Ryan McGuffie. Two minutes later he was in the right place at the right time to slot home when Kieran McAnespie's shot rebounded off the post and into his path. Newby seemed to relish his role on the left hand side of a front three and used his pace to get in behind the Calton rearguard and provide square balls for Finlayson and McGuffie roll into the net.

Bring on the St. Mirren!
(Thanks to Russell Gordon for the first half details)

Morton (3-4-3):

1. Stewart - 7
2. McGuffie - 8
3. Walker - 7 (Went off injured in the 2nd half but wasn't replaced)
4. Weatherson - 7
5. Masterton - 6 (12. Mitchell - 57 mins)
6. Paartalu - 7 (15. McGeough - 57 mins)
7. Finlayson - 7
8. Russell - 9
9. Wake - 7 (14. Kerrigan - 57 mins)
10. Newby - 9
11. McAlister - 7 (16. McAnespie - 57 mins)

Subs Not Used:

1st Half

McGuffie Weatherson Walker
Finlayson Masterton Paartalu McAlister
Russell Wake Newby

2nd Half

Mitchell Weatherson Walker
Finlayson McGeough McGuffie McAnespie
Kerrigan Russell Newby

Carlton YMCA: Smith, McCann, Martin, Coyle, Clews, Daly, McCarthy, McDowall, O'Hare, Carnachan, Colquhoun Subs: McGinty, Rhodes, Kininmonth, Pattison, Bell

My man of the match: Iain Russell

Sponsor's man of the match: n/a

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

None for sale.

Greenock Telegraph match report:

www.gmfc.net: http://www.gmfc.net/club-news/news-view.asp?id=344

Tontastic pictures:


Irons Wants Reid And Smith

Davie Irons is desperate to offer Alan Reid (pictured, tussling with Rangers' Mikel Arteta) and Chris Smith full-time deals as soon as possible according to the Greenock Telegraph's David Christie.

Christie also understands that we will not be persuing any of the other trialists who have been with the club recently.


Robinson To Re-Sign In Next 3 Or 4 Days

A snippet in the 'Who's In Who's Off' section of today's News Of the World claims that Morton are set to sign Rangers goalkeeper Lee Robinson (pictured) on another season long loan.

Davie Irons said: "Talks have gone well and we hope to have the deal completed in the next three or four days".

Stevenson Joins Alloa On Loan

Morton midfielder Jamie Stevenson has joined Alloa Athletic on loan until Christmas.

Jamie played in Alloa's 3-0 friendly win over Berwick Rangers yesterday. He played his part in their win by winning a penalty which Steve McKeown converted in the 40th minute.

This is Stevenson's third spell with the Clackmannanshire club.




Stranraer Friendly Cancelled

Morton have cancelled next Wednesday's friendly against Stranraer at Stair Park and will now play Rangers in a closed doors game at Murray Park (pictured) on the Tuesday instead.

The club made the announcement on http://www.gmfc.net/ yesterday afternoon. A few hours earlier the Greenock Telegraph had a story revealing that we had arranged the friendly with Rangers. Explaining the decision to cancel the Stranraer game and play Rangers instead Davie Irons said: “We are fortunate to get these opportunities and it gives the players an idea of what the top level is like."


Dumbarton 0 - 1 Morton

Dumbarton 0 -
Morton 1 - McGuffie (59)

Att - 566

This match can join Tow Law, Ayr United and Hartlepool in the file marked 'mundane and slightly worrying pre-season friendly'.

I think most fans realise that when they attend a pre-season friendly they aren't going to be treated to a cracker of a match but what they do expect is to leave with some positives that bode well for the new season. Morton fans coming away from the Strathclyde Homes Stadium tonight may well feel less than excited about the new season.

The main positive to be taken from tonight is that the defence looks solid and organised - even in the absence of Allan McManus and regular first teamers Ryan Harding and Stewart Greacen. Chris Smith looks to be a find and I fully expect Irons to sign him should the funds be available. We don't look like we will concede many goals.

However, in my opinion there are more negatives than positives. Colin Stewart looks shaky in goal and his kicking is terrible. I really hope we sign a decent keeper who will play ahead of Stewart rather than as a back-up. The midfield lacks creativity especially through the centre. But my biggest concern is the forward line. I just can't see where the goals are going to come from next season. We need a fully fit and motivated Peter Weatherson.

You might not have noticed but we did actually win this match. In the 59th minute Stevie Masterton whipped in a dangerous free-kick from wide on the left. The Dumbarton keeper fumbled and Ryan McGuffie swept home the loose ball.

I can't really recall many more incidents of note except a couple of decent Jim McAlister runs down the left - at the end of which he managed to put in a better standard of cross than we have seen in the past and one where he exchanged passes with Iain Russell and placed his finish just past the post - and a series of offside decisions against Iain Russell, one of which he scored but was obviously disallowed.

In today's Greenock Telegraph Davie Irons said: "...pre-season games don't win you points or leagues it is all about gradually improving" - unfortunately I'm not seeing much improvement.

Morton (3-5-2):

1. Stewart - 6
2. Reid [Trialist] - 6
3. Smith [Trialist] - 7
4. Weatherson - 7
5. Paartalu - 6
6. Masterton - 7
7. Finlayson - 6
8. McGuffie - 7
9. Wake - 5 (12. Newby - 51 mins)
10. Russell - 6
11. McAlister - 7

Subs Not Used:

14. Walker
15. McAnespie
16. Trialist
17. Nicholl [Trialist]
18. Kerrigan
19. Mitchell
20. McGeough

Reid Weatherson Smith
Finlayson Masterton McGuffie McAlister
Russell Wake


My man of the match: Ryan McGuffie

Sponsor's man of the match: n/a

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

None for sale.

Greenock Telegraph match report:

Dumbarton official website match report: http://www.dumbartonfootballclub.com/news/?mode=view&id=2172

Tontastic pictures:

Irons Hopes To Sign Trialists

The Evening Times' Ronnie Cully has claimed that Davie Irons is hoping to sign 'some of the trialists who have been turning out for the club in recent friendlies'. However any signings will depend on the outcome of discussions he is currently having with Douglas Rae to see what money is available.

Cully believes that Irons has been impressed by Chris Smith (pictured), Alan Reid and Rhys Meynell.

Morton v Celtic Update

The Morton XI that started the match against Celtic on Wednesday was:

Colin Stewart, Peter Weatherson, Chris Smith, Dominic Shimmin, Rhys Meynell, Stevie Masterton, Kevin Finlayson, Erik Paartalu, Jon Newby, Brian Wake, Jim McAlister.

They lined up in a 4-4-2:

Weatherson Shimmin Meynell Smith
Finlayson Paartalu Masterton McAlister
Wake Newby

Pictures courtesy of Pie and Bovril poster Stuart_Ayr. You can view more of his pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28646296@N02/


Graham Joins Shire On Loan

Morton striker Brian Graham has joined East Stirlingshire on a season long loan.

He will link up with former Morton manager Jim McInally who told East Stirling's official website: "He's six-foot-one and a real classic target man," said Jim. "He certainly has an eye for goal and is just the kind of player we need.

"I have known for a long time that we were just a bit short in the striking department and we needed a bit of variety. Brian will give us that extra option"



Profile: http://greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com/2008/04/brian-graham-full-name-brian-graham-age.html

Under-17 Trials

Morton will be holding trials for next season's Under-17 squad on Sunday the 21st July.

Anyone looking for further information is asked to contact the club on 01475 723571 or by email at admin@gmfc.net.


Celtic 5 - 1 Morton

According to threads on two Celtic messageboards and one on greenockmorton.org Morton were beaten 5-1 by a strong Celtic side in a bounce game at their Lennoxtown training ground (pictured) earlier today.

There is no indication of the Morton line up but Celtic went with:

Brown, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus,Naylor, Mizuno, Brown, Robson, McGeady, Killen, McDonald.

Subs Used: Donati, Balde, Wilson, Hartley O'Dea (all second half).

Morton - Masterton
Celtic - McGeady (2), Robson (2), Killen


Rhys Meynell

The Greenock Telegraph has named the only unnamed trialist from last night as Rhys Meynell (pictured). The article, by a David Christie, also confirmed that the number 18 was Gary Arbuckle.

Meynell was number five and played at centre half. He was recently on loan at Gretna.

Name: Rhys Meynell
Age: 19 (17.08.1988)
Position: Central Defender
Nationality: English
Height: 5' 11"
Former Clubs: Barnsley, Ossett Albion [loan], Gretna [loan]

Dominic Shimmin

I received an anonymous email tonight that turned out to be quite informative. The person, calling himself Ann Other, contacted me with details of the trialists who have played for us recently.

The number four who played tonight was ex-Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers defender Dominic Shimmin (pictured, above left).

Name: Dominic Shimmin
Age: 20 (13.10.1987)
Position: Central Defender
Nationality: English
Height: 6' 1"
Former Clubs: Arsenal, Queens Park Rangers, Bournemouth [loan], Crawley Town

As mentioned in other posts Rashid Kamara and Alfie Kamara played as trialists in the matches down south. Rashid also played tonight. The other trialist was John Tamba Ngongou (pictured, below).

Name: John Tamba Ngongou
Age: 21 (21.03.1987)
Position: Central Midfield
Nationality: English (eligible to play for Sierra Leone)
Former Clubs: Wycombe Wanderers, Queens Park Rangers, Dagenham and Redbridge, Walton & Hersham, Windsor & Eton, Margate, Waltham Forest


Morton 1 - 2 Hartlepool United

Morton 1 - Masterton (45)
Hartlepool United 2 - Brown (28), Sweeney (90+1)

Att -

Coca Cola League 1 side Hartlepool United won this pre-season friendly with an injury time winner by Anthony Sweeney.

Morton started with a back four composed entirely of trialists (pictured, below). Former Morton player Alan Reid was at right-back with Chris Smith at left-back. I am led to believe that the mixed race trialist who wore the number four shirt was ex-Qpr and Arsenal defender Dominic Shimmin. I thought Chris Smith was quite good and I suspect Davie Irons will sign him up and I also thought the number four was definitely worth another look.

Hartlepool took the lead in the 28th minute. Unfortunately I missed the goal but I'm reliably informed that a shot fropm outside the box was deflected into the top corner and that Colin Stewart was slightly suspect. He got his hands to the ball but only succeeded in pushing the ball into the top corner. The criticisms I've heard were that with stronger hands he could have kept it out. Stewart concerns me. His kicking was suspect all night and there was an incident in the first half when he appeared hesitant in confronting a striker who managed to knock the shot through Stewart's legs but wide of goal.

Morton equalised on the half-fime whistle. Stevie Masterton broke from midfield and had options both sides as Morton looked to take advantage of a 3 on 1 situation. Wake was in acres of space to Materton's left but he ignored him strode on and rifled a shot across Lee-Barrett and into the far corner.

One of the biggest cheers of the night was given to Morton legend Andy Ritchie when he made the 50-50 draw at half-time (pictured, below). Everyone in the stadium got a good view of this as we were all crammed into the main stand with the rest of Cappielow closed off.

Two further trialists appeared after the break. Rashid Kamara - who was with the club down in England - came on and played firstly on the right of midfield and then behind the strikers. He showed some nice skill but, as I said in another match report, he doesn't seem to have any end product. I believe the number 18 was former Clyde striker Gary Arbuckle. He moved to right-midfield when he came on and didn't look any better than what we already have.

Hartlepool won the game in injury time. Peter Weatherson -who came on to play as a right-sided centr-half at half time - missed his clearance and Anthony Sweeney nipped in behind and curled an excellent finish by Stewart to claim the victory. I don't think Peter is cut out for a defensive role in the first division. Hopefully this mistake will put Irons off playing him there next season although it may turn out to be a necessity as regular defender Stewart Greacen and Ryan Harding are set to miss the start of the season.

I wouldn't read too much into this result but I have to say I'm not very encouraged by what I've seen this pre-season.

Morton (4-4-2 / 3-5-2):

1. Stewart - 5
2. Reid [Trialist] - 6
3. Smith [Trialist] - 7 (17. Weatherson - 46 mins - 5)
4. Shimmin [Trialist] - 7
5. Meynell [Trialist] - 6
6. Masterton - 6 (18. Arbuckle [Trialist] - 58 mins)
7. Finlayson - 6 (19. R. Kamara [Trialist] - 46 mins - 7)
8. Paartalu (c) - 6 (14. McGuffie - 46 mins - 7)
9. Newby - 5 (15. Russell - 58 mins)
10. Wake - 5 (16. Graham - 78 mins)
11. McAlister - 5

Subs Not Used:

20. Bradley [Trialist]

1st Half

Reid No.4 No. 5 Smith
Finlayson Masterton Paartalu McAlister
Newby Wake

2nd Half

Weatherson No. 4 No. 5
Arbuckle Reid McGuffie McAlister
R. Kamara
Russell Graham

Hartlepool United: Lee-Barrett (Soutar 46), McCunnie, Clark (Nelson 46), Collins, Robson, Foley (Barker 46), Boland (Sweeney 46), Jones, Monkhouse (Boland 46),Porter (Mackay 53), Brown.

My man of the match: Morton's Trialist wearing No.4

Sponsor's man of the match: n/a

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph match report: http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/articles/1/26274

Hartlepool official website match report: http://www.hartlepoolunited.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10326~1344751,00.html

Tontastic pictures: http://www.tontastic.com/index.cgi?dir=2008-07-15-Friendly-H-Hartlepool

Hartlepool Highlights

Highlights of tomorrow's friendly against Hartlepool will be available on their official website. As you might expect these can only be viewed if you have a subscription to 'Pools World' - a video package that most English teams offer on their official websites.

For fans who will miss the game and and would really like to watch the highlights you can get a 4 day trial for 99p but you must remember to cancel your subscription afterwards as they will automatically take a further £3.99 each month unless you cancel.

The match kicks-off at 7.30pm. Admission prices are the same as they were against Ayr on Saturday:
Adults - £8.00
Concessions - £4.00
Children Under 16 - £2.00


Williams Silences Boo-Boys

After Alex Williams' winning goal at Cappielow yesterday he told the News Of The World that he thought the people giving him stick were idiots while those who applauded him were real fans.

He said: "It's always good to score against your old team. I got a bit of stick from a couple of idiots, but when I was subbed there was a great ovation from the real fans who follow week in, week out".

The Sunday Mail match report included a similar quote: "I got a bit of stick from a couple of idiots. But then I got a nice wee ovation from the guys who supported the team week in week out and that was great. They're the real fans. It's always good to score against your old club and although I got a bit of stick in the main the supporters were brilliant to me."



Morton 0 - 1 Ayr United

Morton 0 -
Ayr United 1 - Williams (57)

Att -

Today Morton lost their first home pre-season friendly of 2008/09 to a very familiar Ayr United team.

The Honest men are managed by former Cappielow favourite Brian Reid and have ex-Ton players Dean Keenan, Alex Williams, Chris Aitken and Andy McLaren in their ranks and, as seemed inevitable, one of those players scored a goal and the winning goal at that. It also seemed inevitable that Alex Williams would be the scorer and it proved to be the case.

Morton started with a full strength side (injuries aside) except that former Hibs, St.Mirren and Ton loanee Alan Reid was in at right-sided centre-half for Peter Weatherson. Former Rangers youngster Chris Smith retained his place at the left side of the back three. As expected Irons has decided not to pursue the three black trialists who played down south.

The match was typical pre-season fayre - an unexciting match, without much incident played at walking pace. This was particularly the case in the first half. In the second half the match picked up a bit. Morton came close to opening the scoring in the 53rd minute when trialist Chris Smith flung himself at a Stevie Masterton cross only to see his header well saved by former Morton target Stephen Grindlay in the Ayr goal. Smith looks like he could be a big aerial threat in the opposition box next season - should we sign him.

Ayr opened the scoring in the 56th minute. Williams showed his striking instinct by anticipating a short back pass. After latching onto it he had all the time in the world to steady himself and smash the ball under Colin Stewart. Alex was treated to boos and shouts of abuse throughout the match but still refused to celebrate his goal and clapped the Morton fans who applauded him (of which I was one and, interestingly, Morton chairman Douglas Rae another) as he was substituted shortly after his goal.

Other Morton chances of note were when Jon Newby rounded Grindlay only to see his shot cleared off the line and Iain Russell fired over the bar from close range.

This was the type of match that explains why so many fans who go to competitive games every week refuse to go and watch pre-season friendlies.

Morton (3-5-2):

1. Stewart - 7
2. Reid [Trialist] - 6
3. Smith - 6
4. McManus (c) - 7
5. Masterton - 7
6. Paartalu - 6 (17. Weatherson - 54 mins)
7. Finlayson - 6
8. McGuffie - 6
9. Wake - 6 (16. Russell - 58 mins)
10. Newby - 6
11. McAlister - 6

Subs Not Used:
12. Nicholl
14. Stevenson
15. Graham
18. Mitchell
19. Kerrigan
20. Bradley

Reid McManus Smith
Finlayson Masterton Paartalu McAlister
Newby Wake

Ayr United: Grindlay, Dempsie, Easton, Walker, Campbell, Stevenson, Borris, Aitken, Prunty, Williams, Keenan.
Subs: McGowan, Weaver, Kinnaird, Woodburn, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist

My man of the match: Colin Stewart

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph match report:

Rashid Kamara

In Morton's recent pre-season tour of the north-east of England Davie Irons took a look at six trialists. Of the six two stood out for me. Those were Chris Smith - who I have already posted about - and Rashid Kamara (pictured, left).

Irons played Kamara in the hole behind the strikers in both his trial matches. He started against Tow Law Town and was subbed in the second half and came on as second half substitute against Durham City. He had nice close control, plenty of skill and the ability to ghost past oppponents. On the downside he was quite small and often made the wrong decision when it came to his final ball. I'm not sure if he will be in the squad tomorrow as I heard that Irons wasn't impressed enough to take anything any further.

Name: Rashid Kamara
Age: 20 (24.02.1988)
Position: Attacking Midfielder; Supporting Striker, Right Midfield
Nationality: Sierra Leonean (with a UK passport)
International Honours: Sierra Leone international (no stats available)
Height: ?' ?" (I'd guess about 5' 6")
Former Clubs: Arsenal, Wycombe Wanderers, Kettering Town, Haringey Borough, Harrow Borough, Waltham Forest


Durham City 0 - 3 Morton

Durham City 0 -
Morton 3 - Wake (18), Paartalu (24), Newby (46)

Att - 200 (at a guess)

This match was played on an articifial surface which would come as a welcome relief to the players after the previous night's game on Tow Law's pitch. Morton started with a full strength side; Chris Smith being the only trialist on show.

Durham looked to be a better side than Tow Law but not that good as Morton won this one fairly comfortably.

The goal-machine Brian Wake opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Stevie Masterton slotted a ball into his path and the Wakester turned and hooked a shot - that may or may not have been deflected - past the Durham goalkeeper.

Erik Paartalu doubled the lead when he strode forward and fired a powerful shot home from about 25 yards - a great goal from a great player. Paartalu looks to me like the player we have been looking for for years. He is good on the ball, rarely wastes possession - passing simply and effectively, he is tall and good in the air with it, he is strong in the tackle and has an excellent long range shot. Erik will be a key man for Morton next season.

A player I have been less impressed with is Jon Newby. Don't get me wrong he hasn't done much wrong and scored our third goal last night when he lobbed the Durham keeper after chasing down a long ball but I haven't seen much to suggest he is as good as some of the comments I've read from Morecambe fans. Although at risk of contradicting myself I think he looks as if he has excellent movement and gets into the right positions at the right time. On that basis I think he will turn out to be a great success or a big disappointment.

The second half had no pattern as Davie Irons threw on substitute after substitute - 10 in total. I'm no football manager but I just can't see how a manager can learn anything from this. Players don't get a chance to get to know how a team mate plays as his team mates are constantly changing and I can't imagine how a trialist can hope to impress in that sort of situation. This also meant that the second half was a non-event with little further incidents. The three black trialists (No one seemed to be sure of their names) and Lee Nicholl appeared as second-half substitutes. Rashid Kamara - the small attacking midfielder - is the only one of the four who I think has any chance of getting a contract. He is skillful and can beat a man with ease. I'd like to see him get a run out against Ayr United tomorrow and see how he shapes up in that sort of match but from what I heard we wont be taking any of the trialists on.

The decision to play Tow Law on their shocking pitch must go down as a mistake but all in all the tour - like most early pre-season tours - was good from a fitness building point of view. MY only concern is that we could've maybe done with playing a better calibre of opposition.

My player of the tour: Erik Paartalu

Morton (3-5-2):

1. Stewart - 6 (20. Bradley - 62 mins)
2. Weatherson - 6
3. Smith - 7
4. Paartalu - 7 (J. Kamara [Def Mid] - 52 mins)
5. McManus (c) - 7 (23. A. Kamara [Def] - 56 mins)
6. Masterton - 7 (17. Nicholl - 46 mins - 5)
7. Finlayson - 6 (22. Mitchell - 67 mins)
8. McGuffie - 5 (R. Kamara [Att Mid] - 58 mins)
9. Newby - 6 (15. Graham - 48 mins) (12. Kerrigan - 65 mins)
10. Wake - 7 (16. Russell - 48 mins)
11. McAlister - 6 (14. Stevenson - 60 mins)

Subs Not Used:

1st Half

Weatherson McManus Smith
Finlayson Masterton Paartalu McAlister
Newby Wake

2nd Half

A. Kamara Weatherson Smith
Mitchell Nicholl J. Kamara Stevenson
Graham/Kerrigan Russell

Durham City:

My man of the match: Erik Paartalu

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

None on sale.

Greenock Telegraph match report: http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/articles/2/26180


Tow Law Town 1 - 1 Morton

Tow Law Town 1 - A. Johnson (58)
Morton 1 - Russell (87)

Att - 100 (at a guess)

Brutal -the weather conditions were brutal, the pitch was brutal (pictured, below) and the performance was brutal. This was definitely a match to forget.

There was little in the way of incident in this match so this match report should be short and sweet. The Lawyers - as Tow Law are affectionately known - took the lead in the 58th minute when Fernando Torres look-a-like Andy Johnson slotted past a stranded Adam Bradley after he left Peter Weatherson trailing in his wake as he latched on to a through ball.

Morton equalised in the 87th minute through Iain Russell. Jamie Stevenson played in Brian Graham who did well to work some space and unselfishly lay on a tap in for Russell.

Stevie Masterton was particularly disappointing. His set pieces - which are supposed to be one of his big strengths - were poor. This was all the more evident after he was subbed off and Peter Weatherson took over and hit the best set piece of the night when he crashied a free-kick off the top of the cross bar.

Chris Smith, Adam Bradley and Lee Nicholl all played against Threave Rovers on Monday and made appearances tonight. I'd say Smith is the only one of those who likes he has a chance of getting a deal. There were also three new trialists - a central-defender, a defensive midfielder and an attacking midfielder. The boys were all black lads with English accents and a couple of names were floating about the Morton fans. A wee check on google and the football manager database seems to suggest that the defender was Alfie Kamara a Sierra Leonese defender formerly of Arsenal and Ipswich; the defensive midfielder was Joe(?) Kamara (pictured, below) but I can't find anything on him and the attacking midfielder was Rashid Kamara. Of the three Rashid Kamara was the only one who was probably worth a further look and Irons seemed to agree as he took the other two trialists off at half-time but gave Rashid a further 20 minutes to impress. He was lively with nice close control, the abilty to take on a man and a low centre of gravity but did look a bit lightweight. It will be interesting to see if any of the three play against Durham tomorrow.

Latest signing Jon Newby was quiet but it would be unfair to read anything into that this early.

Some people might also be interested to know that Jim McAlister got a chance to play right-midfield as Iain Russell started the second half on the left-hand side of midfield. However, Irons
quickly swapped Jim and Iain (Russell was moved up front when Lee Nicholl came on) around so there was little chance to decide would be more effective down that side.

Tow Law finished 7th in the Arngrove Northern League Division 1 last season and although we scraped a 1-1 draw they looked a very poor side. Tomorrow's opponents won said league last season so we can look forward to a better quality match - hopefully.

Next up: Durham City

Morton (3-5-2):

1. Stewart - 6 (20. Bradley - 46 mins - 6)
2. McManus (c) - 6
3. Trialist [Chris Smith] - 7
4. Trialist [Joe Kamara] - 6 (16. Paartalu - 46 mins - 7)
5. Finlayson - 5 (18. Russell - 46 mins - 6)
6. Masterton - 4 (15. McGuffie - 46 mins - 5)
7. McAlister - 7
8. Trialist [Rashid Kamara] - 7 (19. Stevenson - 67 mins)
9. Trialist [Alfie Kamara] - 6 (17. Weatherson - 46 mins - 6)
10. Wake - 6 (12. Nicholl - 65 mins)
11. Newby - 6 (14. Graham - 65 mins)

Subs Not Used:

21. Mitchell
22. Kerrigan

1st Half

A. Kamara McManus Smith
Finlayson Masterton J. Kamara McAlister
R. Kamara
Newby Wake

2nd Half

Weatherson McManus Smith
Nicholl Paartalu McGuffie McAlister
Graham Russell

Tow Law Town: Norton (Allan); Gowland; Hollingsworth; Langthorne; Renshaw (Hutt); Mudd; Henderson; McGuire (Eccles); Benjamin (Johnson, B); Teasdale (Johnson, A); McKie (Dixon).

My man of the match: Rashid Kamara [Trialist]

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph match report: http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/articles/2/26116

Alfie Kamara: http://www.tmwmtt.com/sql/players/profile.phtml?first=Alfie&last=Kamara