Irons: Grady Would Love To Stay

Davie Irons has today stated that James Grady would love to stay at Cappielow and that he hopes Grady will be staying.

When asked by the Greenock Telegraph's Roger Graham if there was a chance Grady's loan will be extended Irons said: “I hope so. I’ll need to sit down with the chairman and James and see if something can be done. He’d love to stay. I know the chairman is delighted with him, but we have to operate within a budget. And we have players who are out on loan due to come back.”

Greenock Telegraph - Irons dreams of major cup run for the Ton (28.11.2008)


Best Mates

With talk of dressing room unrest earlier in the season it was positive to read that Allan McManus is one of his Morton team mate James Grady's best pals in football. In an interview on http://www.gmfc.net/ Grady was asked who his best friend in football is and replied: "There has to be three, although if you ask them they will probably deny it! Allan McManus, Rab Douglas and Paul Lovering."

When asked about his favourite goal he'd scored he went for a volley for Dundee against Dundee United in the 1998/99 season - which you can see in the Youtube clip below (8 minutes and 19 seconds into the video). It's interesting to see the line-ups from that game as there are no less than six players with a Morton connection: Alex Mathie, Robbie Raeside, Jim McInally, Eddie Annand, James Grady and Barry Smith.

Grady also reveals who the biggest poser at Cappielow is and that his favourite football wind up was one used on Derek Collins when they were both at Gretna.

gmfc.net - An Interview with James Grady


Jim's Injury Not As Bad As First Feared

Morton boss Davie Irons has revealed that he was "really worried" when Jim McAlister (pictured, left and below: getting treatment) hobbled from the field after a dirty challenge by Airdrie's Joe Cardle. However, that worry has turned to relief with the news that the injury isn't as bad as he initially thought.

Irons told William Dick (reporting for the Greenock Telegraph): "I was really worried when the stretcher went on, but Jim is walking and we'll assess the injury tomorrow. It's maybe not as bad as I first feared."

Greenock Telegraph - Diamond display is effective football (26.11.2008)

Morton 2 - 0 Airdrie United

Morton 2 - Wake (34), Jenkins (90)
Airdrie United 0 -

Att: 1642

Morton move up to 7th in the league and five points clear of Airdrie in bottom spot with a 2-0 win in this re-arranged match.

Stewart Greacen was restored to the side at Allan McManus's expense after missing Saturday's trip to Dunfermline as his partner was due to give birth. I heard rumours that McManus wasn't happy which is understandable considering he'd started in the wins at Queen Of The South and Dunfermline. Brian Wake replaced James Grady who picked up a couple of niggles at East End Park on Saturday.

This was a strange match. We weren't very good, we weren't very bad but managed to grind out the win. We started by pumping high balls up to Wake and Peter Weatherson and the strike force were dealing with them with varying levels of success. Wakey was causing problems with his physical style; he was bumping into defenders and making a general nuisance of himself while Peter was bringing them down and attempting to link up with the midfield.

We weren't getting much joy from the long balls but Wake's never-say-die attitude paid dividends in the 34th minute. The bushy haired striker charged down a clearance by Airdrie goalkeeper Stephen Robertson - who had taken too long with the ball at his feet - who then proceeded to smash said clearance straight off of Wake. The ball hit Morton's number 10 and kindly fell right infront of him. Wake seemed to take an eternity to get the ball under control and slot the ball into what was an empty net but had a defender racing back by the time he side footed home. However, Wake deserves huge credit for chasing down what was, in effect, a lost cause and thus earning his side the lead.

Wake had a great chance to make it 2-0 towards the end of the half but Robertson made up for his earlier error with a great save. Ryan McGuffie got to the bye-line and drilled the ball across the face of goal; Wake charged in at the back post and met the cross with the inside of his right foot in an attempt to place the ball with a bit of power. Robertson scrambled across goal to block what looked a certain goal. I know I said this was a great save, and it was, but I've always thought there are two ways to look at these sort of chances: is it a good save or a bad miss? In my humble opinion it was as much of a bad miss as it was a good save. Robertson's block was good but Wake shouldn't have given him the chance to make it.

The Wakester did put the ball in the back of the net for a second goal but it was ruled out for a handball in the build up. He did appear to handle the ball as he pushed past the last defender but the referee let play go on for a few seconds before blowing his whistle. From where I was sitting (in the seats at the front of the Cowshed) it was the correct decision so you can't really grumble.

After the interval Airdrie came out with a bullet up their collective arse. Joe Cardle on Airdrie's right hand side looked right up for it and started to run at Chris Smith. Cardle was giving Smith a torrid time with his direct style and exciting dribbling but for all his endeavour and skill he didn't produce much of a threat apart from a couple of decent crosses. He did, however, manage to end Jim McAlister's night with a shocking challenge after Jim had disposessed the Englishman with a superb sliding tackle. The foul earned him a booking and the attention of the Cowshed for the rest of the match.

Former Celtic youngster Simon Lynch had a great chance to equalise when he strode into the box unmarked but Kevin Cuthbert rushed from his line to close him down and made a crucial save by spreading his body using a Peter Schmeichel-esque star jump.

Jim McAlister passed up an excellent chance to make it 2-0 after good work from Weatherson. The left winger - Morton's only ever present this season - collected Weatherson's pass but only managed a weak side footed effort with his left foot. Robertson got down to save but only succeeded in pushing the ball out to Erik Paartalu. The big Aussie drilled his shot off the outside of the post and the ball rebounded to safety.

Airdrie didn't threaten much after this and we wrapped up the win when Allan Jenkins finished off a swift counter attack in the 90th minute. Kevin Finlayson - who replaced McGuffie in the 80th minute - picked the ball up in his own half and sprinted towards the Airdrie goal after riding a couple of challenges he slipped a great reverse pass into Jenkins' path. Jenks burst forward, knocked the ball round Robertson with ease and slotted home to put the icing on the cake.

So, another win, another clean sheet and another three points. We're now up to 7th in the league and move five points ahead of Airdrie who sit bottom of the table. It's good to be a Morton fan again.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Cuthbert - 7
2. MacGregor - 6
3. Smith - 6
4. Shimmin - 7
5. Greacen - 7
6. McGuffie - 7 (16. Finlayson - 80 mins)
7. Jenkins - 8
8. Paartalu - 6
9. Weatherson - 7
10. Wake - 7
11. McAlister - 6 (15. Masterton - 89 mins)

Subs Not Used:

12. McManus
14. Russell
20. McWilliams

Booked: Shimmin, Smith, Wake

MacGregor Shimmin Greacen Smith
Jenkins Paartalu McGuffie McAlister
Wake Weatherson

Airdrie: Robertson, Smyth, Bobby Donnelly, Nixon, Hazley, Cardle, McDonald, McKenna, McLaughlin, Di Giacomo, Lynch (Noble 80).

Subs Not Used: Darren Smith, Brown, McDougall, Hollis.

Booked: Hazley, Di Giacomo, Cardle.

My man of the match: Allan Jenkins

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph match report

BBC match report

The Scottish Sun match report

airdrieunitedfc.com - match report

Tontastic pictures


It's A Girl

Congratulations to Stewart Greacen and Allan Jenkins! Both players had baby daughters within a couple of weeks of each other to become fathers for the first time. Stewart's daughter Chloe was born yesterday morning while Allan's daughter Macie was born on November 11th.

On Saturday Jenkins was given the Captain's armband (pictured, above left, Jenkins [wearing the armband] celebrates with Paartalu) as an additional honour while Stewart was at home as his partner was due to give birth at any time.

Jenkins told the Greenock Telegraph's Roger Graham: “It was a surprise to me, and no doubt to the other players, when the manager made me the captain. He didn’t need to do that but it was a nice gesture and meant a lot to me. It’s always an honour to be made captain, but big Greac is the captain and I’m just keeping the armband warm for him.

“So far everything is great. She is sleeping well and feeding well. People have said that it is the greatest thing to happen to you and they’re right.”

Greacen will be back for tonight's match according to Davie Irons: “Stewart will be back in the squad. He’ll no doubt be high as a kite. It gives me a problem with three good central defenders vying for two places, but I’d rather have that than not have players available.”

However, it's not all good news as there are doubts over James Grady's fitness: "He took a few knocks and is a bit tender at the moment. It will be a late decision on him."

Morton go into this match on the back of some excellent results - four wins in the last five matches - and if you fancy us to continue our winning run you can get 5/4 for a Morton win in Betfred. Elsewhere we are: 11/10 in William Hill, Evens in Ladbrokes and Tote and 10/11 in Coral and William Hill*.

My Prediction: Morton 2-0 Airdrie (and Scott McLaughlin to have a stinker)

Greenock Telegraph - New dad Jenks honoured by captaincy (24.11.2008)

Greenock Telegraph - 'Dad' is back in squad (25.11.2008)

Greenock Telegraph - Win can really push the Ton on (25.11.2008)

*oddschecker.com - Morton v Airdrie win market


Peterhead Match All Ticket

Morton have announced that the Peterhead v Morton Scottish Homecoming Cup 3rd round tie will be all ticket.

Tickets will be available from tomorrow from both Cappielow (between 10.30am and 4pm) and Smiths Sports shop in Greenock.

Tickets will also be available to buy at Balmoor on the day of the match.

Admission prices are as follows:

Adults - £12.00
Concessions (under 16 / over 65) - £6.00

gmfc.net - Peterhead -v- Morton

Dunfermline Athletic 0 - 1 Morton

Dunfermline Athletic 0 -
Morton 1 - Paartalu (24)

Att: 4400

Erik Paartalu's fine strike - and some resolute defending - earned Morton a well deserved victory at East End Park on Saturday.

The only change to the team that beat Queen Of The South two weeks ago was the inclusion of fit-again Dominic Shimmin at the expense of Stewart Greacen. Stewart dropped right out of the squad because his partner is due to give birth any day now. Coincidentally Allan Jenkins was given the captain's armband after he became a father for the first time earlier in the week. Davie Irons said: He’s just become a dad and that’s why we gave him the additional honour of leading the team out today.It’s been a memorable week for him. Stewart Greacen is going through a similar thing, that’s why he wasn’t playing today. His wife is ready to give birth at any minute."

Morton took the game to Dunfermline in the first half. This was epitomised by the strong running of captain for the day Jenkins. One particular incident sticks in the mind; Jenkins picked the ball up in his own half and brushed aside numerous challanges to run the length of the field before losing his balance on the edge of the Pars box. In the eventuality the run came to nothing but it was evidence of the player's desire and seemed to act as an inspiration to the players around him. Former Gretna team mate Ryan McGuffie was also full of running. He pressed the opposition midfield and defence at all times and was always available for a pass in the midfield. This is the kind of performance we all expected from Jenkins and McGuffie when they signed and if they can keep it up I can't see any reason why we can't start to climb the table.

It was another ex-Gretna team mate who scored what turned out to be the winner. Erik Paartalu picked up a loose ball about 30 yards from goal. He seemed to take a bad touch after the ball came to him after Steven Bell's poor clearance. He then got between Stephen Glass and Bell, took a couple of steps forward and drilled a low shot that flew past Paul Gallacher into his bottom right-hand corner. This was an excellent strike, very reminiscent of a goal he scored against Durham City in pre-season.

Glass was disappointed with his failure to stop Paartalu getting a shot away. He told the Pars' official website: "I never really got close enough to the guy. Steven Bell blocked it and it fell between Belly and the guy. He took a touch past me so I couldn't really tackle since the referee had pulled me up for a foul not long before that. I probably should have fouled him but you don't expect him to drill it in like that."

Glass thought he had equalised in the 54th minute. The former Aberdeen and Newcastle man curled a beautiful left footed shot into Kevin Cuthbert's top right hand corner but Mike McCurry had already blown for a foul. The whistle definitely went before Glass struck the ball but I wasn't sure why at the time. After reading the match reports in the Sunday newspapers it turned out Glass had pushed a Morton player to get the ball. Glass felt it was a perfectly legal shoulder barge but thankfully McCurry didn't agree.

We were coming under intense pressure in the second half. Not quite the same as at Palmerston two weeks before but not far off it. However, just like in that game the Morton defence was outstanding. Dominic Shimmin, Allan McManus, Chris Smith, David MacGregor and Kevin Cuthbert formed a resolute back line that looked like it could play all night without conceding a goal. I don't mean that in the way that we were dealing with the Pars attack with ease but that Shimmin and McManus were popping up in all the right positions, Smith was getting his head on everything and Cuthbert was decisive when coming for any crosses. We defended well rather than with ease - if that makes sense.

We could've, and should've, put the game to bed in the last 10 minutes. Brian Wake - on as a late sub for James Grady - bustled his way past Greg Shields (who was the last defender) and found himself one-on-one with Gallacher. The way he stumbled past Shields meant he was slightly off balance but in a strange way the way he was off balance meant his body shape was perfect for a left footed curler around Gallacher. However, Wake readjusted his body so he could take it on his right foot. This meant the ball was stuck under his body and he couldn't get a decent strike on it. He had to stab at the ball and Gallacher made an easy save. My wee brother made a good point when he said that you only realise how bad Wake's shot was when you think that Gallacher was actually able to catch the ball - rather than it hitting off him or him having to parry it - even though it was from point blank range.

Wake missed another chance shortly afterwards but his angled strike slipped past the far post. This chance wasn't as guilt edged as his first chance but still good enough to think Wakey should've hit the target.

We could've lived to regret these misses if Dunfermline had equalised - but they didn't. We held on for another great away win. This makes it four wins in our last five matches including two excellent away wins at two of the form teams in the division. Congratulations to Davie Irons and Derek Collins. I've been very critical of their management since the start of the season but I feel I have to give credit where it's due. They've really got the players playing for them now. Well done!

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Cuthbert - 7
2. MacGregor - 6
3. Smith - 7
4. Shimmin - 8
5. McManus - 8
6. McGuffie - 8
7. Jenkins - 9
8. Paartalu - 7
9. Weatherson - 7 (14. Masterton - 88 mins)
10. Grady - 6 (12. Wake - 63 mins)
11. McAlister - 6

Subs Not Used:

14. Russell
16. Walker
20. McWilliams

Booked: Weatherson

MacGregor Shimmin McManus Smith
Jenkins Paartalu McGuffie McAlister
Weatherson Grady

Dunfermline: Gallacher, Ross (Phinn 76), McCann, Bell, Shields, Scott Thomson, Woods, Glass, Bayne, Kirk, Burke (Holmes 54).

Subs Not Used: McIntyre, Willis, Reidford.


My man of the match: Allan Jenkins

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

dafc.co.uk - video highlights

Greenock Telegraph match report

Greenock Telegraph - match reaction

BBC match report

The Scottish Sun match report

dafc.co.uk - match report

dafc.co.uk - Jim McIntyre's match reaction

dafc.co.uk - Stephen Glass's match reaction

Tontastic pictures


The Dominator's Back

Dominic Shimmin (pictured, left) is fit to take part in tomorrow's match with Dunfermline at East End Park. The defender had missed the Livingston and Queen Of The South matches because of a hip flexer strain but he looks set to take Allan McManus' place in the starting line up after he played an hour of a bounce match against Hamilton Accies at Cappielow on Wednesday and trained on Thursday.

Assistant manager Derek Collins told the Greenock Telegraph's Roger Graham that the manager has a selection dilemma: “Dom played on Wednesday against Hamilton for an hour and trained on Thursday. He had no reaction, so that gives the manager a headache, but it’s a good problem to have. Does he leave alone or bring a very good player back in?”

Colin Stewart is the only injury worry for tomorrow as he has a both an elbow and thigh problem.

It's also interesting to note that we could come up against the son of a Morton legend tomorrow - Jim Holmes (below, left) is Pars midfielder Graeme Holmes' (below, right) Dad.


Morton Chase Ex-Pat Defender Ruesgen

According to a snippet in the soccer shorts section of yesterday's Daily Record Morton are competing with Airdrie United to sign Joe Ruesgen (pictured, left and below).

As far as I can see Ruesgen is a defender who spent some time in the USA playing soccer at college while majoring in Athletic Training. In the summer he left the USA to play for Moldovan side Nistru Otaci. The piece in the Record states that he is currently "locked in a dispute with Moldovan outfit Nistru Otaci". A post on the Morton unofficial messageboard suggests that this is because Nistru are struggling to pay their wage bill.

Full Name: Joseph Ruesgen
Age: 24
Position: Defender
Born: Campbeltown, Scotland
Nationality: Scottish
Height: 6' 1"
Former Clubs: Dominican College Chargers (USA), Newark Ironbound Express (USA),
Current Club: FC Nistru Otaci (Moldova)

Daily Record Transfer Talk November 19 Who's Moving Where In The World Of Football

greenockmorton.org - see post #1 by Montymellor

FC Nistru Otaci squad


Three In A Row For Dom

It's not quite the Irn Bru phenomenal young player of the month award but Dominic Shimmin (pictured, left) has been voted Morton's player of the month for October by readers of this site. Dominic adds this award to the August and September awards he has already secured.

In the regular monthly poll Dominic received 24 out of 40 votes which works out at a 60% share of the total votes. He was well out in front of Stewart Greacen and Kevin Cuthbert both of whom came joint second with 4 out of 40 votes each (10%).

The full results were as follows:

Dominic Shimmin - 24/40 (60%)
Kevin Cuthbert - 4/40 (10%)
Stewart Greacen - 4/40 (10%)
Erik Paartalu - 2/40 (5%)
Jim McAlister - 2/40 (5%)
Peter Weatherson - 2/40 (5%)
James Grady - 2/40 (5%)

Votes so far: 40 Poll closed


Graham's On Fire

East Stirling's Brian Graham (pictured, left) - currently on a season long loan from Morton - has been in good goalscoring form in recent weeks. He netted a double in Shire's 5-2 win over Dumbarton on Saturday and grabbed the winner in a 2-1 victory at home to Annan Athletic last Wednesday.

George Mair focused on Graham's appetite for goals and disappointment at being substituted on Saturday in his match report for The Scottish Sun. He quoted Brian as saying: "There was still plenty of time for a third and it was on my mind at that point because it would have been my first hat-trick. I was gutted but the gaffer told me I’d put in a good shift so hopefully I’ve done enough to start next week.”

So far this season Brian has started 8 matches and made 6 substitute appearances for the Falkirk side. In these matches he has scored 4 goals (the other came against Livingston in the League cup) and received 1 red card (away to Montrose).

The Scottish Sun - Spotlight on Division 3 (17.11.2008)

Brian Graham - profile

We have two other players out on loan at the moment: Jamie Stevenson is with Alloa Athletic and Jon Newby is with Burton Albion - both are set to return to Cappielow in January.

Jamie has started 13 matches and made 1 substitute appearance. His only goal so far was scored against Stirling Albion two Saturdays ago.

Jon has started 5 matches (one of those matches was against Kettering and was shown live on Setanta Sports) and made 7 substitute appearances but he is yet to score a goal.

Jamie Stevenson - profile

Jon Newby - profile


Morton 0 - 0 Celtic XI

Morton 0 -
Celtic XI 0 -


by Russell Gordon

Celtic came to Cappielow for this low key friendly minus the star names, but with a few well known players that have been on the fringes of their first team, such as Paul Caddis, Jean-Joel Perrier Doumbe, Koki Mizuno, Ben Hutchinson and most significantly from the point of view of the home support, former Cappielow loan star Paul McGowan - whose return to Cappielow was unfortunately not how we had hoped and envisaged it.

Morton started brightly and it was Peter Weatherson who had the first chance in the fifth minute, but he screwed his chance high and wide from just outside the box. Three minutes later it was Iain Russell who was to be denied from point blank range. Celtic's Cervi reacted well to send Russell's effort wide having parried McAlister's original effort.

Whilst Morton had most of the play early on, Celtic gradually came more into the game and McGowan was given his chance of a scoring return to Cappielow in 24 minutes after latching onto a poor clearance from Stewart - who had raced out his goal - only to blaze over. However, Stewart atoned just three minutes later when he confidently held Hutchison's effort.

Kevin Finlayson was having a great deal of joy down the left hand side against Doumbe before he was hooked at half-time. He provided Weatherson with a couple of chances which came to nothing. In truth, if Doumbe is the best Celtic have got in that position, especially going by the time of it I hear Lee Naylor's having, it's clear why they're after the lad Sylvinho.

Half-time came and Morton replaced Allan McManus with Ryan Harding. It was to be an eventful second half for the centre-half as he gifted Hutchison a chance from 6 yards out minutes after the restart only for the Celtic striker to spare his blushes by smashing the ball high and wide when he really should have scored.

Morton's best chance of the night came from a defensive mix up reminiscent of the one that gifted Iain Russell the opener at Easter Road earlier this season, but unfortunately Weatherson failed to take advantage of the Celtic defence's generosity. McAlister could also have scored when Russell's acrobatic effort landed at his feet only for him to shoot tamely into the keepers hands from 12 yards.

Then Celtic had faint claims for a penalty as McGowan went down under a challenge from Harding inside the box. From where I was sitting I was pretty sure the claims were merited but the referee waved play on with little complaint. Harding was now having a torrid time as Mizuno forced him into conceding a free kick on the edge of the box which eventually came to nothing. However, with 15 minutes remaining, Stewart had Harding to thank after his goal line clearance denied Hutchison following the keeper's slip on the wet surface.

The game then fizzled out, with only a late Masterton effort which was deflected wide for a corner worthy of note, before, to the relief of the crowd, the final whistle was blown bang on cue.

One irony that was spotted was the lovely Irish tricolour unfurled in the car park during the game with the word "Port Glasgow" emblazoned across it (I'm assuming this belonged to the Celtic support as I've never seen it at Cappielow before). I had a wee chuckle to myself about how the 'Greatest Fans In The World' couldn't be bothered paying a fiver into a game on their own back yard.

Aah, the Old Firm. Haste ye back.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 5
2. MacGregor - 6 (15. Trialist [Colin Marshall]- 80 mins)
3. Smith - 7 (14.McAnespie - 57 mins)
4. McManus - 5 (12. Harding - 46 mins - 5)
5. Greacen (c) - 6
6. Masterton - 7
7. Finlayson - 7 (16. Trialist [Gerard Brown] - 86 mins)
8. Walker - 6
9. Weatherson - 7
10. Russell - 7
11. McAlister - 6

Subs Not Used:

20. McWilliams


MacGregor Greacen McManus Smith
Finlayson Walker Masterton McAlister
Weatherson Russell

Celtic XI: Cervi, Caddis, Doumbe, Cawley, Marr, O'Dea, Mizuno, Millar, Hutchison, McGowan, Conroy

Subs: Gaughan, Carey, Lafferty, Tidser, Tonell, Graham, Giordano


Russell's man of the match: Kevin Finlayson

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

None for sale.

Greenock Telegraph - match report

gmfc.net - result and team lines

celticfc.net - match preview


Jim Naive To Sign Contract Extension

The Scottish football page in the Planet Football section of this month's FourFourTwo magazine has an article about Jim McAlister.

The articles in this section usually look at quirky aspects of a player's personality or career - and this one is no different. There are two main focal points: the fact that Jim had to get a boat from Rothesay to get to training every day before he moved to the mainland - the article is titled: Plain Sailing; Meet Morton's Jim McAlister, possibly the only footballer who catches a fishing boat to work - and that his Dad has a farm and McAlister works on it during the summer.

However, I found the most interesting part of the piece right at the end. Jim isn't quoted directly but the article (I'm not sure who it is by as there is no by line but the Scottish editor is Graeme Thomson) suggests that he was unhappy with the contract extension he signed in December 2007 that ties him to the club until May 2010. It says:

Stellar cup showings this season against Hibs and Inverness Caley Thistle prompted Rangers to monitor his progress, while Motherwell were left frustrated by the 'Ton's desire to retain their talisman. McAlister wasn't told of Fir Park's interest; instead he was offered an extension to his contract to maximise sell-on value.

With no agent to fight his corner, he diplomatically describes his chairman's conduct as "smart" and his own "naive". He's unlikely to make the same mistake twice: "Unlike farming, football's a short career. I want to be the best I can for myself, my family and everyone back home."

It would appear that Jim regrets his decision to sign that contract extension. The last quote certainly suggests he is looking to move on sooner rather than later.


Hate To Say I Told You So But...

On the 20th of October The Scottish Sun's Bill Leckie (pictured, left) urged Douglas Rae and all Morton fans to give Davie Irons more time. Yesterday Leckie followed up on his earlier piece stating that after three wins in four matches Irons is getting there and that Douglas Rae deserves credit for keeping his finger off the trigger.

Leckie seems confident we will avoid relegation and said: "The Ton are off the bottom - and a 4-1 hammering of Queen Of The South at Palmerston's a sure sign that this is no relegation-bound squad."

greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com - Leckie Backs Irons (20.10.2008)


Celtic Friendly

Morton have arranged a friendly with a Celtic XI on Thursday night with a 7pm kick-off. The match will be open to the public and admission prices are as follows:

Adults (Stand and Terracing) - £5
Concessions - £3
Youths - £2
Under 12's Free.
Season tickets will be valid for the match.

The news item on http://www.gmfc.net/ says: "Despite their league game with Kilmarnock the night before, Celtic will be fielding a strong team on Thursday night."

I can't see Celtic fielding a strong team though. I went to see ICT reserves v Celtic reserves (pictured, above left) a couple of weeks ago and of that Celtic line-up (see team-sheet below) guys like Mark Brown, Paul Caddis, Koki Mizuno, Ben Hutchison and Paddy McCourt have all featured in the first team recently. With Celtic going through a bit of an injury crisis and having a match the night before I can only see them fielding a weak reserve team.

For anyone interested the match finished 4-1 to Celtic. Paul McGowan - who spent a season on loan at Cappielow in 2006/07 - scored one and Ben Hutchison grabbed a hat-trick.

gmfc.net - Morton -v- Celtic XI - Thursday 13th November, KO 7pm.


Queen Of The South 1 - 4 Morton

Queen Of The South 1 - O'Connor (49)
Morton 4 - Weatherson (19, 28), Jenkins (37), Greacen (74)

Att: 2944

Morton maintained their superb record at Palmerston with a stunning 4-1 win.

Morton were still without Dominic Shimmin so Allan McManus kept his place in the side. Erik Paartalu came in for Kevin Finlayson - a change which meant Allan Jenkins moved out to right midfield - otherwise Morton were unchanged from the team that lost 1-0 at Livingston last week.

A visit to Palmerston always seems to bring out the best in Peter Weatherson so it seemed inevitable that if we were to score Weatherson would be the man to do it and so it proved. He opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he intercepted Craig Sives headed backpass and slotted past Cammy Bell in the Queen of the South goal.

Spoonsy - or Nelly as he's known in Dumfries - added a second nine minutes later. Jim McAlister went on a mazy run down the left wing; he skipped past Tom Parratt then turned Neil MacFarlane (who has finally shaved off his dreadful Mr. Burns hairdo) inside out before cutting back on himself and whipping over an excellent right footed cross to the back post. Allan Jenkins had peeled off at the back post from where he managed to head back across goal and Weatherson nodded down and into the net after out jumping Andy Aitken.

Everytime we go to Palmerston Weatherson seems inspired. The same can be said of Sean O'Connor who seems to score evertime he plays against Morton. Unfortunately Sean doesn't need to play at Cappielow to score against us - he'll happily do it anywhere. His 49th minute goal was his fifth goal in eight appearances against Morton since his loan spell in 2001/02. Sean smashed the ball through Stewart Greacen's legs and past Kevin Cuthbert to finish off a rapid counter attack that started when Chris Smith had a shot charged down 30 yards from goal. Stephen Dobbie picked up the loose ball, charged forward and passed to Paul Burns who fed O'Connor for the goal.

However, before O'Connor attempted to emulate Weatherson Allan Jenkins had scored to make it 3-0 Morton. A Jim McAlister corner was headed out by MacFarlane but only as far as Jenkins who smashed a stunning volley past Bell from around 25 yards. Jenks seemed delighted with his goal and ran the length of the park to celebrate with the Ton faithful. It's great to see a player who enjoys scoring so much although, in saying that, I'm sure the fact he's Stranraer born and bred and captained his home town team made the goal against their big rivals all the sweeter.

Morton had blitzed Queens with three first half goals and such was the confidence going it at half-time 3-0 up everyone around me started whipping out their fixed odds coupons to reveal their various bets on Morton - we were an excellent 4/1 with Ladbrokes - to check how much their winnings would be and to start planning what they'd spend it on. O'Connor's goal early in the second half ensured some of those coupons were quickly stuffed back in pockets. The half-time confidence was replaced with fear as Queens pounded the Morton goal searching for a second goal. Cuthbert was called into action on numerous occasions and made several excellent saves - the best of which was probably when he tipped David Weatherston's rising drive over the bar. As well as Cutbert being in inspired form luck was on our side. If Queen of the South's players weren't missing sitters or hitting the bar they were smashing shots off Cuthbert's face from point-blank range. In the Sunday Mail match report Peter Weatherson mentioned this save when he exaplined why they are now calling Cuthbert 'The Magnet': "We're calling Kevin 'The Magnet' after all these saves because the ball just flew to him. He even saved one with his face from O'Connor!"

We were under siege and so it was probably a huge relief when we won a free-kick up the other end with quarter of an hour to go. Stevie Masterton - on as a substitute - whipped over a sublime free-kick from out on the right and Stewart Greacen arrived right on cue to meet it perfectly and bullet a header into the bottom corner for his first goal since he scored against Brechin on the 3rd of April 2007. The big defender must've used every one of his neck muscles to generate the power and accuracy he did. An excellent goal. There can't have been many goals that have come so against the run of play and this crushed our opponents who will believe they deserved far more for their second half efforts.

This victory made it three wins in the last four matches and saw us move off the bottom of the table. Maybe, just maybe, we've turned a corner.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Cuthbert - 9
2. MacGregor - 6
3. Smith - 7
4. McManus - 8
5. Paartalu - 7
6. Greacen (c) - 8
7. McGuffie - 7
8. Jenkins - 9
9. Weatherson - 9 (15. Masterton - 68 mins)
10. Grady - 7 (12. Wake - 74 mins)
11. McAlister - 7

Subs Not Used:

14. Russell
16. Finlayson
20. McWilliams

Booked: McManus, McAlister, Wake

MacGregor Greacen McManus Smith
Jenkins Paartalu McGuffie McAlister
Weatherson Grady

QotS: Bell, Parratt (Arbuckle 79), McQuilken, Sives, Aitken, MacFarlane (Simmons 85), Burns, Tosh, Weatherston (Kean 79), O'Connor, Dobbie. Subs Not Used: Halliwell, Reid.

Subs Not Used: Halliwell, Reid.

Booked: Aitken, McQuilken, Tosh.

My man of the match: Allan Jenkins

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Official Teamsheet(Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph match report

Greenock Telegraph - match reaction

BBC match report

Sunday Mail match report

qosfc.com - match report

Tontastic pictures

Phenomenal October For Shimmin

Morton's Dominic Shimmin has been awarded the Irn-Bru Phenomenal young player of the month for October.

The English defender was rewarded for his exceptional performances throughout the month - but he has been excellent all season. Every month I run a poll to find out who the fans think was Morton's player of the month and Shimmin has won both the August and September awards.

Well done Dom!

The full award winners were:

Steven Milne (St. Johnstone) - Player of the month
Dominic Shimmin (Morton) - Young player of the month

Derek McInnes (St. Johnstone) - First Division manager of the month
Michael O'Neill (Brechin City) - Second Division manager of the month
Jim Chapman (Dumbarton) - Third Division manager of the month

bbc.co.uk - Player prize for Morton youngster