Moore Makes Russell Inquiry

According to one of the 'Soccer Shorts' in today's Daily Record Stirling Albion gaffer Allan Moore has made enquiries about signing Iain Russell.

The snippet does not specify whether Russell (pictured, left) would join on loan or not, all it does say is:

STIRLING boss Allan Moore has made enquires about taking Morton's Iain Russell and Partick Thistle's Mark Roberts to Forthbank.

Daily Record - Soccer Shorts (30.01.2009)


Morton Renew Interest In Yantorno

Davie Irons had admitted he will try to resurrect a deal to bring Fabian Yantorno on loan from Hibs after his loan move to Hamilton Accies fell through because they had filled their quota of loan signings for the season.

Irons told the Greenock Telegraph's Roger Graham of his interest in Yantorno (pictured, left): “We are trying to resurrect something. I am in the middle of trying to get it back up and running. I want to see if we can get the player down to Cappielow and have a talk with him before the deadline.”

Yantorno has played against us twice - both for Gretna. He made his unofficial Gretna debut in a pre-season friendly against us at Raydale Park in July 2007 (I described his performance as very impressive in spells). In addition, the Uruguayan - who holds an Italian passport - scored the opener in the 2-2 Scottish Cup tie at Cappielow last season.

Greenock Telegraph - Ton Back In For Yantorno (30.01.2009)

Stevenson Joins Brian Graham At East Stirling

Morton midfielder Jamie Stevenson has joined East Stirlingshire on loan.

The 24 year old - who only recently returned from a loan spell at Alloa and was among the Ton substitutes when we played Dundee a couple of weeks back - will play alongside Brian Graham who is also on loan from Morton.

Jamie (pictured, left) told the Shire's official website he was desperate for first team action: "I haven't really been in the manager's plans at Morton and my contract is up in the summer so I really need to play. When the chance came I jumped at it because all I really want to do is play football on a Saturday. I could sit in the stand at Morton but I don't want to do that. This way I can train full-time during the week and play at the weekend, so it's really ideal for everyone. I got on well with Jim [McInally] at Morton. I had the chance to go to another couple of teams but the chance to work again with him made the decision for me."

This free space may mean that Davie Irons can make a move for Rhian Dodds who has been training with the club. Dodds played in the bounce match against Rangers and was involved when we played St.Mirren in a bounce game at Love Street this Tuesday (27.01.2009).

eaststirlingfc.co.uk - JIM IN DOUBLE SIGNING SWOOP

gmfc.net - Player News


Newby's Loan To End On Saturday

On Monday night I was watching Burton Albion v Barrow on Setanta Sports (incidentally, ex-Morton striker Jason Walker scored a belter for Barrow - his 15th of the season including one against Middlesbrough) and noticed Jon Newby wasn't in the starting eleven or on the bench. I wondered if maybe his loan deal had actually ended on the 31st of December but Burton didn't want to extend it as Morton had hoped - Derek Collins had said: “It’s something ongoing. He [Newby] is keen to stay down there and we are moving towards that situation.”.

I decided to check their website to see what was going on. There were no recent news items on Newby (pictured, above left: in his Burton profile picture) but I did notice that he has started one match and made two substitute appearances for Burton since the 31st of December. With Morton's official website posting nothing - as usual - I decided to email Burton Albion last night. As soon as I opened my emails today I had a reply from the Blue Square Premier side's secretary Rosie Marshall (something Morton could learn from considering I sent an email on the 14th of December and still haven't received a reply), she said: "Jon Newby's loan was extended to 31 January 2009 and is under consideration regarding the rest of the season."

So Jon's loan ends this Saturday and Burton have not decided whether to sign him until the end of the season or not.

McGowan Could've Come Back But Didn't Want To

Contrary to a report in the Scottish Sun it turns out Paul McGowan could've signed for Morton - but chose not to.

McGowan (pictured, left: celebrating winning the second division with Peter Weatherson at Starks Park) told the News Of The World's John McGarry he didn't fancy coming back to Cappielow, he said: "I could have gone to Morton but I have been there, done that. You want something new, a new chapter in your life."


Morton Under-19s 2 - 4 Alloa Under-19s

Morton Under-19s 2
Alloa Athletic Under-19s 4

12pm kick-off
Sunday 25th January
Battery Park

by Chris Silver

Two first half penalties meant Morton were always playing catch up in this one and also ensured Alloa’s counter attacking style would play a major part in the game.

Both teams started slowly but the game burst into life when the 1st spot kick was awarded . A clumsy tackle on the Alloa left winger - who would prove to be quite adept at falling inside the area - saw the referee point to the spot. The spot kick was duly dispatched with the Morton keeper diving the wrong way.

The restart saw Morton take the game to Alloa and we were unlucky not to equalise. Darren McGeough (pictured, above left) - who had returned to the team after a 2 week absence - was proving a menace with some well taken corners kicks; one of which was met by Lee Mitchell but his header went just over the bar .

Several other half chances were also created but Alloa’s backline stood firm. At the other end all of the Ton’s pressure was undone when the referee awarded a second penalty to Alloa. It was a carbon copy of the first ‘offence’ - I have to say that this boy had been educated in the John McDonald Skill School. Again the goalkeeper was left stranded by the resulting spot kick.

Morton got a goal back before half-time with a well taken shot by our number 9 (this lad has come into the team in the last 3 or 4 games and while he still doesn’t look the fittest there is no denying the boy's touch or the quality of his hold up play).

Now we were really pushing for the second goal. However, it was Alloa who increased their lead when a fantastic cross from the aforementioned left-winger was met by their striker at the back post. The Wasps had re-established their 2 goal cushion.

The second half started in rather squally conditions and the onus was on the Ton to get back on level terms. Almost immediately we were back on the attack and some rather shaky handling by the Alloa keeper encouraged the Ton’s rampaging Kenneth MacKay.

A decent ball from the midfield was headed on by MacKay and with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot our number 9 bagged his second of the afternoon.

Alloa had the odd foray forward and one attack ended with the Morton keeper producing a magnificent save to keep his side in the game - but this only delayed Alloa increasing their lead. We were exposed down the right flank and Alloa’s left winger produced another pin point cross which resulted in their fourth and final goal of the rain soaked afternoon (i
t was a challenge for the spectators so the players deserve abit of credit for trying to keep this game going as a spectacle).

Morton Under-19s Results - Season 2008/09


Morton 2 - 2 Livingston

Morton 2 - Wake (13), McGuffie (15)
Livingston 2 - Griffiths (81), Smith O.G. (87)

Att: 2307

A combination of profligate finishing, a terrible defensive error and poor management saw Morton squander a two goal lead in a match that should've been wrapped up before half-time.

The only change to the team that drew 0-0 at Dundee last week was the reintroduction of the fit again Dominic Shimmin at Allan McManus's expense.

Morton sprinted out of the starting blocks and, in a very similar manner to Queen Of The South two weeks earlier, went two nil up in the first fifteen minutes. Brian Wake became our top scorer for the season when he stretched out a leg to flick / skite Alex Walker's excellent cross past an exposed Roddy McKenzie in the Livi goal. As well as Walker's excellent cross Kevin Finlayson also deserves special mention as it was his driving run and lay off for Walker to cross that started the move. Finners put in an excellent shift for the full 90 minutes - something that was recognised by those in hospitality with his man of the match award.

Our second goal came from a very familiar source - a Stevie Masterton set piece. The former Clyde man whipped in an inviting corner that Ryan McGuffie met with a bullet header that flew into the net via the underside of the cross bar. So we were two nil up and flying after just fifteen minutes. The talk between my pals and I turned to how many we would get and how satisfying it would be to get revenge for the 6-1 and 4-0 hammerings last season.

We then proceeded to squander numerous chances with Brian Wake and Jim McAlister the main culprits. In the 27th minute Wake skilfully knocked the ball round a defender and ran onto it however his next touch was dreadful and this allowed McKenize to close him down and block his shot.

Jim McAlister had two one-on-one opportunities but blew them both. To be fair the first was unlucky as he timed his run well to beat the offside trap but McGuffie's through ball hit him on the heels and rebounded to safety. The second was a terrible miss in my opinion. He sprang the offside trap again but McKenzie had raced from his line to close him down. Jim either tried to round him or shoot but whatever it was the ball hit McKenzie and flew up into the air. Some will say it was a difficult chance but I still believe he should've tried to volley the ball into the net with McKenzie stranded but he elected to drag the ball round James McPake who flew back and Dave Mackay who was on the line and roll the ball in but his touch was too heavy and by time he got the ball he couldn't turn and get a shot in and the ball was cleared to safety.

So we went in 2-0 up at half-time but it should've been more. There were now murmurs of how we might live to regret our misses, especially if Livi managed to pull one back.

However, we seemed to pick up where we left off in the first half. Creating numerous chances but, crucially (as it would turn out),not taking them. Wake headered an excellent McAlister cross against the cross bar and over when it looked easier to score.

Then Jim blasted over after arriving at the back post - something that gives me a feeling of deja vu as it seems to happen in every match. McAlister really needs to work on his finishing as this has been a flaw in his game for too long and he doesn't even come close to hitting the target most times, never mind scoring. I've always been one of Jim's biggest fans and most staunch defenders in the face of criticism but apart from his performances against Inverness Caley Thistle and Hibs he is having a dreadful season. I can't criticise him for effort but it looks to me like he needs a spell on the bench but the only problem with that is who to play on the left of midfield.

We were punished for our poor finishing when Leigh Griffiths used his new white boots to smash a stunning volley through a crowded box and into Cuthbert's goal nine minutes from time and again six minutes later when Chris Smith - who had a nervy 90 minutes - inexplicably diving headered former Morton trialist Tony McParland's cross into his own goal with no one around him.

By around the 70 minute mark it was obvious the game was changing. The Morton midfield was porous - Masterton was knackered and McGuffie disappeared after a promising first half. Allan Jenkins or Erik Paartalu should've been brought on to shore up the midfield but Davie Irons waited too long to take action and only put Jenkins on for McGuffie after Livingston had pulled one back and after the Guffster was injured in a tackle and had to be replaced. By then it was too late and our defence had taken to defending on the six yard line (a slight exaggeration but they were incredibly deep) and all our attacking impetus was gone. After the first goal the second was inevitable.

I was absolutely gutted by the two late goals as not only had we thrown away a certain victory but I also had a £20 single on Morton @ 5/4 (pictured, below) and had spent the half-time interval deciding what to spend the winnings on. Such was the gut wrencing disappointment that I choose to walk home myself and stew on the result. On my walk home I listened to Sportsound (and was slightly cheered up by a guy who texted in to say that if anyone has Martin O'Neill's mobile number could they text the Aston Villa manager and tell him he hates him and he hopes his team get relegated as they had cost him £40,000 by failing to beat Doncaster in the FA Cup) and the reporter for our much started his report with the line "Harry Houdini has nothing on Livingston..." and he was right, Livingston didn't deserve a draw, but a combination of wasteful finishing, terrible defending and poor management means we only have ourselves to blame.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Cuthbert - 6
2. Walker - 7
3. Smith - 5
4. Shimmin - 7
5. Greacen (c) - 8
6. Masterton - 6
7. Finlayson - 8
8. McGuffie - 7 (14. Jenkins - 85 mins)
9. Weatherson - 8
10. Wake - 7
11. McAlister - 5

Subs Not Used:

12. McManus
15. Russell
16. Paartalu
20. Stewart

Booked: Smith

Walker Greacen Shimmin Smith
Finlayson Masterton McGuffie McAlister
Weatherson Wake

Livingston: McKenzie, MacKay, Talbot (Miller 62), McPake, Davidson, MacDonald (Jacobs 87), McParland, Griffin, Griffiths, Winters, One [Trialist]

Subs Not Used: Hamill, Halliday, Martini.

My man of the match: Peter Weatherson

Sponsor's man of the match: Kevin Finlayson

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

BBC match report

The Greenock Telegraph - match report

The Greenock Telegraph - match reaction

The Greenock Telegraph - Chris's Feeling Of Woe (26.01.2009)

The Scottish Sun - match report

The Daily Record - match report

livingstonfc.co.uk - match report

Tontastic pictures

Weatherson Is Your Player Of The Month For December

Readers of this blog have shown they do appreciate Peter Weatherson's (pictured, left: celebrating scoring against Partick Thistle on the 30th) recent contribution to the team by voting him their player of the month for Decemeber.

The in form striker won 39% of the vote (17 out of 43 votes) but was pushed all the way by Dominic Shimmin who won 32% (14 / 43) and who has already one three out of the four monthly awards this season.

Stevie Masterton and Stewart Greacen came joint third. Both players also had an excellent Decembers but only secured 6% each (3 /43).

The full results were as follows:

Peter Weatherson - 17 (39%)
Dominic Shimmin - 14 (32%)
Stevie Masterton - 3 (6%)
Stewart Greacen - 3 (6%)
Allan Jenkins - 2 (4%)
Kevin Cuthbert - 1 (2%)
Chris Smith - 1 (2%)
Erik Paartalu - 1 (2%)
James Grady - 1 (2%)


Weatherson Not Appreciated

Morton striker Peter Weatherson has hinted that he doesn't feel appreciated by the club's supporters.

In an article in the Supergoals pull-out in Saturday's Scottish Sun Peter (pictured, left: one of those 'bad moments'; taken after he had just shouted at fans because his substitution in the first half of a 5-0 mauling at Airdrie was greeted with cheers) responded to being told by the reporter that he was in the club's top ten post war goalscorers (I think this statistic was taken from Morton's wikipedia page and this was taken from Neil Brown's statistical website - however, in my research for Morton player records I've sometimes found this source to be incorrect and looking at Peter's stats I have him with one more goal and two more appearances) by saying: "I didn't know I was in the top 10, that's nice to hear. I've had stick over the years, though, and some bad moments. People forget the goals I've scored and that, for two years, I was a defender."


Rhian Dodds On Trial

Former Kilmarnock midfielder Rhian Dodds has been training with the club in order to win a permanent deal according to today's Greenock Telegraph.

The Tele's Roger Graham revealed that Dodds (pictured, left and below: Dodds [far left] standing with Shimmin and MacGregor while talking to Dundee's Anotine-Curier before the match with Dundee) was one of the unnamed trialists who played in the bounce match against Rangers. Derek Collins said: “He played in the Rangers match [a trial game last week] and played his part. He’s available and we were taking a look at him. That’s as far as it goes at the moment.”

Dodds was released by Kilmarnock at the start of this month. Of his decision to let Dodds go Killie manager Jim Jeffries said: "The numbers are up a wee bit and, if we want to bring someone in, we have to make way. If we were to offer Rhian a contract, it would be difficult to bring anyone else in and our priority is to try to get a striker in."

The Scottish born Canadian midfielder (he has been capped by Canada at under-23 and under-19 level and was member of their senior squad for the 2005 Gold Cup but didn't play - pictured, below) was an unused substitute when we beat Kilmarnock 3-1 in the Scottish Cup two years ago but did play against us while on loan at Dundee this season. Dodds was part of the Dark Blues team that lost 2-0 at Cappielow in October.

Full Name: Rhian Dodds
Age: 29 (03.10.1979)
Positions: Central Midfielder
Born: Irvine, Scotland
Nationality: Canadian
International Honours: 3 Canada Under-23 caps, 1 Under-19 cap
Height: 5' 9"
Former Clubs: Robert Morris Colonials (Canada), Kilmarnock, Dundee [loan]


Dundee 0 - 0 Morton

Dundee 0 -
Morton 0 -

Att: 3736

Morton left Dens Park with a well deserved draw after a battling 90 minutes earned us our first away point at Dens Park in over 11 years. On that occasion, in November 1997, a Warren Hawke header secured a 1-0 win and had the Ton fans singing 'Morton are back' on the sandy windswept terrace.

I think everyone expected the manager to go back to four at the back after his experimentation with a back three lead to a chaotic start - in which we conceded two goals in the first twenty minutes - against Queen Of The South two weeks ago - and that's exactly what he did. Chris Smith returned at left-back, Alex Walker moved over to right-back and Allan McManus replaced Shimmin who was out with a hamstring strain. In midfield Allan Jenkins was the unlucky midfielder who dropped to the bench to accomodate Smith in the back four and Brian Wake partnered Peter Weatherson in James Grady's absence.

Morton had much the better of the first half and former Scotland goalkeeper Rab Douglas was called into action on numerous occasions - something that would eventually earn him the sponsor's man of the match award. First he saved from a Weatherson shot then did well to turn McGuffie's low effort wide for a corner.

Douglas's best save sparked off a huge scramble that you just couldn't believe we failed to score from. First Douglas made a superb one handed save to block a McGuffie header after he connected with a Stevie Masterton corner. The ball rebounded to Wake who looked like he was going to score but the shot was blocked and Craig McKeown eventually cleared after a scrum in the six yard box.

Dressing room DJ Masterton also came close to giving us the lead from a couple of his trademark free-kicks. His first from the edge of the box went narrowly wide while his second from around 30 yards had Douglas beat but hit the post and went wide. Masterton wasn't happy with his efforts though: "I should have done better with the free-kicks. I think I made it pretty easy for big Rab to save them, a part from the one which hit the post."

This season I've been monitoring our assists and it's interesting to note (well I think so anyway) that quite a lot of our goals haven't been directly set up by a team mate (of the 40 goals we have scored this season I have only recorded 23 direct assists). If you think about it we don't have wingers getting to the by-line and whipping over crosses (Finlayson and McAlister have three assists between them) and neither do we have an attacking midfielder threading balls through for pacey strikers to run onto. The whole point of me mentioning these assists is to highlight how important Stevie Masterton's contribution to the team is becoming. As I mentioned earlier on both of the occasions we came closest to scoring he was at the heart of it. It was his corner that Douglas thwarted McGuffie from and his free-kick that struck the base of the post. He is currently top of the assists table on 5 and has scored 5 goals. In the four matches before this one we'd scored six goals, Masterton scored two goals, set-up two and had a big hand in another ( it was his free-kick that Greacen headed on for Wake to flick past Tony Bullock in the Ross County goal). I've said it before but, for me, the threat Masterton poses from set pieces means that he should be first pick in the centre of midfield. The only problem is that we are becoming a bit one dimensional and don't look like scoring from other avenues.

So, 0-0 at half-time. I think we shaded the first half and probably deserved more than to be level at this point.

Dundee's best chance of the match arrived in the 69th minute. Mikael Antoine-Curier's shot was badly spilled by Cuthbert but one time Morton target Colin McMenamin managed to fire over with the goal at his mercy. Before the game I was reading in the Dundee programme how McMenamin has been in decent form after his recent recall to the starting line-up under Jocky Scott but you might see him back on the bench next week after this miss.

Apart from this chance there wasn't much else of note in the second half other than McManus leaving the pitch injured and to say that Greacen was, once again, colossal at the back. The Morton captain was in inspirational form and Bobo Balde-esque (and I mean that as a compliment based on the way Balde performed around about 2003 in the season Celtic got to the UEFA cup final) in the way he was willing to throw any part of his body in front of the ball to stop a shot heading towards goal. One courageous diving header in the closing stages springs to mind.

I'm happy to come away from a venue like Dens Park with a draw but there's no reason why we can't start going to places like this and coming back with all three points. We just have to start creating more from open play.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Cuthbert - 7
2. Walker - 7
3. Smith - 7
4. McManus - 8 (12. Jenkins - 78 mins)
5. Greacen (c) - 9
6. Masterton - 7
7. Finlayson - 6
8. McGuffie - 7
9. Weatherson - 6
10. Wake - 7
11. McAlister - 6

Subs Not Used:

14. Russell
15. Paartalu
16. Stevenson
20. Stewart

Booked: McManus, Greacen

Walker Greacen McManus Smith
Finlayson Masterton McGuffie McAlister
Weatherson Wake

Reshuffle for the last 12 mins

McGuffie Greacen Smith Walker
Finlayson Jenkins Masterton McAlister
Weatherson Wake

Dundee: Douglas, Paton (Posniak 59), Malone, McHale, McKeown, Lauchlan (Cowan 26), Daquin, Shinnie, McMenamin, Antoine-Curier, O'Brien.

Subs Not Used: Young, Deasley, Roy.

Booked: McHale, Shinnie.

My man of the match: Stewart Greacen

Sponsor's man of the match: Rab Douglas (Dundee)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match Ticket

BBC match report

The Greenock Telegraph - match report

The Greenock Telegraph - match reaction

The Scottish Sun - match report

The Daily Record - match report

dundeefc.co.uk - match report

Tontastic pictures


McGowan Couldn't Have Joined Morton

Former Morton loan star Paul McGowan couldn't have returned to Cappielow on loan even if he wanted to as Celtic had told him they only wanted him to join an SPL team.

Gowser (pictured, left: playing in our Scottish cup win against Kilmarnock) told the Scottish Sun's Paul Hughes of his move to Hamilton Accies: "It was always going to take an SPL club to get me back out on loan. Celtic didn’t want me going to the First or Second Division. They wanted to see if I could handle it in the SPL so it’s a challenge for me to see how well I can play"

McGowan - whose Celtic contract expires in the summer - also told Hughes that his Second Division title medal with Morton is his favourite footballing moment so far - ahead of making an appearance in the Champions League this season: "The Second Division medal McGowan won at Cappielow two years ago still holds pride of place for him. After making his Champions League debut in the 2-0 win over Villarreal, though, the youngster admits that memory is a close second."

The Scottish Sun - The Door's Not Closed At Celtic (15.01.2009)


Two Attacking Midfielders On Trial

Davie Irons has revealed that the two trialists who played in the bounce match against Rangers were both attacking midfielders.

The Greenock Telegraph's David Christie writes that Irons was not keen to name the trialists but he did say: “They are both attacking midfielders. It is something I would like to have in our side, something a wee bit more creative in the final third. They got wee knocks in the Rangers match so we will give them a chance to recover before making any decision. One is a younger lad, the other more experienced. I don’t want to say too much at this stage, but one is from the SPL and another from an English side."

Christie's article also mentions that Jamie Stevenson (pictured, left) - who returned to the club in January after a loan spell at Alloa - has not been written off by Irons. The Morton manager suggests that Stevenson can force his way into the team.

In other news a 'Ton side made up of mostly fringe players and under-19s beat Ayr United 2-1 at Glasgow Green on Monday. Peter Weatherson and Iain Russell scored the goals.

Greenock Telegraph - Season-shaper On The Horizon (15.01.2009)

John Maisano On Gladiators

Former Morton player John Maisano appeared on Sky 1's Gladiators tv programme with his wife Leanne last Sunday - and going by his comments on the show he thought the experience was 'awesome' and the 'biggest rush ever' (surely not a bigger rush than winning a title as a Morton player though).

John (pictured, left) - who played an integral part in our 3rd division championship winning season in 2002/03 - competed in a series of gruelling events (powerball, hang tough, the wall and gauntlet) in which he performed very well. Unfortunately, he came up against a tough opponent and went into the final event, the eliminator, trailing by six points. This meant his opponent had a three second head start. John put in an admirable effort but it wasn't enough as he finished second.

The Aussie midfielder wasn't a very combative player (that was more his brother Marco's forté) but after watching the show I thought it was really evident that he had the competitive edge and mental strength needed to make it as a sportsman. I could see why he had attended the Australian Institute of Sport, why he'd played in two World Cups at youth level (under-17s and under-20s) and why he was with Serie A side Atalanta as a boy. John certainly had the talent but something was missing - I'm not sure if he was lazy, unfit or his heart wasn't in it but you just don't go from Italy's Serie A to being released by Stranraer for nothing. I really liked John and whenever I think on his time at Morton - particularly matches like the League cup tie against Dundee United at Tannadice in which he was outstanding - it always frustrates me thinking of what might've been.

You can still watch the episode if you have Sky +. On your remote press 'tv guide' then the red button for 'Anytime TV'. The show is available to watch until Monday the 19th of January.

Greenock Telegraph - Knockout (13.01.2009)


MacGregor To See Specialist

Injury blighted Morton defender David MacGregor will see a specialist on Monday to decide how to tackle his groin problem.

MacGregor (pictured, left) tried to train on Monday but admitted to the Greenock Telegraph's Roger Graham that he wasn't ready: “I tried to train today [Monday] but it was really sore. It’s giving me a lot of pain and I’m obviously not ready. As sore as it is physically, it is just as tough mentally."

The long serving defender will miss Saturday's trip to Dundee. This will mean Morton boss Davie Irons will have to reshuffle the defence for the second match in a row. I can't see him going with three at the back - which he used against Queen Of The South at Cappielow in MacGregor's absence - away to Dundee.

Greenock Telegraph - Defender must battle back to fitness again (13.01.2009)


Stuart Duncan's First Board Meeting

Stuart Duncan will attend his first board meeting this Thursday (15th January) and would like Morton fans with any concerns to get in contact with him so he can bring it up with the club.

On his Trust Director blog Stuart says that so far he hasn't received any questions or concerns from Morton fans: "Well, my first board meeting is coming up on Thursday. So far nobody has emailed me with any concerns. Don't tell me that Morton supporters don't have any questions or concerns that they would like addressed."

You can email Stuart at info@gmst.org.uk if you have anything you'd like to ask.

gmfctrustdirector.blogspot.com - Board Meeting Thursday 15th January


Shimmin Prefers A Back Four

In my match report for the recent 2-2 draw with Queen Of The South I commented on Dominic Shimmin's apparent confusion with the back three Davie Irons decided to play in David MacGregor's absence: "Shimmin appeared to come in for most of the criticism [from Irons after we conceded the second goal] with the manager gesturing for him to start talking to his team mates and organising the team. However, from what I could see Dominic wasn't happy and gestured back in a way that implied the defence didn't know what they were supposed to be doing. He then started to shake his head - like most of the fans."

In today's Greenock Telegraph Dominic (pictured, left) seems to confirm this in a round about way. He tells the Tele's Roger Graham: “For me, I’m much more comfortable in a back four. I’d never played in a three until I came to Morton.”

I think it was obvious the defence - and as a result the whole team - was uncomfortable with the back three; I hope Irons takes Dominic's comments on board and reverts to the back four that was so successful in the second quarter of the season. Even though MacGregor is injured Irons could still go with Alex Walker at right-back, Chris Smith at left-back with Stewart Greacen and the Dominator in the centre.

Read the full article here: Greenock Telegraph - Confident Dom (09.01.2009)


Deuchar's Appearance Was Just A Favour

Real Salt Lake striker Kenny Deuchar wont be signing for Morton on a temporary loan it emerged today.

Deuchar played for the 'Ton in a friendly against Rangers at Murray Park yesterday sparking rumours that we must be set to sign him on loan in a move reminiscent of David Beckham's transfer to AC Milan. However, the Greenock Telegraph's Russell Steele has revealed that we will not be making a move for Deuchar and that we only played the former Gretna man as a favour.

Irons said: “It was a bit of a favour on our part to Kenny, and for him back to us. He is still an MLS player at this moment and unless that changes in future that’s as far as it goes. It was a workout for Kenny. He is due back out in the States at the beginning of February and this was really just an opportunity for him to get a game and help us out too at the same time. He enjoyed it. We have a good relationship with Kenny, having worked with him at Gretna, and maybe it could benefit us further down the line. You never know.”

The article also mentions that we had a couple of trialists in the team: “A couple of trialists played at Murray Park and caught the eye. We will keep monitoring the situation with them but there is no movement to report as yet.”

Greenock Telegraph - Doctor Won't Provide Ton-ic (08.01.2009)


Rangers 1 - 0 Morton

A Morton team including Kenny Deuchar (pictured, left) lost 1-0 to Rangers in a bounce match at Murray Park earlier today. Chris Burke scored the winning goal.

According to Rangers official website Deuchar played for Morton because it is the off season in Major League Soccer. I'm not sure if this means he will play for us on loan from Real Salt Lake for a few months - like David Beckham is doing with AC Milan, Landon Donovan is doing with Bayern Munich and Cuauhtémoc Blanco is doing with Santos Laguna in Mexico - or simply played to keep up his fitness.

Going by the pictures on Rangers website the Morton team included: Alex Walker, Jim McAlister, Kenny Deuchar and Chris Smith.

Rangers: Alexander; Whittaker, Dailly (Wilson 70), Webster, Smith; Burke (Aaron 54), Naismith, Adam, Beasley (Efrem 54); Lafferty (Fleck 44), Velicka

rangers.premiumtv.co.uk - Webster Back In Blue


Arbuckle Doesn't Blame Shimmin

Gary Arbuckle's manager might think Dominic Shimmin was responsible for his triple leg break but Arbuckle doesn't.

In today's Scottish Sun Arbuckle (pictured, left: playing for Morton as a trialist against Hartlepool in July 2008) told Ronnie MacKay that he doesn't blame Shimmin. He said: "But I don’t blame Dominic for the tackle — he is a hard player and it’s one of those things. It was a hard tackle. He came in from the side and I was quite close to the touchline. He was obviously trying to put the ball out but I never saw him coming as I was ready to run down the line. It was a strong challenge, unfortunately this is the result. It was very painful and I realised quickly I had probably broken it.”

The Queen Of The South striker also revealed that he has spoken to Dominic after Stevie Masterton - a former teammate at Clyde - gave the big defender his number to contact to him: “I spoke to Stevie Masterton, who is a pal of mine from when we were at Clyde, and he told me that Dominic was concerned. He passed my number on to him so he could speak to me."

The Scottish Sun - I Don't Blame You For Break (06.01.2009)

Chisholm Blames Shimmin For Arbuckle Injury

Morton defender Dominic Shimmin has come in for a lot of criticism in the press today after his tackle on Queen Of The South's Gary Arbuckle (pictured, left) resulted in the striker suffering either a double leg break (according to the Queens website) or a triple leg break (according to a Gordon Chisholm quote in the Scottish Sun).

In the Daily Record Kenny Macdonald's match report opens with the line: "GORDON CHISHOLM launched a furious attack on Dominic Shimmin after the Ton stopper's horror tackle left Queens striker Gary Arbuckle with a triple leg break." While Chisholm is quoted as saying: "I said after the match that I knew their defender was going to take everything out with the challenge and even now I cannot see how it wasn't a booking. The injury says it all - Gary's leg is broken in three places. I am not saying it was intentional but it was certainly not a normal tackle. I had seen him doing it twice in the second half by taking everything out, the ball goes first and his momentum follows through on Gary. He wasn't going to miss him."

The Scottish Sun's report is similar. The headline for their article is 'Domstruck: Chis blasts Ton ace over Gary's triple leg break agony' and includes the same quote as the Record. Both match reports use the incident as the main talking point.

Morton manager Davie Irons defended Shimmin in today's Greenock Telegraph. He said: "Dominic Shimmin has won the ball clearly. He is a very aggressive type of player, but he certainly doesn't go into hurt people."

However, I'd like to give the final word to a Queen Of The South fan, Distant Doonhamer, who posted on Pie and Bovril to give his take on the tackle: "I had a perfect view of the tackle. It was extremely hard but fair. Not 2 footed, not through the back and he clearly got the ball first. Irons is a tube but he is correct on this one. I would indeed show Shimmin the door- the door into Palmerston. From what I`ve seen the best central defender in the league and certainly not a dirty player"

You can see the tackle at 8.24 in the video below.

qosfc.com - Gary Out With Broken Leg

Scottish Sun - match report

Daily Record - match report

Greenock Telegraph - Ton Leave It Late At Cappielow (05.01.2009)

Distant Doonhamer's post on Pie and Bovril


New Year Updates

Like the Christmas week the days around New Year have been really busy for me so I haven't had a chance to post news updates or full match reports however full service will resume tonight when I finally get a chance to add match reports for the Partick Thistle and Queen Of The South matches. I'd also like to take the chance to catch up on some Morton news in this post.

Player News

Dumbarton have signed Kieran McAnespie (pictured, left) on loan until the end of the season.

Greenock Telegraph - McAnespie On Way Out (03.01.2009)

dumbartonfootballclub.com - Sons Sign McAnespie

Morton have signed James Grady on a permanent deal after Hamilton Accies released the 37 year old from his contract. Grady - who has been on loan at Cappielow since October - has signed until the end of the season.

gmfc.net - Player News

Acciesfc.co.uk - Players On The Move

Ex-Rangers defender Chris Smith has extended his contract until the end of the season. When Smith signed for us in September neither the club nor the media revealed the length of his contract but we now know this must've only been a short term deal.

gmfc.net - players news

Davie Irons is trying to extend Jon Newby's loan spell with Burton Albion.

Greenock Telegraph - McAnespie On Way Out (03.01.2009)

We recently failed in a bid to sign Fabian Yantorno from Hibs. Irons told the Greenock Telegraph of his bid: “Fabian is a player I would have liked to bring here. I have huge admiration for him, but right now he is in Hibs plans so unless that changes, I don’t see it happening. We have not been getting any encouragement from Hibs end, but if the situation changes, then we’ll see."

Greenock Telegraph - McAnespie On Way Out (03.01.2009)

Jamie Stevenson has returned to Cappielow after his loan spell with Alloa ended on the 31st of December. Alloa's official website explained the situation in a news item: "As Jamie was over 23 years of age, loans can only be for one transfer period and therefore Jamie had to return to Greenock Morton on the 31st December, 2008."

alloaathletic.co.uk - Jamie Stevenson

Morton 2 - 2 Queen Of The South

Morton 2 - Weatherson (33, 90+4)
Queen Of The South 2 - Wilson (7), Arbuckle (19)

Att: 2647

Morton snatched a two all draw when Peter Weatherson scored three seconds from full-time.

There were a couple of changes to the team that beat Partick Thistle; Kevin Cuthbert came back in to replace Colin Stewart after suspension (even though Stewart kept a clean sheet against Thistle) and Ryan McGuffie returned to the starting line-up to replace David MacGregor's who has a slight groin strain. Davie Irons decided to go with a back three instead of the usual four. This meant that McGuffie was in a familiar midfield berth while Stewart Greacen, Dominic Shimmin and Alex Walker formed a back three.

The aforementioned back three was unorthodox to say the least. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not but the back three looked to be set up as a back three without a right back. Shimmin and Greacen played centrally but Walker appeared to be further left than he should be. In fact he seemed to be in the position you would expect if he was playing left-back. I believe that the strange defensive set-up was instrumental in us going two down before the twentieth minute.

The first arrived in the seventh minute. Former Inverness Caledonian Thistle midfielder Barry Wilson strode onto a deflected shot ahead of a static Morton defence and curled the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot. Wilson is a player I've always rated and I was very impressed with his contribution on Saturday. At 36 he still has a lot of the quality he had eight or nine years ago - when I believe he was at his peak. I particularly remember a game up in Inverness in season 1999/00 in which Caley won 6-2 and he scored an absolute beauty and basically ran the game. A couple of weeks back lazy_ar*e_student posted on the Morton messageboard to ask "Could this [Barry Wilson] be a realistic signing for Morton (with his age he may wish to stay up north), would he offer something different to the squad?" , I replied that he was too old - I think I was wrong.

Gary Arbuckle made it two in the 19th minute. The former Clyde and Celtic man who played a trial match for us against Hartlepool this summer smashed one in off the post after a Stevie Tosh flick on. Once again the defence were all at sea and Irons went absolutely mental in the dug out. Shimmin appeared to come in for most of the criticism with the manager gesturing for him to start talking to his team mates and organising the team. However, from what I could see Dominic wasn't happy and gestured back in a way that implied the defence didn't know what they were supposed to be doing. He then started to shake his head - like most of the fans.

Minutes later Morton were forced into a change when Brian Wake replaced James Grady who had a knee knock according to Roger Graham in today's Greenock Telegraph.

Peter Weatherson threw the home side a lifeline with a superb header in the 33rd minute. Kevin Finlayson passed back to Stevie Masterton who whipped in a decent cross from a deep position. The goal was all about the header though as Weatherson had to come away from goal to meet the ball and then angle his neck to glance the ball towards goal. Not only did he manage all this but he also got sufficient power on the header to beat Lee Robinson - who was on loan with us last season - from around the penalty spot. An absolutely superb goal from a player in great form.

The second half was the Steven Nicholls show. The over officious referee was having a terrible match and looked to me like he'd never officiated a match in his life before this one. He was insistent on every free kick being taken from the exact spot the foul was committed something that is technically part of the rules but not really practical if you want a match to flow. In one incident he wanted to make sure a Queen Of The South defensive wall was a sufficient distance from the ball at a free-kick. However, Nicholls only marched eight steps. Allan Jenkins noticed this and went spare at the ref earning himself a booking for dissent. The crowd were also quick to notice this and on his next attempt counted out the ten paces for him to much laughter in the Cowshed afterwards.

One of the main stories to emerge from this match, something that has grabbed all the headlines is the double leg break Arbuckle suffered after a tackle from Shimmin. Queens gaffer Gordon Chisholm hasn't been shy in expressing his fury at Shimmin suggesting that the Englishman had been making dangerous, unorthodox tackles throughout the match. However, in the Cowshed the tackle looked fair, on the Youtube video (above) from what you could see of it the tackle looked fair, in the picture in today's Sun the tackle looked fair and according to a Queens fan on Pie and Bovril the tackle looked fair. In conclusion the tackle was fair and Chisholm should stop bumping his gums. Incidentally, The Dominator was back to his excellent best. The boy should be playing in the SPL or in a decent league in England no dount about it.

From a Morton perspective the real drama was Peter's 94th minute equaliser. After a series of ineffective long throws by Erik Paartalu Greacen decided to take one rather than waste time by allowing the big Aussie to continue running from side to side to take them. This worked a treat because at 6' 5" Paartalu is more effective at causing problems from throw ins by winning flick ons than throwing the ball. His flick fell to Weatherson who swivelled and hooked a stunning shot past Robinson who sank to the turf distraught as the whole Morton team and crowd went mental chasing the goalscorer who had, yet again, scored against his old team. In his last seven games against the Doonhamers he has scored five goals.

This was a decent point to take after going two-nil down but lets hope we get back to a four as soon as possible.

Morton (3-5-2):

1. Cuthbert - 6
2. McGuffie - 5
3. Walker - 6
4. Shimmin - 9
5. Greacen (c) - 7
6. Jenkins - 6 (15. Paartalu - 78 mins)
7. Finlayson - 6
8. Masterton - 7
9. Weatherson - 9
10. Grady - 3 (12. Wake - 21 mins - 6)
11. McAlister - 5

Subs Not Used:

14. Russell
16. Smith
20. Stewart

Booked: Masterton (not Finlayson as the BBC says), Jenkins

Greacen Shimmin Walker
Finlayson Jenkins Masterton McGuffie McAlister
Grady Weatherson

QotS: Robinson, Reid, Harris, MacFarlane, Barr, Thomson, Wilson (Scally 87), Tosh (O'Connor 70), Arbuckle (Weatherston 83), Robertson, McQuilken

Subs Not Used: Dobbie, Halliwell.

Booked: McQuilken, Harris, MacFarlane.

My man of the match: Peter Weatherson

Sponsor's man of the match: Dominic Shimmin

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

BBC match report

The Greenock Telegraph - match report

The Greenock Telegraph - match reaction

The Scottish Sun - match report

The Daily Record - match report

qosfc.com - match report

Tontastic pictures