Turnstyle Delays

Morton have urged fans to get to Cappielow earlier than usual tomorrow as there may be a chance of delays at the turnstyles. The club has been carrying out maintenance work at turnstyles throughout the ground during the week and this is expected to cause slight delays at the gate.

gmfc.net - Match Admission


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

Dunfermline Athletic Under-19s 4 -
Morton Under-19s 2 - Gordon (2)

2pm kick-off
Sunday 22nd February
Dalgety Bay Sports Centre

by Chris Silver

ItalicMorton under-19s were masters of their own downfall as they went down 4-2 to Dunfermline's under-19s on Sunday.

Allan McManus made several changes to the team that lost 5-2 to Raith Rovers in the last match. In defence Anthony Houston replaced Scott McNab at right-back and an unknown debutant partnered Paddy - whose second name I'm not sure of and whose presence against Raith was sorely missed - in the centre. Kieran Cannon started in goal after his appearance as substitute for the first team at Firhill the day before and Troy McKerrell replaced Darren McGeough in the midfield.

Morton have a habit of making things difficult for themselves and today was no exception, within 3 minutes from the start the 'Ton were a goal behind. Paddy and a Dunfermline striker challenged for a speculative long ball from their right-back but the ball went over their heads and presented the other Pars striker with a chance. He evaded his marker with a fine touch to his left on the edge of our box and before smashing the ball past Cannon (pictured, above left), who got his first touch of the ball when he picked it out of the net.

We were stunned by the set-back but gradually gained in confidence as the first half wore on. Our first chance came on the half hour mark after good work on the left by Chris 'Limo' Gordon and Nathan Shepherd. Shepherd made an overlapping run and whipped over a deep cross which was met by Daniel Friel. Friel's first touch took him beyond the full-back but he was quickly closed down and his hurried shot went high over the crossbar.

Morton were on top and pushing for an equaliser with the three in midfield, three up front and the rampaging Shepherd at left-back all impressing. However, just as we looked as if we might score Dunfermline increased their lead. Cannon mishit a clearance which went out of play on the Morton right. From the resulting throw in a Pars midfielder managed to create a bit of space to drill a low cross across the six yard box. Everyone failed to connect with the cross until their outside left gained possession, he dragged Shepherd towards the touchline before turning, cutting inside and rifling a shot past Cannon.

So after an encouraging first half performance we still went in 2-0 down at half time. However, McManus's and James Grady's half time team talk must have stressed the positives as they came out for the second half with some vigour and halved the Pars lead immediately. Shepherd and Gordon linked well down the left and Shepherd's low cross was expertly controlled by the impressive Gordon; he turned his marker before curling a powerful shot into the top right hand corner of the net.

The Pars were beginning to struggle while Lee Mitchell was really impressing for Morton. The 18 year old proving to be a real thorn in the opposition's side with his ability to break up play and keep possession. It was no surprise when we eventually scored the equaliser our play merited. The goal was almost a carbon copy of the first goal the only difference was the quality of the finish by Gordon - this time he used the outside of his boot to curl the ball past the keeper at his near post. They say a goalkeeper should never be beaten at his near post but Gordon's shot was hit with too much pace and accuracy to give him any chance.

Our tails were up and Friel went on a mazy run in search of a goal to put us in the lead. However, his run came to an abrupt end when he was cynically fouled from behind thus earning the guilty player a well deserved yellow card. Gordon was denied a hat trick when the Pars keeper pulled off the save of the day from the resultant free kick.

Friel went close soon after but his shot was too high. This proved to be his last involvement in the match as he went off injured after receiving another shocking challenge. Kenneth MacKay took his place.

Dunfermline took the lead against the run of play. McKerrell looked set to clear after a looping cross from the byline landed in front of him however the ball evaded his touch after an unpredictable bounce and the Pars striker made no mistake to make it 3-2 to the home team.

Liam Kerrigan replaced our number 7 in midfield who had tired badly and was allowing players to run off him too easily causing mayhem in the Ton defence.

The Pars completed the scoring when one of their strikers connected with a cross from the right to rocket a header past Cannon.

So, another defeat but we can take heart from the fact that this was a better display than recent performances. There was also a few encouraging individual performances; particularly Limo Gordon, who is strong, holds up play well, has a decent touch and took both goals well. Mitchell is the anchor in centre of midfield, he links play and breaks up opposition attacks while Shepherd makes some great roving runs up the left wing (although I'm not too sure about his status as a left-back). Hopefully one or more of these boys can make an impact on the first team in future, after all that is what the youth set up is really for.

Morton Under-19s Results - Season 2008/09

thescottishfootballleague.com - Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Under 19

Coakley: Morton Was More Like A Youth Club

Former Morton player Adam Coakley provided a damning insight into Jim McInally's tenure as Morton manager in the Scottish Sun's Supergoals pull-out on Monday.

When asked: 'X-Files. What is your strangest experience?' the striker - currently playing with Queen's Park - said:

"Joining Morton. I was so used to being professional and disciplined at Well but everyone was mental at Cappielow. It was more like a youth club with a table tennis table and a pool table. They even used to play cricket instead of training."
Coakley's answer seems to confirm rumours that training was a bit of a joke under McInally. Ironically, Coakley (pictured, above left) was so bad he still couldn't get a game at such an unprofessional club as he only made four substitute appearances in six months at Cappielow.


Partick Thistle 1 - 0 Morton

Partick Thistle 1 - Doolan (49)
Morton 0 -

Att: 3348

A single goal, scored by Thistle's January signing Kris Doolan, was enough to settle this abysmal match.

Davie Irons went with the same line up that earned a 0-0 draw with St. Johnstone at Cappielow on the 31st of January. The only changes were on the bench as James Grady returned after almost 2 months out with a damaged medial ligament and Under-19s reserve goalkeeper Kieran Cannon was listed as the back up for Kevin Cuthbert.

This poor excuse for a football match only sparked into life in the last five minutes of the first half. In the 40th minute Morton almost scored when a Stewart Greacen - one of only three players I'd give pass marks to; the others being Cuthbert and Shimmin - header came back off the post. However, Thistle just about had the better of the first half (not really an achievement to be proud of) and came closest to scoring right on half time when Greenock-born Gary Harkins forced an excellent save from Kevin Cuthbert. Harkins met a Paul Paton corner but Cuthbert got down well to push it away with two arms.

So after an appalling first half the teams went in 0-0 at half-time.

Some fans around me contemplated leaving to go to the pub as it was a punishment to watch the drivel both teams were serving up but most stayed in the hope the second half would pick up. However, it only took 4 second half minutes for them to head for the exits when a move involving Liam Buchanan and Stephen McKeown presented a chance to Doolan who fired the ball past Cuthbert to score his 3rd goal in 6 games since signing from junior side Auchinleck Talbot.

Kevin Finlayson had the ball in the net in the 64th minute but the linesman's flag had been up for a while and those who did celebrate quickly realised the goal wouldn't count. I'm afraid this disallowed goal - and a decent long range shot from the same player - were the highlight of our second half.

Those who spout nonsense saying the first division is the best in Scotland would do well to go to matches like this one. Then they'd realise that the league is only tight and competitive because most of the teams are terrible. I watched Airdrie against Clyde on BBC Alba on Sunday and this was another borefest with a standard of football that wouldn't look out of place in a pub league.

As a Morton fan it is doubly frustrating because we actually play a long ball game that makes the Wimbledon sides of the 1980s and 1990s look like Brazil. In last month's FourFourTwo magazine an article called 'Hooooof! The Long View Of Direct Football' analyses long ball tactics. The article concludes by saying:

"For the truth of the long ball football, as of any tactical system, is neither that it is evil nor that it is a panacea: it simply is effective only with the right players and in the right curcumstances."
This is our whole problem; the circumstances might be right but we don't have the right players (being tall isn't enough) and we don't play long ball football with any direction or purpose therefore the system is ineffective. The defence hoofs aimless long balls up at Brian Wake who cannot win a header and Peter Weatherson who refuses to jump. Even if one of those two does win a header Ryan McGuffie and Stevie Masterton haven't bothered to get up in support looking for knockdowns or defensive clearances. The evidence that our football is ineffective lies in the league table. Crowds are on the wane as people wont pay the extorionate first division prices to watch shocking long ball football, a style that isn't even proving effective, during a credit crunch. In my opinion it's time Irons changed his footballing philosophy or leaves Cappielow as I for one am sick to the back teeth of watching his team. TTG?

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Cuthbert - 7
2. Walker - 6
3. Smith - 5 (16. Grady - 64 mins)
4. Shimmin - 7
5. Greacen (c) - 7
6. Masterton - 5
7. Finlayson - 6
8. McGuffie - 4 (14. Paartalu - 71 mins)
9. Weatherson - 6
10. Wake - 5 (15. Russell - 79 mins)
11. McAlister - 6

Subs Not Used:

12. McManus
20. Cannon

Booked: Finlayson

Walker Greacen Shimmin Smith
Finlayson Masterton McGuffie McAlister
Weatherson Wake

Partick Thistle: Tuffey, Paton, Storey, Robertson, Archibald, Twaddle, McKeown (Chaplain 76), Rowson, Harkins, Buchanan (McKinlay 67), Doolan (Donnelly 86).

Subs Not Used: Kinniburgh, Hinchcliffe.

My man of the match: Dominic Shimmin

Sponsor's man of the match: Kris Doolan

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

ptfc.co.uk - match report

Tontastic pictures


Baldacchino's Appearance Was Just A Favour

Former Gretna winger Ryan Baldacchino (pictured, left: running on to a loose ball against us in our 2-1 win in March 2006) has been training with Morton but wont be signing for us according to Davie Irons.

Irons told the Greenock Telegraph's David Christie that Baldacchino's appearance in a bounce game with Dumbarton was a favour to the player - just like the way he allowed Kenny Deuchar to play against Rangers. He said:

"Ryan has been training with us for a week or so. He is someone I have known for a while. He has been in Australia since Gretna folded and has just come back. He asked if he could come and train with us and I have given him that facility. He is a wee bit away from having the necessary match sharpness. He is a talented player. He had a bad injury a couple of years ago and it has taken him a while to get over that. We keep in touch with ex-players and we have to keep our options open. Having these guys who are currently out of contract is maybe us looking with a view to next season."

Full Name: Ryan Baldacchino
Age: 28 (13.01.1981)
Position: Right Midfield
Born: Leicester, England
Nationality: English (eligible for Malta through his grandfather)
Height: 5' 9"
Former Clubs: Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Carlisle United, Gretna, Ayr United [loan], Altona Magic (Australia)

Greenock Telegraph - Ex-Gretna Isn't Signing (19.02.2009)


Clyde Match Rearranged

Morton will play Clyde at Broadwood on Tuesday the 3rd of March with a 7.45pm kick-off.

The original match on the 14th of February was postponed due to a frozen pitch.

gmfc.net - Clyde -v- Morton

clydefc.co.uk - New Date For Morton Match


McCall Went 4 Months Unpaid

Former Morton manager Ian McCall has claimed that he went 4 months unpaid by chairman Hugh Scott.

In an interview in today's Greenock Telegraph McCall (pictured, above left) talks to Roger Graham about Saturday's match between Morton and his Partick Thistle side. Graham then asked about McCall's spell at Cappielow under Scott (pictured, below) and McCall said: “I think the Morton fans maybe blamed me for some of what went on. It’s a great club, with great fans, and we had a great set of players, but what we were put through was terrible. I had four months when I managed the club without being paid.”

McCall was appointed Morton manager on the 14th of January 2000 but only spent 4 months in charge as his contract was not renewed at the end of the season - according to Scott this was due to financial reasons. In his column in the Scotsman on the 21st September 2003 McCall stated that he was owed 'not inconsiderable sums' by current chairman Douglas Rae. However, Rae denied this and issued a statement saying that he had been in discussion with lawyers about McCall's claim.

Greenock Telegraph - Firhill For Thrills (17.02.2009)


Harding's Season Is Over

Morton defender Ryan Harding will miss the rest of this season after he was advised to rest until April to allow him to recuperate from a groin injury (involving bone and muscle) that he has been suffering from, on and off, for six years.

Harding told the Greenock Telegraph's Roger Graham: "I was speaking to physio Paul Kelly through the week. He has been talking to Gordon McKay, the surgeon dealing with me, and asking him what is the best way to go from here on. I’ve been told to rest and, if by April, there is no improvement then I will probably need an operation. I’ve had the problem on and off for about the last six years. It is apparently one of these things where it responds to rest if you get it early enough."

Harding has been absent from first team action since our 4-1 hammering at Ross County on the 11th of October. Until now his absence was a bit of a mystery; in team lines news he was usually simply described as 'injured' or in most cases not even mentioned. The ex-Hibs man wasn't having the best of seasons but did provide one of the highlights when he scored the winning goal in the League cup victory against his old club at Easter Road (pictured, above left).

Greenock Telegraph - Harding Out For Rest Of Season (16.02.2009)


Clyde Game Off

Tomorrow's match against Clyde at Broadwood has been called off due to a frozen pitch. The decision was made after a pitch inspection at 12 o'clock today.

Morton had struggled to find training facilities earlier in the week after the snow and ice had made Quarriers unplayable (pictured, left).

gmfc.net - Match Postponed


Defenders On Top As Greacen Takes Award

Morton captain Stewart Greacen has been voted player of the month for January by greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com readers.

Morton's centre-back pairing of Greacen (pictured, left: lifting the Renfrewshire cup) and Dominic Shimmin have been rock solid for the last couple of months so it was no surprise when those two - along with Kevin 'Finners' Finlayson - battled it out for the first monthly award of 2009.

Greach won 27% of the vote (12 out of 43 votes). Shimmin and Finlayson finished joint second with 18% (8 / 43) and Ryan McGuffie was third with 9% (4 / 43).

The full results were as follows:

Stewart Greacen - 12 (27%)
Dominic Shimmin - 8 (18%)
Kevin Finlayson - 8 (18%)
Ryan McGuffie - 4 (9%)
Alex Walker - 3 (6%)
Peter Weatherson - 3 (6%)
Kevin Cuthbert - 2 (4%)
Erik Paartalu - 1 (2%)
Stevie Masterton - 1 (2%)
Brian Wake - 1 (2%)


Morton Memories

In the last couple of days the Greenock Telegraph has included a couple of interesting images of Morton teams from years gone by. The first appeared in an article by Roger Graham in yesterday's Tele'. Graham was contacted by an ex-pat Ton fan in Canada who wanted to know more about the 1963-64 promotion winning side. The article was accompanied by a picture of the squad from that season (pictured, below).

In today's Tele' the 'Viator's Talk Of The Towns' page includes a picture of the Morton squad for season 1911-12 (pictured, below). The picture was sent in by John Torlay whose great-grandfather, William Kennedy, was Morton trainer at the time. Kennedy appears in another picture on the page in which he is seen talking to Morton manager Bob Cochrane (pictured, above left: Kennedy is smoking the pipe).

Greenock Telegraph - Exiled Fan's Fond Memories Of Old Ton-Clyde Rivalry

Greenock Telegraph - Morton Team Finished Sixth In The League


Raith Rovers Under-19s 5 - 2 Morton Under-19s

Raith Rovers Under-19s 5 - Bryce (2), Graham, Whatley, Wedderburn
Morton Under-19s 2 - Friel (2)

11am kick-off
Sunday 8th February
Dalgety Bay Sports Centre

by Chris Silver

A pulsating game in the Fife sunshine saw Morton Under-19s go down 5 goals to 2 to a Raith side who are well up with the league leaders (pictured, below: Rovers sit 6th while Morton are 12th in the Irn-Bru under-19 youth initiative league).

Alan McManus's side was forced into one change from last week's narrow victory over Dumbarton, Chris Gordon replacing Kenneth McKay in the foward line.

The Ton started brightly forcing a series of corners which made the home side look anything but league challengers.

However, we did get a glimpse of why Raith are up there when they broke away to score after one of our corners. Lee Mitchell's scuffed shot was cleared and Raith's Lee Bryce picked the ball up on our left well inside their half. He then sprinted towards goal like a Gazelle. Mitchell tracked back eating up the ground behind him but with no cover coming across to block the run the striker was clear through and left keeper Ryan McWilliams with little chance, 1-0.

Raith second came due to another defensive mix up. Right-back Scott McNab was put under pressure and passed back to the centre half only for Raith's other striker Tam Graham to steal in and score past McWilliams as the 'Ton net rippled for a second time.

Morton got back into the game thanks to a Daniel Friel goal. A corner kick was sent into the middle of the area where Friel was well positioned to pounce after a shot was blocked and fell into his path. His shot was not the best but had enough pace and direction to go in despite several Raith players on the line as cover.

Raith regained their two goal advantage when some good play down the left found Graham just inside our area to the right of McWilliams goal . He turned the fullback easily (too easily really) and laid the ball to the edge of the area where their influential central midfielder Mark Whatley had been given the freedom of Fife by the Ton midfield. The Raith playmaker's fierce shot gave a fully stretched McWilliams no chance, 3-1.

With the first half rapidly drawing to a close we got a much needed boost when Friel (pictured, above left) reduced the deficit for the second time. A well placed through ball put Friel through on goal and despite the home sides protests for offside the 17 year old unleashed a terrific shot that left the Raith keeper Ross Laidlaw statuesque. 3-2 at the interval.

Into the second half and Morton were still struggling with Raith's superior movement and running off the ball.

Raith's 4th goal came from a corner on our right hand side. A deep flighted cross from Mark Whatkey was met by their centre half Craig Wedderburn who rose unchallenged to header into the Ton net.

McManus rang the changes and made 3 seperate substitutions. A boy called Paddy (I'm unsure of his second name) replaced Anthony Houston at the back, Liam Kerrigan replaced MacNab at right-back. Troy McKerrell moved into an advanced midfield position to complete the changes.

These changes helped stem the constant stream of Raith attacks. The boy Paddy's physical presence curbed the impact Raith 's Bryce was making - the Rovers striker wasn't too happy with the added attention given to him by the Ton substitute. However, Bryce did manage score Raith's final goal and his second. He cut inside the Morton left-back, outstripped the centre-half and left McWilliams with no chance as his thunderous drive whistled past his groping left arm.

The referee was having a bit of a nightmare and this didn't do us any favours. With little time left the referee awarded the Kircaldy side a corner even though the last touch was clearly made by a Raith player. Similarly, at the other end he awarded them a goal kick when a Raith player had knocked the ball out. A furious James Grady - who is helping McManus with the under-19s - protested and the referee gave him a dressing down for questioning his authority - and eyesight. His next act was to blow for full time.

In conclusion Raith deserved their win today, we just made too many stupid errors.

Morton Under-19s Results - Season 2008/09

thescottishfootballleague.com - Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Under 19

raithrovers.com - Young Rovers Hit 'Ton For Five


Irons On The Defensive

Davie Irons has responded to news that the SFA have warned Morton about their discipline in the first half of the season by claiming that the club have received no such warning.

When asked about the warning by the Greenock Telegraph's David Christie Irons (pictured, left: having a go at referee Chris Boyle at Clyde after he was sent off Brian Wake and added on five minutes of injury time) said: "As far as I am aware, we have not had any warning. I’ve certainly not seen it and we have not received any note about a fine."

The Morton manager then went on an extended rant about the SFA Disciplinary Commitee, referees and finished off his spiel by arguing that four of the five red cards we've received this season weren't justified. On the red cards he said: “We are definitely not a dirty team. Of the five red cards, I would say only one is justified and that is Allan McManus’ handball on the line. Kevin Cuthbert made a genuine attempt for the ball at Airdrie and Brian Wake’s was never a sending off in the month of Sundays."

I witnessed all of the red cards mentioned and four of them were deserved - Wake's is the only one that wasn't - and I'm sure the vast majority of Morton fans would agree. For Irons not to acknowledge McManus's red card against Airdrie was deserved is particularly ridiculous. He even said both our bookings on Saturday weren't justified but Chris Smith's yellow was also deserved.

Greenock Telegraph - Irons: No Dirty Tricks From Us (05.02.2009)


John McMaster - Gibby Spammer

Former Morton and Aberdeen midfielder John McMaster was the subject of this week's A-Z in Supergoals in Monday's Scottish Sun. McMaster (pictured, left) mentions the 'Ton and Greenock in a few of his answers; he reveals why his nickname was Spammer and how Allan McGraw was his idol growing him.

John played for Morton for two seasons - 1986-87 (League: 5 starts, 4 sub appearances, 0 goals) and 1987-88 (League: 19 starts, 1 sub appearance and 2 goals). He was registered as a player for season 1988-89 but didn't play. He later became Allan McGraw's Assistant manager / head coach.

You can read his Morton / Greenock related answers by clicking on the images below.

John McMaster - wikipedia profile

John McMaster - Neil Brown's profile


Love Street Deconstruction Under Way

The deconstruction of the Reid Kerr College stand (pictured, left) has started and both the Greenock Telegraph and the official website have published stories (with pictures) after cranes moved in to Love Street last week.

The Tele's Russell Steele spoke to Morton stadium director Crawford Rae who said: "It's coming along well. We've got a tight window to get everything out before St. Mirren hand the keys over to the new owners on 14th February."

Rae revealed that the plan is to have all work completed for the summer of 2010: "The next stage after that will be for the application to go in for the Dublin End. The plan is to have everything completed for the end of next season and the start of 2010/11."

The article on gmfc.net said:

All the seats have already been removed along with guttering, roof sheets, purlins and tie bars. The heavy cranes move in on Thursday to remove the main sections of the Stand which will be held in storage until the work commences at Greenock. The floodlight sections will the last items to be removed and the first items to be erected at Cappielow hopefully in time for the start of Season 2009-2010.

gmfc.net - Family Stand Update

Greenock Telegraph - Ton The Move [abbreviated article] (02.02.2009)

Morton Warned By SFA

The Scottish Football Association Disciplinary Committee has warned Morton about the club's poor disciplinary record on the playing field in the first half of this season.

In today's Daily Record an article by Chris Roberts reveals that Hearts have been fined £10,000 after having 7 players sent off and 37 booked so far this season. Roberts then goes on to mention the 'bad boys' in the First Division. He says:

"Clyde are the First Division bad boys, having racked up five red cards, 61 yellows and a massive 220 points. They have been warned along with Ross County - 196 points - and Morton."

Morton's disciplinary record this season is 5 red cards and 55 bookings. According to the SFA's website we have incurred a total of 185 disciplinary points.

The red cards were for the following reasons:

Brian Wake v Clyde (02.08.08) - Second caution in the same match.
Allan McManus v Airdrie (30.08.08) - Violent conduct.
Allan McManus v Ross County (12.10.08) - Denying an opponent a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity
Peter Weatherson v Peterhead (29.11.08) - Violent conduct (pictured, above left)
Kevin Cuthbert v Airdrie (27.12.08) - Denying an opponent a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity

In July 2008 we were commended for our disciplinary record.

Daily Record - Hearts Hit With 10k Fine Over Poor Disciplinary Record (04.02.2009)

scottishfa.co.uk - List Of Warnings From Disciplinary Analysis (Aug - Dec 2008)


Newby Loan Extended Again

Burton Albion caretaker manager Roy McFarland has decided to extend Jon Newby's loan until the end of the season.

Newby (pictured, left: celebrating his only competitive goal for Morton against Clyde) had initially signed until the 31st of December. Burton then extended the deal for a month - something I revealed on here - at the start of the year.

McFarland told the Burton Mail's Rex Page about his decision to further extend Newby's loan: "Jon has fitted in well since he joined the club and, in my case, I have been very pleased with his attitude. He's a disciplined guy who trains well and is never late despite having to travel down from Manchester. Jon's last deal would have run out after Saturday, but I now have the chance to have an extended look at him. He can play wide right, but I think his best position is up front - and I haven't seen him play there yet because he was in midfield in the (Senior Cup) game at Tamworth. We've also had a couple of reserve team games postponed, which denied me the chance to see him in his preferred position. But I like what I've seen of him in training and I'm sure his chance will come at some point between now and the end of the season."

Burton Mail - Mac: No War Of Words (29.01.2009)


Morton Under-19s 1 - 0 Dumbarton Under-19s

Morton Under-19s 1 - MacKay
Dumbarton Under-19s 0

12pm kick-off
Sunday 1st February
Battery Park

by Chris Silver

Morton's eldest youth team got back into the winning groove with a hard fought one goal victory over Dumbarton. However, the victory was hardly deserved on the balance of play.

Morton kicked off but it was Sons who were first out of the traps in terms of goal scoring oppurtunities. A free kick drove to the edge of the box was met by a Dumbarton striker who had time to take a touch and turn but his shot was hastily parried for a corner kick by Ryan McWilliams in the Ton goal. McWilliams - who has been an unused substitute in the first team ten times this season - rightly berated the defence for their slow reactions.

Dumbarton began to assert a bit of dominance and forced a series of corner kicks that put the Morton rearguard under immense pressure. However, the defence managed to scramble clear and survive the onslaught.

We were riding our luck now. Dumbarton attacked down our right side and the resulting cut back was met by an on rushing Sons midfielder whose drive beat McWilliams (pictured, above left) but hit the post and went behind for a goalkick.

Ironically we scored what turned out to be the winner from our first real attack. Ton's number 9 'Limo' (scorer of 2 goals in the last match) took in a nice pass from midfield. After some strong hold up play he found Kenneth MacKay with an angled pass. MacKay tucked the ball into the far corner with a neat finish. 1-0 Morton .

We started to come into the game a little more after the goal but we never really got into our full stride and more often than not Dumbarton managed to pin us back. However, the Sons' strikers just couldn't get the break as they increased the pressure on the Ton defence. McWilliams was proving to be a particular thorn in the side of Dumbarton and their goalscoring aspirations.

The Morton defence looked to be cracking under the pressure but were saved by the bell when the referee blew for half fime. The interval gave our rearguard some much needed respite.

Into the second half and Morton's number 7 made an early driving run that took him to the edge of the Sons area, despite all his endeavour the move fizzled out.

Sadly it wasn't long before Dumbarton were back on the attack. Once again we had McWilliams - and the woodwork - to thank for thwarting Dumbarton's quest for an equaliser.

On a couple of occasions we managed to pass our way through the Sons ranks but these forays were few and far between. The Morton strikers were becoming increasingly isolated and the out ball to relieve the defence became infrequent.

Once again McWilliams came to his teammates rescue when he saved at the feet of a Dumbarton striker .

We rode our luck for most of the contest and apart from a few half chances near the end we were the poorer side on the balance of play. So it came as a welcome relief when he referee blew his whistle for full time. The Morton boys had fought hard for the victory but the Sons Of The Rock will feel aggrieved that they left Greenock with nothing to show for their efforts.

Morton Under-19s Results - Season 2008/09

dumbartonfootballclub.com - Mixed Fortunes For Youth Teams


Morton 0 - 0 St. Johnstone

Morton 0 -
St. Johnstone 0 -

Att: 2810

This soul sapping 0-0 against league leaders St. Johnstone means that we are now 5 games unbeaten.

Irons named the same starting XI that drew 2-2 with Livingston last week. Rhian Dodds - who has been training with the club for a couple of weeks - was listed as a trialist and took a place on the bench.

This was as poor a match as you are likely to see. There weren't many good chances or extended periods of attractive attacking football. Saints manager Derek McInnes mentioned this in his post match comments in the News Of The World and hinted that his team failed to shine after a promising start because they were dragged down to our level: "We absolutely battered them! We were excellent for the first 15 to 20 minutes then we got involved in the battle and their style of play."

Our football was dreadful though. After a promising attacking performance last week we were back to aimless long balls that makes a midfield irrelevant as the ball just soars over their heads. I had an interesting discussion with a pal who plays amateur football after the match in which he talked about our tactics. His team play a 5 in midfield and in most matches their opponents find their central midfield are swamped because of the extra man his team have in the centre of the park. St. Johnstone played a similar system with Paul Sheerin, Jody Morris and Chris Millar flanked by Liam Craig at left-wingback and Gary Irvine at right-wing back. Stevie Masterton and Ryan McGuffie couldn't cope with their three opponents and this meant St. Johnstone were able to dominate the game. To counter this Morton either had to match their 3 in the centre of midfield - meaning losing a defender or attacker - or simply missing out the midfield and pumping the ball up to the strikers. That's exactly what we did but it didn't work as the Perth side's back three always looked comfortable.

St. Johnstone's two best chances fell to former Hearts and Ross County attacker Derek Holmes either side of halftime. The big striker headered just over after meeting Liam Craig's cross in the 12th minute and met another cross from the same player in the second half but this header crashed back off the crossbar to safety.

Our old friend Craig Thomson was up to his old tricks again when he made a big decision only to subsequently change his mind - only this time it went in our favour. The man who cancelled out Chris Templeman's equaliser against Hamilton Accies last season after already giving the goal pointed to the spot when Chris Smith fouled marauding right-wingback Irvine. However, the foul was clearly made outside the box and after consulting his linesman - after prompting from a crowd of 'Ton players - Thomson reversed his decision and gave a free-kick which Craig drove against the defensive wall.

Morton only came to life late on when Iain Russell replaced Wake. The striker - who has been linked with a move to Stirling Albion and Brechin City - looked very lively and it was one of his runs that almost allowed us to dramatically steal the three points. The former Brechin man's run and cut back fell to Weatherson and his powerful shot looked destined for the Alan Main's bottom right hand corner but Saints new signing Graham Gartland got an excellent block in and the ball went for a corner. I think Russell has earned a start against Clyde in two weeks.

In my last match report I suggested Jim McAlister needs a spell on the bench as he's been well off the boil this season and it would seem Davie Irons has recognised this as he substituted Jim with five minutes to go. Jim has only missed two matches in the last four years and throughout this time he has hardly ever been substituted so it was a surprise to see him taken off. He didn't look happy and failed to respond to the fans' applause (no big deal but given his status as a bit of a fans' favourite I thought he would acknowledge us - maybe his annoyance was exacerbated by the faint cheer that greeted his substitution) or go near Irons as he walked off.

I concluded my match report for the 0-0 draw with Dundee by saying: "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." The same could be said of this result. I can't argue with a point (and clean sheet) against the league leaders who are, in my opinion, the best team in the league. I just wish our style of play was a bit more pleasing on the eye.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Cuthbert - 6
2. Walker - 7
3. Smith - 5
4. Shimmin - 8
5. Greacen (c) - 7
6. Masterton - 5
7. Finlayson - 6
8. McGuffie - 6
9. Weatherson - 6
10. Wake - 6 (15. Russell - 68 mins)
11. McAlister - 5 (12. Jenkins- 85 mins)

Subs Not Used:

14. Paartalu
16. Dodds [Trialist]
20. Stewart

Booked: McGuffie, Smith

Walker Greacen Shimmin Smith
Finlayson Masterton McGuffie McAlister
Weatherson Wake

St. Johnstone: Main, Irvine, Gartland, Morris, Rutkiewicz, McCaffrey, Millar, Craig, Holmes, Milne (Samuel 42), Sheerin.

Subs Not Used: Anderson, Swankie, Jackson, McLean.

My man of the match: Dominic Shimmin

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

perthstjohnstonefc.co.uk - match report

Tontastic pictures