Shimmin Suffers Injury Set Back

Morton defender Dominic Shimmin will miss some pre-season training affer suffering a set back in his recovery from a hamstring injury.

According to the Greenock Telegraph the Englishman (pictured) will miss the squad's trip to Austria; he is set to stay at home with fellow injury victims Davie MacGregor and Ryan Harding to receive physio from Paul Kelly.

Greenock Telegraph - Early Days, But Ton Are Looking In Tip-Top State (26.06.2009)

SFL - Shimmin Struggling For Pre-Season Start (23.06.2009)


Austria Trip Confirmed

It has been confirmed that the Morton squad will be flying to Austria for a week of pre-season training at the BSFZ National Sports Centre in Obertraun this Tuesday. The trip - organised and paid for by Alistair Donald - will see the club play two friendlies against local opposition.

Obertraun is a village in the Salzkammergut region in upper Austria. The sports complex Irons' squad will visit is one of six national sport and recreation centres in Austria. The complex has three outdoor football pitches, two sports halls (one with weight training equipment), a sauna (with a massage and physiotherapy area), a lecture hall, seminar rooms, a restaurant and sports cafe and five seperate buildings for accomodation.

The trip was confirmed on the club's official website in a news item which has been 'recycled' from a similar one posted on Notts County's official site last summer:

Notts County: Ian McParland has stressed that his Magpies players don't know how lucky they are to have spent a week in Austria at the highly regarding National Sports Centre in Obertraun.

Morton: David Irons has intimated that his players don’t know how lucky they are to be spending next week in Austria at the highly rated National Sports Centre in Obertraun

Notts County: The squad have also been encouraged to make the most of the excellent other fitness-related facilities which are on site.

Morton: Additionally the squad will also be encouraged to make the most of the excellent other fitness related facilities which are on site.

Notts County: Two games have also been played whilst in Austria, allowing McParland to see how his players are shaping up almost three weeks into pre-season training.

Morton: Two games are also scheduled with local teams to allow David to see how the lads are shaping up just a week into their pre-season campaign.

and a direct quote from the managers...

Ian McParland: "There are no distractions for the lads either which means we have been able to concentrate on the football side of things and look after ourselves."

Davie Irons: “there will be no distractions for the lads which means that we will be able to concentrate on our football and just look after ourselves.”

gmfc.net - Pre-season Trip To Austria (23.06.2009)

nottscountyfc.co.uk - Gaffer: The Players Are Lucky (21.07.2008)

Greenock Telegraph - Ton Set For Austria Trip (24.06.2009)

National Sports and Recreation Centres Austria


Aussie Midfielder On Trial With Morton

Earlier today greenockmorton.org poster Magic Mathie posted a link to an article in The Herald (a newspaper based in Newcastle, Australia) which claims that Australian midfielder John Bennis will be spending some of the next six weeks on trial with Morton.

The article says that Bennis - who currently plays with Northern New South Wales NBN State Football club Broadmeadow Magic - will also have trial spells with Dundee and Dumbarton.

Bennis (pictured, above left) recently told the northern nsw football website of his desire to move overseas and how he jumped at the chance of a trial in Scotland, he said: "It's always been a dream to play professionally and this is a good opportunity to hopefully make it happen.

"Even though I've got family over there, it's certainly going to be strictly business. I don't really know how the standard is compared to the NBN State League but I guess I'll find out soon enough."

In 2007 the Australian version of FourFourTwo magazine identified him as one of the top 10 players outside the A-League. The article, written by Aidan Ormond, describes the 26-year-old attacking midfielder's playing style in the following way:
"Bennis’s game has a creative edge and he distributes the football intelligently. Needless to say, the futsal background has helped."

Full Name: John Bennis
Age: 26
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Nationality: Australian
Former Clubs: Hunter Academy Of Sport [Australia - Youth], Newcastle Breakers [Australia - Youth], Newcastle United [Australia - Youth]

The Herald - Bennis Leaves Broadmeadow Behind For Scottish Fling (17.06.2009)

northernnswfootball.com - Chasing A Dream (18.06.2009)

Australian FourFourTwo - The 10 Best Players Outside The A-League (23.05.2007)


At Least Someone Likes It

Yesterday Morton unveiled the new home and away strips for the 2009/10 season and the red away kit has come in for a lot of criticism. The main gripe seems to be with the colour rather than the design. Morton's colours are traditionally blue, white and yellow and the general consensus is that red is too much of a departure from the norm. Some fans have also suggested red is a St. Mirren colour and the strip reminds them of one you'd see the Buddies playing in - something that is never going to go down well.

However, there is at least one person who likes the colour and that is club captain Stewart Greacen. The defender gave the Greenock Telegraph's Lorraine Tinney his opinions on the strips, he said: “The two new strips are excellent. The red away strip is smashing and a lot better than the yellow. It’s a nice wee change and hopefully it will be a lucky colour for us.”

Personally, I don't mind the colour - it's nice to have a change from the yellow or white away strips. I'm just not sure I'm very keen on the design. You can give your opinion by voting on the poll on the sidebar on the right-hand side of the blog.

The new home kit will be launched on Thursday 2nd July at 4pm, with the away kit launching on Tuesday 28th July at 4pm. Both will go on sale at Smiths in Greenock where they already have the tops on display.

gmfc.net - Playing Kits 2009 - 10

Greenock Telegraph - Morton Put On Red Alert (19.06.2009)


Ton Linked With Simon Lynch

Morton have been linked with a move for Airdrie's Simon Lynch. The former Celtic striker (pictured, left) is out of contract and the Scottish Sun claims that we are competing with Queen Of The South for his signature.

The snippet says:

Morton want to sign former Celtic striker Simon Lynch. He is out of contract after 14 goals for Airdrie last term. Queen Of The South are also interested.

Lynch - who has represented Scotland at under-21 level and had a spell with Queensland Roar in Australia's A-League - scored two of his fourteen goals against us last season, one of which was the winning penalty at New Broomfield in December (pictured, below).

Full Name: Simon Lynch
Age: 27 (19.05.1982)
Positions: Centre Forward
Born: Montreal, Canada
Nationality: Scottish
Other Nationalities: Canadian
International Honours: 10 Scotland Under-21 caps, 6 goals
Height: 5' 11"
Former Clubs: Celtic, Preston North End, Stockport County [loan], Blackpool [loan], Dundee, Queensland Roar (now Brisbane Roar, Australia), Airdrie United

Simon Lynch wikipedia profile

Airdrie United profile


2009/10 Fixture List Released

The SFL have released the fixture lists for season 2009/10 and Morton have been handed a tough tie on the opening day - an away trip to Dundee.

Other fixtures fans usually look for are Boxing day - home to Ayr United, 2nd January - away to Partick Thistle and the final day (1st May) - home to Ayr United.

We are scheduled to face Raith Rovers at Cappielow on the 14th of November- the same date that FIFA have set aside for the European qualification section play-offs for the 2010 World Cup. However, the club has confirmed that should Scotland make the play-offs the Raith match may be moved back to Sunday the 15th.

BBC - Morton's Fixtures for 2009/10

gmfc.net - 2009/10 Fixtures

SFL - Morton Fixtures 2009/10


Wee Dublin End To Seat 3000

Saturday's Greenock Telegraph has revealed that once the roof and bucket seats purchased from St. Mirren are erected the 'new' Wee Dublin End will seat around 3000 fans.

Construction contractor John Mitchell told the Tele's Russell Steele of his progress: “We need to do tests to check the bearing capacity, which will decide how foundation work is done, but we don’t need to change the slope of the terrace. We will be taking off the existing benches and removing the brickwork underneath each one. That will leave the steps, which fittings for the seats will be bolted on to. The back couple of steps will be levelled off and the roof will sit up above.

“We have all the seats needed and the stand should hold approximately 3,000 people once it is finished.”

Before this work begins the plans will need to be submitted to council planners. Stadium director Crawford Rae has previously stated that the plan is to have the Dublin End seated and covered by the start of the 2010/11 season.

Meanwhile Mitchell is currently working on erecting new floodlights at the ground and these are expected to be up in time for this summer's pre-season friendlies.

Greenock Telegraph - Cappielow Revamp Is On Target (13.06.2009)

greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com - Morton Confirm Sun Story (13.12.2008)

greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com - Love Street Deconstruction Under Way (04.02.2009)


Rae Denies Dundee United Move For McAlister

In today's Greenock Telegraph Douglas Rae has denied that Dundee United have made an approach for Jim McAlister - but he does say he can go if the price is right.

The Tele's Roger Graham states that there are strong rumours coming out of Dundee that United are about to swoop for Jim (pictured, left) but Rae has stated that there has been no official approach, he said: "I know nothing about that. There is no chance of him going unless the price is right.

"Quite a few managers fly kites over things like this to get the player interested, they then come in later, but there's been absolutely no contact between Dundee United and ourselves."

This might just be a coincidence but The Courier - the newspaper for Tayside and Fife - has a story on their website stating that United manager Craig Levein will unveil his second signing of the summer later today and that the player is believed to be a winger.

Rae also revealed that McAlister and the club have an agreement that the player must be informed of any serious bid and that Motherwell made bids of £25,000 and £30,000 a couple of years ago, both of which he rejected.

Greenock Telegraph - No Bid For Jim (12.06.2009)

The Courier - Tangerines To Unveil New Signing (12.06.2009)

greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com - McGhee Confirms McAlister Interest

Mark McGhee Named New Aberdeen Manager

Former Morton striker Mark McGhee has been appointed Aberdeen manager today.

I'm not going to make a habit of posting a news story for every ex-Morton player who changes clubs; the reason I mention McGhee is for anyone who is interested in old pictures of Morton players as the BBC website includes a 'Mark McGhee's Career In Pictures' slideshow and the first picture is of a young McGhee in his Morton kit (a larger image of the one pictured, left) which you can see by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.

McGhee signed for Morton in 1975 aged 18. He moved to Newcastle United in December 1977 after scoring 37 league goals in 64 appearances over his two years at Cappielow.

BBC - Mark McGhee's Career In Pictures


The Ex-Factor: Martin Foster

Flicking through this month's FourFourTwo I was hit with a real blast from the past when I came across an interview with former Ton midfielder Martin Foster in the English non-league page of the magazine's Planet Football section.

Foster (pictured, left) - who is currently playing with Tamworth in the Blue Square Premier - was signed by Billy Stark on a free transfer from Leeds United. Big things were expected of the right-footed central midfielder but he never really hit it off in his time at Cappielow and spent the last few months of 1998/99 on loan at Doncaster Rovers, who he joined permanently in the summer of 1999.

In 1998/99 (his only season with Morton) Foster started 14 matches and made 5 substitute appearances, all of which came in the league.

You can read his interview from FourFourTwo below (click image to enlarge).


Should He Stay Or Should He Go Now?

James Grady's contract runs out next month but his future remains uncertain. The club have released players, renewed contracts and signed players (well one) but there has been no mention of Grady (pictured, left), which suggests to me that he might be staying.

Allan McManus seems to think so. He told the Greenock Telegraph: “On and off the park — and it breaks my heart to say it — he [Grady] is just a great character to have about. I am glad he will be here next season as I am sick of driving him about, it’s his turn. Whether he is playing or not, he brings that experience which is vital for the younger players.”

Even though McManus says he is glad Grady will be here next year the above quote is preceded by Roger Graham saying "But as a fellow veteran, McManus hopes the former Gretna frontman will also remain with the club." Something I found confusing.

A week later Grady was interviewed for an article in the Tele' and he didn't seem to know what was happening. However, he hinted that he expects a deal to be offered, he said: "When I signed, we were still in a mire. Even though from October we got closer to the pack, we were still near to the foot of the table. So he couldn’t give me that extra year as he could not guarantee his own position. But we spoke about how if it improved then it shouldn’t be a problem.

"We have not spoken more about it, but I don’t envisage any real problems, At least I would like to think not."

So it would seem that Irons has told Grady he would get another year if the team's fortunes improved and Irons was still manager as a consequence - which, to an extent, they did. I suppose we will see what happens in the next couple of weeks but I'd be quite disappointed if we waste a wage on a 38-year-old striker who didn't offer much on the pitch last season (2 goals in 21 appearances). He might be a great character in the dressing room but with a tight transfer budget for next season I think Irons could spend this money better elsewhere.

Greenock Telegraph - Ah'll Put Up With The Cat (28.05.2009)

Greenock Telegraph - Age No Barrier (06.06.2009)


Another Away Tie

Surprise, surprise - Morton have been handed an away tie in the 1st round of the Co-operative Insurance cup. This time we travel to Central Park to meet Cowdenbeath on Saturday the 1st of August.

We have already been drawn away to Dumbarton in next season's MG Alba Challenge Cup and faced 6 away trips in 7 cup ties last season: Stranraer and Hibs in the League Cup; East Stirling, Queen Of The South and Ross County in the Challenge Cup and Peterhead in the Scottish Cup. Our only home tie was against Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the 3rd round of the League cup, a match we lost 2-1 after extra time.

Full draw:

Brechin City v Elgin City
Queen's Park v Queen of the South
Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Annan Athletic
Stenhousemuir v St. Johnstone
Ross County v Montrose
East Stirlingshire v St. Mirren
Partick Thistle v Berwick Rangers
East Fife v Raith Rovers
Dundee v Stranraer
Stirling Albion v Ayr United
Airdrie United v Alloa Athletic
Cowdenbeath v
Peterhead v Arbroath
Albion Rovers v Livingston
Clyde v Forfar Athletic
Dumbarton v Dunfermline Athletic

gmfc.net - Co-operative Insurance Cup

scottishfootballleague.com - Co-operative Insurance Cup Draw

MacFarlane Signing Confirmed

Morton have today confirmed the signing of Queen Of The South midfielder Neil MacFarlane.

MacFarlane, 31, has signed a two year deal.

Davie Irons is delighted with the signing and told gmfc.net about the role he envisages MacFarlane (pictured, left) playing next season: “He would be a sitting midfielder for us, protecting the defence. We need someone to give us that security, to win the ball and keep it simple.I'm delighted he'll be in the squad."

gmfc.net - Player News

Greenock Telegraph - Neil Signs Ton (05.06.2009)