McGraw On Rae, Scott and 1995/96

Morton legend Allan McGraw turned 70 yesterday and the Greenock Telegraph sports editor Roger Graham commemorated the event by writing a series of articles taking a look at the prolific striker's career.

I was unfortunate to miss most of Graham's articles while on holiday but I read the sixth and final installment in the Wednesday 22nd July edition of the paper and thought it made excellent reading.

The article focused on his time as Ton manager and the interview gave some interesting insights into his time in the Cappielow hotseat. McGraw's first revelation was that although he head great admiration for Benny Rooney it was Rooney who gave him his biggest problem when he took over as manager. In his opinion Rooney had neglected the youth set up and he believed a strong youth set up was the only way for a club like Morton to survive. He said: That's the only criticism I've got of Benny, because I thought Benny was great manager, but some way along the line he lost the youth policy. I don't know why.

"Maybe it's wrong of me to say that, because you do go through barren spells.But when Benny left there was no youth policy."

McGraw (pictured, above left) also confirmed what many Morton fans have said for years - signing Brian Reid cost us promotion in the 1995/96 season. Not specifically because we signed Reidy but because the directors signed him instead of a midfielder, which he felt was the priority after Derek McInnes had moved to Rangers and Alan Mahood and Janne Lindberg were on the sidlines with long term injuries: "I lost the three of them, and I needed a midfielder. That's where I blame the directors. They bought Brian Reid and, nothing against Brian, but I needed a midfielder. The loss of that midfield is what did it."

The article took on a sad tone when McGraw revealed he had big regrets about the way he left the club under Hugh Scott. Looking back he felt he should've fought harder and feels ashamed about his Cappielow exit. McGraw lamented: "I feel ashamed of myself at times when I think back. I had just lost my wife [Jean] in 1996, and I suppose a lot of the fight had gone out of me. I seemed to go along with things that I normally wouldn't have. I probably could have done more.

"It's the one regret I have. Normally I would've fought harder."

Graham then asked McGraw his feelings about the club at present and his response confirmed the rumours that he doesn't see eye to eye with the current chairman Douglas Rae: "Douglas and I didn't have the greatest relationship. I respect the man. He saved Morton. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it would've gone down if Douglas hadn't saved it, but it might not have been as good financially.

"I give him credit. He's done well with the stadium. He's a Morton fanatic and I respect that. But sometimes you've got to step back and let other people do their jobs, and I think that's the one failing maybe Douglas has got."

It was encouraging to read that despite this rift McGraw has been back at Cappielow as a guest of Alistair Donald in recent times. Hopefully, Allan McGraw - a true Morton legend - makes many more trips back to Cappielow in future as it would be criminal to think a man whose life revolved around the club for so long would feel reluctant to come back and watch a match whenever he wanted to.

1 comment:

mortonjag said...

Interesting to see an experienced professional's perception that signing even one player can have such a crucial effect over the course of a season. We have chosen to sign a defensive midfielder when I believe we are crying out for a true winger or attacking full back.