Tommy McLean - A Realistic Candidate For Ton Job?

In Saturday's Greenock Telegraph Roger Graham mentioned Tommy McLean as a possible candidate for the Morton job. The suggestion seemed to come straight out of left field so I am inclined to think that Graham has had a tip off that McLean is in for the job.

This suggestion also seems to be backed by McBookie's decision to stop taking bets on on who will be the next Ton manager. McBookie boss Paul Petrie told me that he decided to close the book because someone asked for a price for Tommy McLean, something he found strange in itself, and after quoting 6/1 they received a run of money on him.

If he does get the job it would see his career come full circle as it was here that he started out as a manager. McLean replaced Alex Miller in 1983 and won the First Division in his only season with the club (pictured, above left: celebrating the title win in the team bath).

He wasn't around to oversee his teams return to the Premier League as he was tempted by the offer to manage Motherwell. McLean spent 10 years at Fir Park in which time he won the Scottish Cup in 1991. After Motherwell he also managed Hearts, Raith Rovers and Dundee United and worked as a youth coach with Rangers - where he'd spent eleven years as a player - and Dundee United.

He is currently employed as a player observer and scout by the SFA but was rumoured to be set to follow Steven Pressley out of Hampden as part of changes to the back room team. However, George Burley has stated that this is not the case, he said: "Tommy is not involved in the coaching at all; Tommy sits up in the stand. Since I've been a manager, I've always liked somebody sitting up in the stand, assessing what we're playing, what they're playing and the tactics. And that's Tommy's role."

It will be interesting to see if McLean emerges as a realistic candidate in the days and weeks ahead.

Scotsman - Manager Denies Exit Of Pressley Was Caused By Player Revolt (30.09.2009)


McBookie Suspend Market On Next Ton Manager

Scottish bookmaker McBookie has suspended betting on who will be the next Morton manager after a tip off that Douglas Rae had already drawn up a short list.

When I asked about the betting Paul Petrie - the man behind McBookie - told me of his decision to suspend the market, he said: "We have actually suspended betting on the market after we found out from a source that a short list had been drawn up. We also took a fair few bets on certain individuals that would back that up. Obviously this may be speculation but in these markets someone always knows more than the bookies so we have stopped betting to see what happens over the next few days. If nothing happens then we may put it back up."

Prior to the book being closed the latest odds offered by McBookie were:

9/4 - Allan Moore (pictured: in his days as a Morton player)
3/1 - Jim Duffy
5/1 - Jimmy Calderwood
6/1 - John Robertson
6/1 - Allan McManus
6/1 - James Grady
6/1 - Paul Hegarty
6/1 - Tommy McLean
8/1 - Jimmy Nicholl
8/1 - Allan Maitland
10/1 - Craig Brewster
10/1 - Brian Reid
12/1 - Andy Millen
12/1 - Neil McCann
16/1 - David Hopkin

Stirling Observer - Allan's Happy To Stay At Stirling Albion (25.09.2009)


Morton 1 - 0 Airdrie United

Morton 1 - Graham (79)
Airdrie United 0 -

Att: 2104

The stage was set for a brand new dawn and although the performance wasn't much of an improvement on anything we'd seen under the previous regime the most important thing was that we managed to win.

James Grady made a couple of suprising selections on his managerial debut. Erik Paartalu was recalled to the starting XI while Kevin Finlayson took up a fairly unfamiliar role at right-back. Allan Jenkins replaced Finners at right-midfield. Grady obviously wanted to try and make us hard to score against, and therefore hard to beat, and set about this by going with a 4-4-2. In a very Brazilian move - possibly made more out of necessity rather than design as Ryan McGuffie was ruled out due to flu - he decided to start with two sitting midfielders (Paartalu and MacFarlane) in the middle with more attack minded players (Jenkins and Jim McAlister) out wide.

As it turned out Grady's plan to make us hard to beat worked - but at the expense of the expansive passing game he and McManus had talked about in press reports in the lead up to the game. I have to be honest and say that for about on hour of the game there wasn't much, if any, improvement on what we'd seen under Irons. We were stuffy, deviod of ideas and lacking pace in the final third. However, the first shoots of recovery sprouted in the 59th minute when Grady decided to replace Paartalu with Carlo Monti. Monti moved to the left of midfield and this allowed McAlister to move to the right.

As a naturally right footed player who isn't particularly adept with his weaker foot Jim's game is greatly restricted out on the left. His natural inclination is to come inside onto his stronger foot and this means that not only he is running into a congested area but he is usually forced to take a shot as he doesn't have many other options and we all know this isn't Jim's forte. However, on the right he can keep the ball on the outside of his body which makes it easier to protect the ball as it limits the opportunity for his opponents to get at it. As a result he can run that little bit faster and more direct in an attempt to get to the bye line from where he can now cross with a degree of confidence on his stronger foot.

As soon as Jim was moved out there you could sense the new found freedom coursing through him as he took the ball on a couple of runs. He was getting the better of Paul Lovering who was booked for kicking out at him in frustration. His first couple of crosses weren't the best but it was from one of those runs that we eventually scored what turned out to be the winning goal. Jim knocked the ball inside to Finlayson whose slide rule return put McAlister in behind the full-back and after taking a touch to shake of the defender he cut the ball back. Airdrie goalkeeper Stephen Robertson only succeeded in pushing the ball out to Brian Graham who took what seemed an eternity to get control of the ball. Thankfully he managed to side step a defender before slotting the ball past the men on the line and into the back of the net.

The roof nearly came off the Cowshed such was the roar when the goal went in. The players also seemed to enjoy it, particularly the goalscorer who sprinted to the Cowshed one arm aloft the other raising the Morton badge to his mouth to kiss it. He was booked for his exuberant celebration but no one cared, least of all Graham.

The Morton team seemed to get a shock of adrenaline from the goal and as the confidence flooded back into the side you could see that they would hold onto the lead. More significantly you could also see that there are definitely signs that with the right manager - be that Grady or someone else - and a couple of smart additions on the playing side this squad could actually achieve something. Please give us the right manager Mr Rae.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 7
2. Paartalu - 5 (14. Monti - 59 mins)
3. Walker - 6 (15. MacGregor - 80 mins)
4. McManus - 7
5. Greacen - 7
6. MacFarlane - 6
7. Finlayson - 6
8. Jenkins - 7
9. Graham - 7 (12.Masterton - 89 mins)
10. Weatherson - 6
11. McAlister - 7

Unused Subs:

16. Grady
20. McWilliams

Booked: Graham, MacGregor

Finlayson Greacen McManus Walker
Jenkins Paartalu MacFarlane McAlister
Graham Weatherson

Airdrie United: Robertson, McCann, Storey, McDonald, Donnelly (Lovering 46), Smyth, Smith (Watt 79), McLaughlin, Keegan, Lagana (O'Carroll 58), Bain.

Subs Not Used: Nixon, Hollis.

Booked: Lovering, Robertson.

My man of the match: Allan McManus

Sponsor's man of the match: Brian Graham

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

airdrieunitedfc.com - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

tontastic pictures


Morton v Airdrie United Preview

Tomorrow is a fresh start for all concerned with Greenock Morton as we play our first match since Davie Irons and Derek Collins were sacked.

It's hard to have any sort of intelligent discussion of potential tactics or formation as it is the first chance James Grady and Allan McManus will have ever had to pick a team at senior level in their respective careers. They have stated that they do have a formation in mind and that they have been working on it with the rest of the players during the week. I have a hunch that it will be a 3-5-2 but that's just a stab in the dark.

Another interesting talking point will be the team selection. Earlier in the week Grady (pictured, above left: in action against tomorrow's opponents) mentioned that he believes he should've been starting more often than he has, so he may give himself a run out up front. Personally, I think that only one of McManus and Grady will start so that we will have at least one member of the caretaker management team watching the game from the sidelines. I suspect that as the older, more experienced professional of the two, Grady will choose not to start the match.

Unsuprisingly we are still without Dominic Shimmin - whose injury troubles continue to mystify most fans - Kevin Cuthbert, who remains sidelines due to a broken foot, and Brian Wake who misses out with a hamstring injury (I wonder if it takes six months plus to clear up). In more positive news Peter Weatherson, Brian Graham and Ryan McGuffie are all ready to play despite suffering from a virus earlier in the week.

According to the BBC's match preview Airdrie's David Nixon, Ricky Waddell and Scott Gemmill are out, and Tom Parratt is doubtful. Former Celtic and Morecambe striker Diarmid O'Carroll looks set to make his debut after signing for the Diamonds during the week.

I'm optimistic that the positivity that comes with a change in manager will see us earn our first three points since we beat Ayr United 2-0 over a month ago.

Last Meeting

10.03.2009 - Scottish 1st Division
Morton 0 - 0 Airdrie

Possible line up

Greacen McManus Walker
Finlayson McGuffie MacFarlane Jenkins McAlister
Weatherson Graham

Betting (high street prices)

Morton are best priced at 7/5 with .
Airdrie are 15/8 with .
The Draw is 13/5 with .

My Predicition

Morton 2 - 0 Airdrie
17/2 with .

Greenock Telegraph - Upbeat Mood in Ton Camp (25.09.2009)

airdrieunitedfc.com - Airdrie Travel To Greenock (25.09.2009)

bbc.co.uk - Morton v Airdrie United

oddschecker.com - Morton v Airdrie

Paul Hegarty Wants The Job

Former Dundee United defender Paul Hegarty today said that he would like to be considered for the Morton job.

I don't have a direct link to a newspaper article but I did read of his interest in today's Daily Record while the BBC sport website's rumours sections says:

Former Aberdeen, Dundee United and Livingston manager Paul Hegarty wants to be Morton's new boss. (Various)

Hegarty's most recent managerial position was a short period in charge of Livingston under controversial owner Angelo Massone. He was given an 18 month contract in December 2008 but was mysteriously suspended and subsequently dismissed after only four and a half months in the job. At the time Massone refused to explain the reasons for Hegarty's dismissal, simply stating that it was "a private matter at the club".

In his time at Livingston his record was: played 18, won 6, drew 5 and lost 7 (one of which was against Morton).

Hegarty (pictured, above left: managing Livingston at Cappielow last season; he is on the far left of the picture) also had short and unsuccessful spells as caretaker manager of both Aberdeen and Dundee United as well as two years in charge at Forfar Athletic in the early '90s.

bbc.co.uk - Thurday's Scottish Gossip (24.09.2009)


Rowan Alexander - A Realistic Candidate For The Job?

In the past Rowan Alexander said “I would never even entertain the thought of going back to Morton. It's as simple as that. I'm not disappointed I've never been asked, and I won't be disappointed not to go back in the future. I believe you should leave people with the memory of your playing days, and too many people have tarnished those memories in the past by returning to a club and not doing well.”

He obviously changed his mind because Ton chairman Douglas Rae revealed that Alexander was one of three candidates on his short leet to replace Jim McInally in February 2008. The other two were Irons - who would eventually get the job - and Jim Duffy. Irons recent departure has seen Alexander's name thrown back into the hat by some fans on the unofficial messageboard.

The subject of Alexander managing the club seems to split the support right down the middle; the polarity of opinion ranges from some who claim they won't be back if he gets the job to others who say he's their number one choice for the role.

I'm firmly in the 'don't want him to get the job' camp (I wouldn't go as far as to say I wouldn't be back). However, some fans insistence he is the man for the job has intrigued me enough to take a closer look at Super Ro's managerial record, and here it is:

1995/96: QotS - 7th in Division 2
1996/97: QotS - 5th in Division 2 (lost Challenge Cup Final)
1997/98: QotS - 4th in Division 2
1998/99: QotS - 4th in Division 2
2002/03: Gretna - 6th in Division 3
2003/04: Gretna - 3rd in Division 3
2004/05: Gretna - 1st in Division 3
2005/06: Gretna - 1st in Division 2 (lost in the Scottish Cup Final)
2006/07: Gretna - 1st in Division 1*

*Davie Irons took over in March 2007.

Being honest, his managerial record isn't as bad as I thought. Therefore I'm inclined to believe he's probably a better manager than I give him credit for. However, his achievements before Brooks Mileson started to invest heavily in Gretna are modest; there are no promotions or cup wins, only mid to top end of the table finishes. Mileson's initial investment in Gretna meant that they were signing players and putting them on wages SPL clubs couldn't afford and the resultant meteoric rise was to be expected.

To be fair to Alexander the money has to be invested wisely, the right players have to be bought and moulded into a group that function well as a team. As Morton fans know, big spending doesn't guarantee success. You only have to look at how long it took us to get back to the 1st division even though we were outspending all of our rivals (with the ironic exception of Gretna in 2005/06).

While acknowledging his managerial record isn't as bad as I expected it to be, especially pre-Mileson, I still don't want him to get the job. This is mainly because I don't think he'd be much of a departure from Davie Irons. He comes across as the kind of manager the players would despise, just like Irons. There's also the mystery behind his sacking at Gretna - there were suggestions of alcoholism and / or mental instability - and the way his close relationship with Mileson seemed to disintegrate overnight. What we need now is a manager who is not only tactically astute but who has the man-management skills to build up the confidence of a squad whose morale could be optimistically described as fragile. I don't believe Rowan Alexander is that man.

Do you agree? Vote in the poll on the side bar on the right of this page.


Irons And Grady - The Break Up

After reading some of the quotes in articles about Davie Irons' sacking in today's newspapers it would appear that his relationship with his players - particularly with the new caretaker management team - was worse than previously thought.

In today's Greenock Telegraph Irons told Roger Graham of his disappointment at losing his job and mentioned that Allan McManus and James Grady had been appointed joint caretaker manager before adding: "I have my own opinion of those two but will keep it to myself."

While in the Daily Record Grady mentioned that they'd had disagreements: "He's a good person but every manager knows he'll get the sack one day. We had our arguments but I wish him well."

As recently as 6th June Grady had said: "I have had so many years with Davie Irons in the past and we have been at clubs where we have had to stand shoulder to shoulder, such as previous regimes at Gretna with things people don't know about. But I want the contract because I think I can do a job for Morton on and off the pitch. It's not because I'm pals with Davie Irons."

Irons' description of Grady as one of 'those two' is clearly negative so it would appear that their relationship has turned sour and if that's the case it would suggest that Irons must've completely lost the dressing room as Grady seemed to be his big ally within the squad when he initially signed for the club (pictured, above: Irons and Grady embrace on the pitch).

Hopefully Irons departure heralds a new beginning for the club and the end of the negative atmosphere that has been eminating from Cappielow for a long, long time.

Greenock Telegraph - Irons Wishes Ton Well (22.09.2009)

Daily Record - Morton Appoint James Grady & Allan McManus As Caretaker Bosses (22.09.2009)

greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com - Grady Signs New Deal (18.07.2009)


Ill With A Virus Or Ill With Worry

Peter Weatherson was ruled out of Saturday's match with Raith Rovers due to illness. Apparently he was suffering from a virus.

However, I just wonder if he was left out of the squad because he is due in court today and his head wasn't in the right place.

Peter is set to appear in Greenock Sheriff Court at some point today in regard to an alleged assault on Alex Coulter at Word Up in December of last year. The Scottish Sun reported the story and said that Weatherson was later detained by Traffic police. It added that Coulter was left with cuts and bruises to his face but declined hospital treatment.

Update - 23.09.2009

Peter made a plea of not guilty according to the 23rd September editions of the Greenock Telegraph and Scottish Sun. The Sun added that Weatherson's solicitor, Alasdair Hendry, told Greenock Sheriff Court that there is a possiblity of a special defence of self defence being lodged. Peter is set to stand trial next month.

Peter Weatherson - greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com (10.12.2008)

Greenock Sheriff Court - Tuesday 22nd of September 2009 (see #69)

Grady Wants To Make Caretaker Role Permanent

As expected James Grady and Allan McManus, as Morton's most experienced players with coaching badges, have both been appointed joint caretaker manager - and Grady has ambitions to make the position permanent.

In an article in today's Scottish Sun the pint-sized striker tells Robert Grieve of his desire to take his chance and get on the managerial ladder, he said:

"Myself and Allan are now in a position where we have a chance to step on to the managerial ladder. We are still only in temporary charge and the chairman has not promised us anything. But hopefully we can do well in the time we're given.

"We'll go in and prepare the team the best we can and hopefully results will come. We may only be caretakers, but there's no doubt we both look upon this as an opportunity.

"Allan and I have done our coaching badges and have been taking the club's Under-19s. We enjoy working with players on the training pitch and hopefully that won't change.

"It's about getting the team winning matches and ultimately that's what will either get us the job in the long-term or have us going back to being players."

Grady also hinted that all was not well under the previous manager, he added: "There are players here who weren't involved under the previous gaffer for whatever reason. Everyone is starting from scratch and everyone is available for selection." It will be interesting to see if players like Dominic Shimmin suddenly recover from injury and come back into the fold.

Worryingly, Grady finished by saying that he believed he should've been playing more often than he has. I'd suggest that if he really wants the job he should ignore his own pleas for first team football.

The Scottish Sun - I'll Make Grady As Manager (22.09.2009)


Irons Sacked

Davie Irons was sacked as Morton manager early this morning. His assistant Derek Collins also leaves the club.

A statement attributed to Douglas Rae was posted on the club's official website, it says: "the club greatly regretted the need for change but as football is a results driven business, change was imperative. Taking account of the last four league matches of last season, coupled with the first six matches of this season, the team has managed only one victory and nine defeats, scoring 4 goals and losing 22.

"Notwithstanding our current position in the 1st Division, the Club will not be rushed into making a new appointment.

"Applications will be welcomed from suitably qualified Managers who have a sound, current knowledge of the S.F.L."

Irons was appointed Morton manager on 19th February 2008. His time at Cappielow began brightly as he managed to guide the club to safety in the 2007/08 season by finishing third bottom when a play-off spot looked likely. The 2008/09 season was up and down as we started dreadfully (with no wins in the first quarter) and finished dreadfully (losing the last four games). However, we did manage a good run of results between January and April and this run meant that we eventually finished 6th in the table. A terrible start to the 2009/10 season sees us sitting bottom of the table with three points after six games - there is no doubt that it was time for a new management team at Cappielow.

Irons' record as Morton manager was: Played 64, Won 22, Drew 15 and Lost 27. This works out as a win percentage of 34.37%. You can find a full break down of his stats on his profile page: David Irons.

gmfc.net - Press Release (21.09.2009)

bbc.co.uk - Irons Dismissed From Morton Job (includes audio interview)

Raith Rovers 3 - 0 Morton

Raith Rovers 3 - Tadé (27, 50), Ferry (85)
Morton 0 -

Att: 2040

In a similar vein to the Partick Thistle defeat a couple of weeks earlier Morton were ripped to shreds by a strike partnership; this time it as Grégory Tadé's and Damian Casalinuovo's turn to give the Morton defence nightmares.

Tadé scored a double - the first after Colin Stewart needlessly kicked the ball out of play - but Casalinuovo was the star of the show. The big striker was strong, skillful and direct - just what the Morton defence don't like. He only succeeded in hitting the post with a header but the striker was head and shoulders above the rest of the players on the pitch. I would not be surprised to see him return to Dundee United (from whom he is on loan to Raith) and make an impact in the SPL in future.

As for Morton is was another pathetic display, This must be Davie Irons last match in charge of the club. The fans ceratinly think so and vented their feelings when they joined in with Toby in a chorus of 'Are You Watching Dougie Rae?' to let the chairman know that what we're watching is unacceptable. TTG DI!

Morton (4-5-1):

1. Stewart - 5
2. McGuffie - 5
3. Walker - 5
4. McManus - 6
5. Greacen - 7
6. MacFarlane - 6 (12. Paartalu - 77 mins)
7. Finlayson - 6
8. Masterton - 4 (16. Grady - 52 mins)
9. Graham - 6
10. Jenkins - 4
11. McAlister - 6

Unused Subs:

14. MacGregor
15. Monti
20. McWilliams

Booked: Walker, MacFarlane, Greacen

McGuffie Greacen McManus Walker
Finlayson Jenkins Masterton McAlister

Raith Rovers: McGurn, Wilson, Ellis (Wedderburn 89), Murray, Hill, Davidson, Williamson, Walker, Casalinuovo (Weir 80), Tade, Sloan (Ferry 69).

Subs Not Used: Bryce, O'Connor.

Booked: Wilson, Hill, Davidson.

My man of the match: Damian Casalinuovo (Raith Rovers)

Sponsor's man of the match: Gregory Tade (Raith Rovers)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

raithroversfc.com - Match Report

raith roversfc.com - Match Reaction

bbc sport - Match Report


Morton 0 - 3 Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Morton 0 -
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3 - Sanchez (45), Foran (60), Proctor (85)

Att: 1946

A heartless, gutless, disorganised Morton performance got exactly what it deserved - a 3-0 hammering at home to a Caley Thistle side who didn't even have to put in much effort to waltz away with the three points.

The Morton performance was characterised by shocking defending. Johnny Hayes ghosted past David MacGregor with ease to set up the first for Dani Sanchez. Richie Foran cut in from the left and made a mockery of Alex Walker by turning him inside out and back again before slotting the ball past a dismayed Colin Stewart. Just like the first Hayes was allowed to get down the left far too easily and he used the unacceptable amount of time and space given to pick out David Proctor who finished from 10 yards.

This was dismal and the crowd of just 1946 - the worst home league crowd for a weekend match in years - shows that the Morton support are voting with their feet. Those who did bother to go showed their anger by booing the manager and his team off at full-time.

Morton (4-3-1-2):

1. Stewart - 6
2. McGuffie - 6
3. MacGregor - 4
4. Walker - 4 (15. Monti - 85 mins)
5. McManus - 5
6. MacFarlane - 5 (14. Finlayson - 69 mins)
7. Jenkins - 5
8. Paartalu - 4
9. Wake - 6 (12. Graham - 55 mins)
10. Weatherson - 6
11. McAlister - 6

Unused Subs:

16. Grady
20. McWilliams

Booked: McAlister.

McGuffie McManus Walker MacGregor
Paartalu MacFarlane Jenkins
Wake Weatherson

Inverness C. T.: Esson, Munro, Golabek, Bulvitis, Tokely, Eagle (Proctor 73), Cox, Stratford, Sanchez (Barrowman 83), Foran (Rooney 90), Hayes.

Subs Not Used: Duncan, Allison.

My man of the match: Johnny Hayes (ICT)

Sponsor's man of the match: n/a

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

ictfc.premiumtv.com - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

Tontastic Pictures


Irons Must Go

Yesterday's shocking 3-0 reverse at home to Inverness Caley Thistle MUST be Davie Irons last match as Morton manager.

You will have noticed the lack of updates on this site in recent weeks and it's all because I can hardly motivate myself to go to matches, nevermind type up news items and match reports. I've never been more disillusioned with the club than I am now. Even during the darkest days of administration, nearly going out of business and consecutive relegations I still looked forward to watching my team. In the lead up to Saturday's match I seriously thought about giving it a miss even though I wasn't doing anything else, I have a season ticket and haven't missed a home match in 12 years.

Watching our team is soul destroying at the moment - as shown by a sub 2000 attendance for a Saturday home league game - and unless chairman Douglas Rae acts now we will continue to lose fans (some of which we might never win back; recently my son asked me for a Celtic 'bumble bee' shirt instead of Morton's new effort) and worst of all, we could easily find ourselves back in division two. Relegation is unthinkable but under Irons I actually believe it is possible and so I think we can't afford NOT to sack the manager even though the pay off the management team would receive could be considered a cost the club could well do without.

Time to go Davie!