Cuthbert And Jenkins Aim For Celtic Tie

Injured Morton stars Allan Jenkins (pictured) and Kevin Cuthbert are on the mend and both are aiming to be fit for the Scottish cup tie against Celtic on the 9th of January.

Cuthbert has been out for around three months with a broken foot. He hasn't made an apperance for the first team this season and although he mentions the Celtic game as something to aim for, he remains realistic about his chances of playing. "I've been delayed by that [the weather]. It's not easy. I hope to be involved again by the start of the new year," he tells the Greenock Telegraph. "I haven't targeted a game, but maybe round about the Celtic cup tie. I obviously need games, but it's not going to be easy."

Jenkins' absence has been a bit shorter, but no less important. The Morton midfield has lacked a bit of presence in the nine weeks without the dynamic midfielder. Fortunately, Jenkins, like Cuthbert, hopes to be in contention for the Celtic game. "I was sitting watching the draw and when I saw Celtic coming out I could feel my knee getting a bit better," he joked in the Tele'. "I played against them when I was at Stranraer, in the cup, and at Gretna of course. Ideally I'd like to get as much of a game as I can before then. But if the boys beat Dundee and Ayr the best I can hope for is maybe to warm the bench."

Colin Stewart might have something to say about Cuthbert coming straight back into the team for the Celtic match, but there's no doubt a fit Cuthbert, and a fit Jenkins, would be a welcome boost in our battle to avoid relegation. The sooner we see them back in Morton colours the better.

Greenock Telegraph - Jenks Targets Ayr (16.12.2009)

Greenock Telegraph - Ton Keeper Is Inching Back To Full Fitness (23.12.2009)


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com readers!

Pic courtesy of greenockmorton.org messageboard poster Bawheid

Game Off

The Boxing Day fixture against Ayr United has been postponed after a pitch inspection this morning.

A statement on the club website explained the decision: "The poor weather forecast for the next couple of days was also taken into consideration. Both clubs hope that that this decision will give supporters additional time to cancel travel arranagements, and will avoid the possibility of a late call off."

This means that we have played our last match in 2009. Our next fixture is against Partick Thistle on the 4th January 2010.

gmfc.net - Boxing Day Match Postponed (24.12.2009)

Christmas Eve Pitch Inspection

A pitch inspection will be carried out at Cappielow at 10.30am tomorrow morning to decide whether or not the boxing day fixture versus Ayr United will go ahead.

Inverclyde is covered in a white blanket after heavy snow fell for most of Tuesday. The weather is expected to stay pretty severe, with the BBC predicting light snow on the day of the game.

The back page of today's Scottish Sun included a picture of groundsman Mark Farrell posing with a Ton supporting snowman at a frosty Cappielow.

SFL - Pitch Inspections (23.12.2009)

The Scottish Sun - Sales Are All White (23.12.2009)


Fans Rage At Celtic Scarves

Morton fans have reacted angrily to local sports shop Smiths' decision to sell half Celtic, half Morton scarves commemorating the upcoming Scottish cup tie.

A thread on the greenockmorton.org messageboard - titled '"new" scarfs: A total DISGRACE' - includes some irate posts from disgruntled fans. Poster Spot Ton said: "If the club did indeed sanction this then it just proves what a lot of people have said in the past that there is nobody at Cappielow who understands football fans in general or Morton fans in particular." Another named Standman said "The problem for me is that I don't want Morton associated with the Old Firm. End of." While Savo raged: "These stupid scarves are deplorable. Any self-respecting Morton supporter wouldn't be seen dead wearing one, in my opinion."

The limited edition scarves cost £7 and are included in the collection of Morton merchandise on display in one of Smiths' windows (pictured, above). The scarf includes both teams' official club crest (although the Morton badge doesn't include any writing) and the following text:


However, not all fans are up in arms, some don't see the problem as long as the club makes money from it.

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

greenockmorton.org - thread posted by The Bewilderedbeast


Dundee 3 - 1 Morton

Dundee 3 - Griffiths (54), Harkins (65), Malone (87)
Morton 1
- Weatherson (60)

Att: 4259

Top o' the league, and we're naw: a Dundee side inspired by star players Leigh Griffiths and Gary Harkins proved to too hot for the Ton as they ran out comfortable 3-1 winners at a snow covered Dens Park today.

Allan McManus said that Morton would go back to the drawing board after last week's defeat at home to Queen Of The South. There were changes, in terms of personnel and formation, but nothing drastic. However, I think that might be more to do with the limitations of the current squad rather than Grady's mindset. We went back to more of a flat four in midfield: Carlo Monti and Erik Paartalu were central with Kevin Finalyson and Jim McAlister back in their more familiar position close to the touchline. Iain Russell - who recently returned from a loan spell at Alloa - replaced McAlister up front, while Alan Reid - back after suspension - replaced Davie MacGregor at left-back. MacGregor and Ryan McGuffie found themselves in the unfortunate position of bench warmers on a freezing cold day.

Russell almost made an immediate impact when he beat the Dundee offside trap to get on the end of Monti's ball over the top, but the former Brechin man only succeeded in sidefooting his volley over the bar.

Three minutes later Dundee goalkeeper Rab Douglas managed to push a powerful Peter Weatherson free-kick round the post. Paartalu got on the end of the resultant corner, but his front post header was caught by Douglas.

Colin Stewart was also on form at the other end. First he made a great save to deny Gary Harkins in the 26th minute. The Greenock-born midfielder let fly from 25-yards, but the Ton number 1 was equal to the effort and managed to get two strong hands behind his save. The first save was all about good solid goalkeeping, his next was all about instinct, agility and reflexes. A corner from the right was headed towards goal by Leigh Griffiths, but Stewart could only parry to the feet of Craig Forsyth, who was about six yards out. I'd already written it off as a certain goal, but Stewart somehow managed to arch back and make a superb block on the line. Monti was also alive to the danger and got back to clear the ball off the line.

As usual, we started brightly before fading as our opponents came into the game. We managed to play some decent football and create a couple of good chances early on, but Dundee appeared to settle down towards the end of the half. The home side were in the ascendancy, yet I still felt there was cause for optimism as we'd done enough to contain the league leaders away from home to go in level at half-time.

Unfortunately, Dundee needed only 14 second half minutes to crush my positive attitude. Craig Forsyth whipped a diagonal cross in behind the Morton defence from out on the left. Dominic Shimmin and Alan Reid both appeared to think the other man should've been picking up Griffiths - the talented striker took advantage of the confusion by nipping in behind them to head past Stewart with ease.

At this point I thought it was game over. So you can imagine my astonishment when we levelled in the 60th minute. Finlayson picked the ball up on the right and delivered an inch perfect cross to the front past where Weatherson had done enough to get in front of his marker to head past Douglas to make it 1-1. Peter's heading techniqiue is superb at times - and this was one of those times. In one motion he managed to lean back and twist his body in such a way that it allowed him to guide the ball away from Douglas and into the top corner. This was the Geordie's 9th goal of the season. Last season he managed 10 goals all season, while the total was 11 the season before. Keep it up Peter!

Just as the equaliser revitalised my once-crushed spirits Harkins decided to crush them again. Dundee caught Morton out with a swift counter attack in which Richie Hart raced away down the left. The former Caley Thistle midfielder managed to out sprint the chasing Paartalu to get to the by line before cutting back to the edge of the box where the in-rushing Harkins arrived right on time to side-footed past Stewart with ease.

We didn't take this lying down and, although Dundee were starting to take control, we did manage to create some chances. In the 76th minute Douglas did well to parry a stinging Paartalu volley, the rebound eventually found its way to Weatherson who hooked over from six yards. To be fair to Peter the ball came to him at a difficult height and he did have a defender right behind him putting him under pressure. But it was a decent chance nonetheless.

In the 82nd minute Jim McAlister manufactured a chance for himself when he flicked the ball between two Dundee players on the edge of the box. He ran round them and curled a speculative shot towards the top corner. The view provided by our seat in the main stand wasn't great, but from where we were sitting it seemed as if the shot was inches from nestling in the Dundee net.

Dundee settled the match in the 87th minute. A Harkins corner from the left appeared to be harmlessly drifting beyond everyone and out for a throw in before Shimmin inexplicably side footed the ball out for another corner. You can only imagine that the Dominic didn't get a shout from any of his team mates. In saying that, you could also argue that he should've been more aware of his surroundings. Either way Dundee capitalised on the mistake when Eddie Malone headered home Forsyth's corner from the opposite side. The former St. Mirren defender rose unchallenged to head home just yards from goal. Stewart was posted missing and took the blame for the goal in the press the next day.

James Grady criticised his side for being defensively naive and stated that there was only so many times you can explain to the players what he wants them to do before he has to concede that they just aren't good enough. He told the Tele's Roger Graham that he'll be looking to strengthen in the January transfer window: "We need to get better quality in and we need players with a better mental strength."

Under Grady our performances have improved, but the results haven't. A couple of additions are essential. We only have to look to the difference guys like Gary Harkins and Leigh Griffiths can make to an otherwise average squad of players. Hopefully Douglas Rae can see this and agrees. The alternative is to concede money is tight, stick with what we've got and risk relegation to the second division.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 7
2. Van Zanten - 6
3. Reid - 5
4. Shimmin - 6
5. Greacen - 5
6. Paartalu - 7
7. Finlayson - 6
8. Monti - 7
9. Weatherson - 7
10. Russell - 5 (16. Kane - 71 mins)
11. McAlister - 6

Unused Subs:

12. Wake
14. McGuffie
15. MacGregor
20. McWilliams

Booked: Monti

van Zanten Greacen Shimmin Reid
Finlayson Paartalu Monti McAlister
Weatherson Russell

Dundee: Douglas, Paton, Malone, Kerr, MacKenzie, Lauchlan, Forsyth, Hart, Griffiths (Clarke - 81), McMenamin, Harkins (Klimpl - 82).

Subs Not Used: Benedictus, Cameron, Soutar.

Booked: Hart, Malone.

My man of the match: Gary Harkins (Dundee)

Sponsor's man of the match: Gary Harkins (Dundee)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match Ticket

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

dundeefc.co.uk - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

Kevin McKinlay On Trial

Former Ross County, Partick Thistle and Dundalk midfielder Kevin McKinlay is currently on trial with Morton.

The Evening Times' Bert Mitchell states that the 23-year-old played in a bounce game versus Rangers on Tuesday, and that he will also play in another closed doors game next week.

McKinlay is quoted as saying: "Obviously I am keen to get things sorted out and hopefully the trial match went well and Morton will have another look at me next week

"They are very ambitious under Allan and James and I'd love the chance to sign for them. I am a bit short of match practice, but my fitness is good and hopefully I can do myself justice and earn a deal."

According to his profile on ptfc.co.uk Kevin is "primarily left sided, strong in the air and quick, and can play on either side of the park or in a more central role."

Full Name: Kevin Donald McKinlay
Age: 23 (28.02.1986)
Position: Left Midfield; Left Back
Born: Stirling, Scotland
Nationality: Scottish
Height: 6' 0"
Former Clubs: Chelsea, Ross County [loan], Ross County, Partick Thistle, Dundalk (Republic of Ireland)

Evening Times - Former Jag Kev In For Morton Switch (18.12.2009)

ptfc.co.uk - Kevin McKinlay profile


AGM Report

by Russell Gordon

The 113th Annual General Meeting of Greenock Morton Football Club took place in the board room of Cappielow Park this evening, with around 40 shareholders present, along with chairman Douglas Rae, directors Crawford Rae and Stuart Duncan, secretary Mary Davidson taking the minutes and Chief Executive Gillian Donaldson.

Mr. Rae snr. kicked off proceedings by telling us of four apologies before asking Mrs. Davidson to read the minutes from last year's meeting, which were swiftly approved.

The chairman then went on to give us his report from a year that had its fair share of ups and downs, from the euphoria of avoiding relegation at Firhill in April 2008 through the catastrophic start to season 08/09, the "substantial improvement" in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and the disappointments of the final quarter, culminating in defeat in each of our last four games resulting in a more disappointing finish than could've been expected at one stage towards the end of the season.

Mr. Rae outlined his own high and low points from last term, speaking glowingly of our 4-3 Co-op Cup win at Easter Road and of the purchase of the Reid Kerr Stand from Love Street at a cost of £50,000 (installation costs will bring this closer to the £250,000 mark). He was, however, disappointed with declining crowds, having budgeted for average crowds of 3200 on Morton's return to the First Division. My personal thoughts are that this was an ambitious target, given that, whilst a better standard of football is on display in the First Division, enticing fair weather fans to see a team that isn't winning all the time is harder than getting them to watch a team that was winning more often than not as was the case prior to promotion. Added to rising overheads, such as players wages at the higher level, and electricity, water costs etc. the possibility of part time football across the First Division could well be round the corner in 2-3 years time unless a major sponsor can be attracted to the SFL. Let's be honest, that ain't going to happen.

The chairman made it quite clear that the purse-strings are being tightened and was quick to point out that supporters' expectations regarding spending in January may well differ greatly from the reality of the situation; "It is not a question of need, but of what we can afford". Former manager Davie Irons' ears may well have been burning at this juncture, with the blame being laid at his feet for the playing budget being exceeded by £100,000 due to some "ridiculous" pay rises in the chairman's opinion. With last season being Dunfermline's second season in the SFL, and a lot of the higher earners at East End Park coming off the wage bill, there was scope for strengthening in Fife. When Jim McIntyre approached certain Morton players (who weren't named), Irons felt he had to match the Pars' offer to keep a hold of his men. Dundee were also sniffing about a few of the squad at this time.

New manager James Grady seems more keen on bringing in part-time players who have the desire to take the step up. From a financial point of view that may be no bad thing, but whether it pays off on the park remains to be seen. Mr. Rae then pointed out that with 12 players out of contract in the summer, Grady will have room to manoeuvre - this brought me to the conclusion that Grady and McManus will be staying in the dugout beyond the end of the season, something that the board refused to confirm or deny. They did however seem very encouraged, certainly with performances, if not results. Although the club's crippling injury list was used as a form of legislation for that.

It was interesting to note the chairman pointing out that Grady and McManus have revitalised morale to the extent that the dressing room is a much happier place than at any point in the previous 18 months. This prompted Andy Morrison to speculate whether or not the board blame Irons for previous issues. This was quickly refuted, but it's not rocket science to try and work out what the common denominator was in all the bad feeling in the Cappielow dressing room.

Mr. Rae conceded it will be difficult trying to move players on, citing Bobo Balde's refusal to do anything other than pick up a wage at Celtic Park for a few years, as nobody's going to move on for a worse deal. John Edwards then asked whether the club would review their policy on the length of contracts they would issue to players. Mr. Rae pointed out that all contract negotiations depend on certain circumstances such as the player's age, his sell on value etc., but 2 year deals are the ideal scenarios in most cases as a one year deal allows a player to start looking at better offers almost immediately, whilst 3 year deals can leave the club with some dead wood that's hard to shift. He said that of the 12 players that are out of contract [Ed - by my reckoning it's 13 , 14 if you include Allan McManus's playing contract: link), only 2 are likely to receive offers before the end of the season.

The Chairman then passed on to Stuart Duncan to discuss the club's youth set-up. With three teams operating at under-19,under-17 and under-15 levels, the club are looking to get into the SFA Pro Youth set-up for the start of next season. There are 5 pages of criteria that they have to meet - and the goal posts are likely to be moved again by the start of next term. All teams are required to use the new 3G parks, but the club are in contact with Inverclyde Council on a regular basis given that they are currently in the process of spending £35 million on Sports facilities in the area. Stuart did say that the SFA employ a tick list to audit facilities - basically the better the facilities, the more money you get. Perhaps that explains why there's not been much coming out of Cappielow for years. In order to enter the new set up a Head of Youth Development has to be appointed, with the club looking to appoint an experienced pro from within. Given the lack of coaching experience such an appointment would likely have, I'm a bit sceptical. There was a bit of confusion as to the new academy being a seperate entity from Morton, given that it is deemed to be self financing yet the club benefit without putting much in in return and hold the players' registrations, but it was made pretty clear that we had no other option. Do we want our promising young boys pulling on St. Mirren shirts? No, thought not.

Right, down to the nitty-gritty - Alistair Donald. Danny Goodwin asked what he contributed to the club, only for the chairman to mutter "Nothing", confirming he resigned from the board on the 8th December 2009. Crawford Rae went on to say that he had been brought into the club as he seemed to share the Raes' dream of SPL football, and the thought of a fresh face with new ideas appealed. However, given the time he spent in New York and Helsinki, due to his other business commitments, he felt he couldn't dedicate the necessary time to his role at Cappielow. A partner in Accenture Consultancy he was seen to have worthy experience and was placed in charge of revenue and grants. Asked if Mr. Donald fulfilled his financial commitment to the club, the chairman replied, "No, he is indebted to the club and is being pursued."

On to Dominic Shimmin and his injuries. The chairman accepted that there has been a great deal of scepticism about Shimmin's commitment from various parties within Cappielow, himself and the manager included, and that Shimmin had received two written warnings from the club, but after knuckling down in an intense 3 week programme he has shown no lack of commitment although his contract probably won't be renewed in the summer.

Having rambled on, I'll clear up some other matters that were discussed. I brought up issues regarding the Smiths website that has been poorly maintained, almost certainly resulting in loss of revenue and the Bukta fiasco of the summer. The club will speak to Smiths regarding the website, but couldn't comment on Bukta for legal reasons! Make of that what you will.

The club's relationship with Riverside Inverclyde was also brought up, given the fortunate position Queen of the South have found themselves in with a local contractor planning to throw up stands at Palmerston. The club have spoken with them, but not agreed on anything.

Regarding ground improvements, £230,000 has been spent on lighting to bring it up to SPL standards and the Wee Dublin End Stand is still scheduled to be open for the start of next term. A Flood Defence System has also been installed after the stand suffered water damage last winter from flooding from the railway line. As ever, Mark Farrell was also commended on his excellent work on the Cappielow pitch.

Some concerns were also raised about the potential for trouble at the Celtic game, but these were dispelled after Crawford told us of his talks with the Match Commander. Celtic fans in colours can expect to be rejected from the home sections of the ground, but don't expect this to be a weekly occurance, as the board made it clear that unlike some fans, they have no qualms with people turning up for ordinary league matches in Old Firm colours.

If we can reach one conclusion from the night, at least we can be sure that Alistair Donald wasn't the knight in shining armour some made him out to be. Here endeth that chapter.


AGM Tonight

The Greenock Morton Football Club annual general meeting will be held at Cappielow later tonight.

Morton shareholder, and occasional greenockmortonfc.blogspot contributor, Russell Gordon will be in attendance - and he plans to ask a few pertinent questions.

Russell has kindly offered to write up a report of the evening. This will appear here in the next couple of days.


Celtic Tickets On Sale Today

Tickets for the Morton versus Celtic Scottish Cup tie went on sale to the general public earlier today.

I'd already ordered four using my season ticket and when I went over to Cappielow to pick them up about 1pm today I walked into the office and bought an extra ticket for a friend without even having to wait in a queue.

However, I have read that there were queues outside Smiths prior to the shop opening. Some people were there as early as 7.40am. So if anyone's looking to pick up tickets hassle free, then get yourself to Cappielow.


Russell Returns To Cappielow

Morton striker Iain Russell has returned from a loan spell at Alloa Athletic and wants to force his way back into the first team at Cappielow.

He told the Scottish Sun's Ally Graham of his ambitions: "I've really enjoyed my time at Alloa, but I could have played more games and scored a few more goals. But they are in a great position in the league and I think they can go all the way this season.

"I've still been training at Morton and have been impressed with the new manager so I'm hoping I can reclaim my spot in the side."

In his short time at Recreation Park Iain started four matches, made two substitute appearances and scored two goals. In has last match he set up teammate Scott Agnew for the winning goal at home to Brechin City.

The Scottish Sun - Spotlight On Division 2 (14.12.2009)


Morton 1 - 2 Queen Of The South

Morton 1 - Weatherson (23)
Queen Of The South 2
- Burns (31), Holmes (64)

Att: 1814

Lightning strikes twice: 12 years ago Laurent Djaffo scored a stunning 40 yard volley to earn Ayr United a draw at Cappielow. Today, Queen Of The South's Derek Holmes scored a carbon copy of that goal to earn his side a 2-1 win.

After a run of consistent team selection James Grady decided that changes were needed after a poor second half showing at Dingwall in midweek. Dominic Shimmin was restored to the starting eleven after nine months out injured. As a result, David MacGregor moved out one to left-back to take the place of the suspended Alan Reid. There were also changes further forward: up front, Jim McAlister was preferred to both Brian Graham and Brian Wake (possibly because Grady felt he was more mobile than those two), while Ryan McGuffie took Jim's place in midfield.

Just like in the Ross County match last Tuesday, Morton started brightly. In the 8th minute McAlister headed an Erik Paartalu cross over the bar. Two minutes later Peter Weatherson headed a Carlo Monti cross inches wide.

Morton should've taken the lead in the 16th minute. Monti clipped a free-kick into the Queens box from just inside the opposition half. Weatherson jumped and flicked the ball on and quick as a flash he turned his marker and got on the end of his own header to volley towards goal, but David Hutton was equal to it. However, the keeper's block fell perfectly for the in-rushing McGuffie who only succeeded in blasting the ball right back at Hutton who made another decent save. A goalmouth scrambled ensued, one in which Stewart Greacen had a couple of shots blocked before the ball was cleared to safety. In my opinion, McGuffie really should've scored.

Derek Holmes almost gave the away side the lead a minute later. The chunky striker chased down a backpass and blocked Colin Stewart's attempted clearance. Fortunately for Stewart the ball flew over the crossbar.

We eventually got the goal our play merited in the 23rd minute. Paartalu was quickest to a loose ball out on the right, he steadied himself before drilling an undefendable cross into the six yard box. Weatherson managed to sneak ahead of the Queens of the South rearguard and bullet a header past Hutton for his eighth goal of the season.

Stewart Greacen sometimes comes unstuck when faced with a striker of a similar height and physical stature. Kenny Deuchar has given the big man a torrid time on more than one occasion. I also remember lanky Alloa striker Andy Brown giving him a bit of a runaround in one match at Cappielow. To be fair, he hasn't been coming second best in many of these battles over the last season or two, but he certainly did at the weekend. Derek Holmes was outmuscling him and beating him in the air with alarming regularity. In the 29th minute Holmes nodded the ball down (after outjumping Greacen) to David Weatherston, but Stewart managed to push the pacy striker's shot around the post for a corner.

The Dumfries men equalised in the 31st minute. Willie McLaren skipped past Greacen out on the left and cut inside before releasing Paul Burns down the right. The matchstick thin midfielder ran at Davie MacGregor who backed off, and backed off, thus giving Burns enough time and space to hit a speculative shot at goal that hit off the underside of Stewart's body and bounced up into the net. It was a pretty weak effort that Stewart should've saved, but MacGregor should've never let him get a shot away in the first place.

In the 35th minute referee Steven Nicholl decided to wave play on after Marvin Andrews appeared to foul Weatherson in the box. Kevin Finlayson clipped a diagonal pass in behind Andrews, Peter chested across the Trinidad and Tobago defender at angle that put him past his opponent with no chance of recovery - unless he fouled him! Andrews turned and barged into the Ton striker for what should've been a stonewall penalty. The only problem was that the only man in the stadium who didn't agree was the man who mattered. This proved to be a big turning point.

Just like in the Ross County match we faded spectacularly. To be quite frank, the second half performance was pretty abysmal. We only had two real chances of note in the second half. In the 5oth minute McAlister dragged a left footed shot past Hutton's left hand post. Then, 30 minutes later, substitute Stevie Masterton drilled a 30 yarder inches past the same post.

Queen Of The South's winner was sandwiched in between these two chances. Holmes beat (or 'ragdolled' as the guy standing behind me described it) Greacen in an aerial joust and turned to get on the end of his own flick on - much like Weatherson did at the start of the match. He then proceeded to stun everyone present by letting the ball bounce once before smashing a 35 yard volley over the stranded Stewart and into the net via the post. This wasn't quite as good as Djaffo's goal, but spectacular nonetheless. If I'm being critical I'd suggest that Stewart was a bit too far off his line. This goal turned out to be the winner as Queens held on for a 2-1 win.

In Monday's Evening Times assistant manager Allan McManus said: "I felt we didn’t turn up in the second half. We will need to go back to the drawing board.” The last two results have been poor, but the first half performances have been positive and with more players coming back from injury and the January transfer window almost upon us I still feel optimistic that Grady and McManus are taking us in the right direction. I'd prefer to see it as building on what they've already started rather than going back to the drawing board.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 6
2. Van Zanten - 6
3. MacGregor - 5
4. Shimmin - 7
5. Greacen - 5
6. Paartalu - 7
7. Finlayson - 6
8. Monti - 6 (12. Graham - 79 mins)
9. Weatherson - 7
10. McGuffie - 5 (15. Masterton - 75 mins)
11. McAlister - 5

Unused Subs:

14. Wake
16. Shepherd
20. McWilliams

van Zanten Greacen Shimmin MacGregor
Finlayson McGuffie Monti
Weatherson McAlister

Queen Of The South: Hutton, McMillan, Harris, McKenna, Reid, Andrews, Burns, Quinn, Holmes, Weatherston (Scally 90), McLaren (Kean 74).

Subs Not Used: Wyness, McParland [Trialist], McGeown,

Booked: McMillan, McKenna.

My man of the match: Dominic Shimmin

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

Scottish Sun - Match Report

Daily Record - Match Report

qosfc.com - Match Report

qosfc.com - Match Reaction

bbc sport - Match Report


Flawed Genius Review

Flawed Genius: Scottish Football's Self-Destructive Mavericks

Andy Ritchie's football career never reached the heights it should have. He never succeeded at Celtic, he was never capped by Scotland (at full level), and he never got the big move his talent merited. In fact, Ritchie was only 28-years-old when he stopped playing. An age at which he should've been in his prime.

Stephen McGowan's Flawed Genius examines the reasons why Ritchie never quite fulfilled his potential. However, this isn't strictly McGowan's take on Ritchie. The chapter is more like an extended interview; an interview in which Ritchie comes across as a man full of regrets. Only now does he appear to acknowledge that a lot of his problems were of his own making: he was lazy, had weight issues, drank too much, smoked too much, gambled too much, and had a bad attitude. Reading the chapter it seems obvious that the demon drink is Ritchie's biggest problem. Something he himself admits: "I maintain I have never been an alcoholic, but I would concede this much: I've had my problems with alcohol."

As a Morton supporter I found it quite disheartening to read about how much he wished he left Cappielow, or in some cases, how much he regretted signing in the first place: "Had I known at the time [That Jock Stein tried to re-sign him for £170,000 weeks after letting him leave], I would have created merry hell to secure my return to full-time football." He goes on "It's difficult to explain in words how I felt about it years later. I just wish to Christ I had known it at the time."

To a neutral Ritchie's regret is understandable, but Ton fans who adored him on the terraces might feel slightly hurt to read that he now wishes he'd returned to Parkhead rather than experience the great times he did in Greenock. For this reason I found the chapter depressing reading in places. You come away feeling both sorry for Ritchie, and quite sad that it seems like a lot of his regret centres on the fact that he spent so long at Morton.

McGowan's chapter is unique in that it strips back the gloss and takes a look at the real Andy Ritchie. Not the player, but the man. If it's a glowing tribute supplemented by funny stories and anecdotes you're after then look elsewhere. But if you'd be interested to read about the man behind the myth and legend then I'd recommend this as essential reading.

Buy the book here: amazon.co.uk - Flawed Genius

Alistair Donald Resigns From Board

Morton have announced that Alistair Donald has resigned from his position on the board of directors at Cappielow.

In an email sent to the club two days ago Donald said:
Over the last few months my business commitments both in the UK and in New York have taken off and I am unlikely to have the time to support the Club in a way which I feel is appropriate. It has been a real privilege to have been associated with the Club. I do hope that the Club which is a fantastic Community Club can realise its aspirations.
The club ended the statement by thanking Donald (pictured: sitting with Douglas Rae) for his input and wishing him well in the future.

The announcement comes at a time when Mr Donald's position at Cappielow is under intense scrutiny. Rasta Ton - a regular on the greenockmorton.org messageboard - has access to the club's recently published accounts and made the following post: "Mr Donald as of 31 May 2009 has contributed nothing other than owe the club circa £20k (which may or may not have been settled since the accounts period of 31 May 2009)." There have also been other allegations made against Donald, but I have no idea whether they are true or not so will not post them here.

Alistair Donald joined the Greenock Morton board of directors in January 2008. He maintained that he was only joining the board in an advisory capacity, and that he had no intention of investing in the club. However, a story on gmfc.net stated that he paid for a pre-season trip to Austria in the summer of 2009. There were never any announcements made on what ways Mr Donald used his business expertise to bring fresh ideas to the club.

gmfc.net - Alistair Donald (10.12.2009)

greenockmorton.org - The Books, To Year End 31 May 2009

greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com - New Director On Board (15.01.2008)

gmst.org.uk - Meeting With Alistair Donald (13.10.2008)

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


Celtic Tickets On Sale

Tickets for the Morton versus Celtic Scottish Cup tie went on sale to season ticket holders, and those with Dumbarton ticket stubs, yesterday.

They go on sale to the general public on Wednesday 16th December.

Prices are: Adults - £15, Concessions - £10, Children under-14 - £5.

For full details click on the link below:

gmfc.net - Morton -v- Celtic (08.12.2009)


Ross County 3 - 1 Morton

Ross County 0 - Wood (49), Brittain (67 pen), Scott (90)
Morton 1
- Paartalu (29)

Att: 1752

Two steps forward, one step back: a very poor second half performance saw Morton concede three preventable goals to throw away the one goal lead they held at half-time.

There was only one change to the team that beat Dumbarton in the cup on Saturday: James Grady decided that Brian Graham's headed winner in the cup match was enough to earn the young striker a start. Graham took Brian Wake's place in the team. Stevie Masterton was deemed fit enough to take a place on the bench.

One of the biggest surprises of the evening was the weather. This was a midweek match, in the Highlands, in the middle of December. But, believe it or not, the weather was pretty mild. It wasn't snowing, raining or even that cold. It was certainly suitable conditions for us to continue playing our passing football. We didn't quite continue were we left off in the Dumbarton game, as chances were few and far between, but we did look pretty solid.

Jim McAlister had a great chance to open the scoring in the 7th minute when he was played through on goal, but he was forced to a difficult angle and dragged his shot across goal and agonisingly wide of Michael McGovern's far post.

Peter Weatherson headed wide in the 18th minute. The striker managed to get ahead of his marker to meet a cross from the left but the Ross County defender managed to recover and give Peter enough of a nudge to put him off his header.

Our only other chance in the first half resulted in a goal - and what a goal it was. Brian Graham received the ball on the left hand corner of the box (as the Morton team looked at it) and managed to hold it up to allow support to arrive. He laid the ball off to Aussie midfielder Erik Paartalu, who let fly from 25 yards without breaking his stride. The ball arrowed straight into the McGovern's top left hand corner to spectacularly open the scoring.

The Staggies weren't up to much and only managed to create two chances of note in the first period. On the half hour Scott Morrison's inswinging cross from the right went inches past the post after it had evaded everyone, including Colin Stewart. Then, four minutes later, Paul Di Giacomo was played though one-on-one with Stewart but he could only hammer into the side netting.

The small Morton support - 40 or so 'hardy souls' - were delighted to go in 1-0 up at half-time. No one would've predicted what was about to happen in the second half, as almost everything that could go wrong did.

County manager Derek Adams beefed up his attacking options by sending on Garry Wood. The former Caley Thistle striker made an immediate impact by equalising four minutes into the second half. Garry Miller managed to get in behind the Morton defence and cut back for Wood to tap in with ease.

The next blow arrived when Ton boss James Grady was sent to the stand after an altercation with Craig Brewster. This was a very harsh decision considering Brewster stepped into our technical area and started pushing Grady to get the ball. Grady pushed him back and then Brewster grabbed the wee man by the throat. Brewster was quite rightly sent to the stand, but it was a bit of a farce that Grady was sent to join him. He didn't take it lying down, however, as he climbed into the stand and stood about two seats from the front. He was then asked to sit down by the head steward, which he did - for two seconds. As soon as the head steward turned around he stood up again, in the kind of way you can imagine Gerry doing when a steward tells him to sit down. Crawford Rae had to make his way down from the back of the stand to convince James to come away from the front before he was ejected from the stadium (pictured, below: Grady watches the game from his new seat). The Morton fans seemed to love his defiant behaviour and treated him to a chorus of ' There's only one James Grady' to show him they were right behind him.

Things went from bad to worse in the 67th minute as Richard Brittain stroked a penalty down the middle to give the home side the lead. The spot kick was given after Alan Reid was adjudged to have handled by referee John McKendrick. There were some howls of derision from the away support, but I think the referee got it right. Reid's arms were all over the place when he jumped in front of the shot. Instead of jumping to block with his arms at his side, or even in a more natural position, he basically did a star jump with his arms and legs stretched out. There was six of us sitting together and we all agreed it was a penalty.

It was effectively game over when Alan Reid was sent off in the 85th minute. He gave away possession to end a promising Morton attack and it seemed that his frustration had gotten the better of him when he slid in with his studs up. He was given a straight red for the challenge, meaning that he automaticaly misses the Queen Of The South match on Saturday.

Brian Wake missed a great chance and Colin Stewart made a couple of excellent saves before the Staggies wrapped up the win in the 90th minute. In a déjà vu moment Martin Scott smashed the ball past Stewart after the ball had been cut back from the left hand side of the Morton defence. The vast majority of the goals we concede come down that side - this is something the management team will have to address. In a very controversial move, I'd advocate Dominic Shimmin's return to the starting XI in place of David MacGregor.

The second half performance was disjointed and nervy - a big comedown after the last four matches. For me, the most disappointing aspect was the way we resorted to hopeless long balls for the last half hour. It was a real backwards step. It will be interesting to see how Grady, and the team, respond to this set back.

Photographs in the body of the report courtesy of Russell Gordon.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 7
2. Van Zanten - 6
3. MacGregor - 5
4. Reid - 4
5. Greacen - 6
6. Paartalu - 6
7. Finlayson - 5
8. Monti - 6
9. Graham - 6 (16. Wake - 71 mins)
10. Weatherson - 5
11. McAlister - 6

Unused Subs:

12. Masterton
14. McGuffie
15. Shimmin
20. McWilliams

Booked: Monti

Sent Off: Reid (85)

van Zanten Greacen MacGregor Reid
Finlayson Monti
Graham Weatherson

Ross County: McGovern, Miller, Morrison, Kettlewell, Boyd, Keddie, Gardyne (Scott - 81), Lawson, Di Giacomo (Craig - 70), Brittain, Vigurs (Wood - 46)

Subs Not Used: Girvan, Malin.

Booked: Miller.

My man of the match: Colin Stewart

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match Ticket

Team Sheet

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report


Money's Tight

Douglas Rae has scuppered any hopes James Grady had of getting his hands on the cash raised by the cup tie with Celtic by stating that the money raised will be used to offset losses caused by the credit crunch and poor home crowds.

Rae (pictured) told the Evening Times's Bert Mitchell of his intentions: "The last few years have hit us hard and we have suffered from dwindling attendances. I am not sure what the Celtic tie will bring in, but any money will go to balancing the books.”

This would suggest that Grady will have to use the loan system to secure the striker he is desperately looking for. Either that or he plans to move on a couple of players he deems surplus to requirements in the January transfer window.

Evening Times - Morton's Celtic Cash May Go To Balance Books (07.12.2009)


Dumbarton 0 - 1 Morton

Dumbarton 0 -
Morton 1
- Graham (74)

Att: 1495

Super sub: Brian Graham's late header broke Dumbarton's hearts and earned Morton a crack at SPL giants Celtic in the 4th round of the Active Nation Scottish Cup.

James Grady sprung a little suprise with his team selection - and a big surprise with his choice of substitutes. After several weeks with the exact same team, Grady decided to change things about by adopting a diamond in midfield: Erik Paartalu sat in front of the defence, Carlo Monti - who, in the only change to the starting XI from the original tie, took Ryan McGuffie's place in the side - and Kevin Finalyson were the wide players (but playing a little narrower than orthodox wide midfielders), while Jim McAlister sat at the apex, just behind the front two. The biggest surprise was Dominic Shimmin's inclusion on the substitutes bench after nine months out injured (pictured, below).

Morton went for the jugular right from the first whistle. Monti's deliveries from set pieces and his crosses from out on the left were causing particular problems for the Dumbarton defence. Peter Weatherson managed to get on the end of quite a few of them but couldn't quite direct any of his headers properly. The one he did manage to get on target came from a Kevin Finlayson cross, but Jan Vojacek managed to get across and block at the post.

A minute later Stewart Greacen came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock. Monti whipped in a dangerous inswinging corner and the Ton captain arrived right on time to bullet a header towards goal, unfortunately, the ball crashed off the crossbar and back into play.

As I watched Morton create chance after chance but fail to score, I kept thinking on Andy Gray going on and on about how a team must score when they're going through a period of domination as there will always come a point that the opposition get on top. As we continued to fail to make our dominance count the Sons came back into the game towards the end of the half. Luckily for us the home side didn't manage to convert their chances either.

Roddy Hunter almost capitalised on an Alan Reid slip on the half-way line but Davie MacGregor got back to make a magnificent interception. Then Colin Stewart scrambled to save a Ben Gordon header at the second attempt in the 38th minute, thus ensuring that the sides went in level at half-time. Morton should've been leading.

The second half began in a similar fashion to the first - Morton were on top but not going at it as gung-ho as the first 20 minutes of the match. We were trying to build from the back and pass our way forward.

I can't remember one punt up field from Stewart. If it was a goal kick he'd pass it to a defender, and if he had the ball in his arms he'd bowl it out to the full-backs. Encouragingly, the players would take the ball and look for another pass - along the ground. Grady's training is working a treat as the players actually looked like they knew what they were doing, they had a game plan and were sticking to it. They refused to buckle under the pressure of impatient fans who would shout at them to 'stop fucking about back there and get it forward' and who would then boo any inaccurate long ball. Furthermore, they refused to succumb to the temptation to take the safe option and smash the ball forward in tight situations. Rather than resort to a long ball they would remain calm and pass their way to safety.

The big problem we have is that our passing moves seem to break down in the final third. We lack two things: a creative attacking midfielder who can unlock a tight defence with a key pass or a moment of genius, and a pacey striker who can get in behind a defence and get on the end of these visionary passes. The good news is that the Ton boss has acknowledged the need for these types of player (especially a striker) and is actively looking to make additions to address these problems. If Grady has the budget, and can find players who fit the bill, then I can see us climbing the table quite quickly.

22-year-old striker might have something to say about the need for a new striker as it was his goal that won the match and earned his club a crack at Celtic in the next round. David van Zanten and Finalyson combined down the right before van Zanten used the front of his right boot to drill a cross into the centre where Graham leaped and expertly angled a header beyond Vojacek's despairing dive. The goal arrived in the 74th minute - just three minutes after Graham had repleaced the ineffctual Brian Wake.

The match seemed over when Scott Chaplain was sent-off for a second bookable offence minutes after the goal. However, we still had to survive a couple of late scares - including one incident in which the Dumbarton goalkeeper came up for a corner and caused a bit of confusion in the Morton defence - before we could begin looking forward to the next round.

Referee Steven McLean's final whistle ended what seemed to be an eternity of injury-time. The roar that greeted the whistle was as much about relief as it was about joy. Bring on the Celtic!

Photographs courtesy of Tontastic.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 8
2. Van Zanten - 8
3. MacGregor - 7
4. Reid - 7
5. Greacen - 7
6. Paartalu - 6
7. Finlayson - 6
8. Monti - 8
9. Wake - 6 (12. Graham - 71 mins)
10. Weatherson - 7
11. McAlister - 7

Unused Subs:

14. McGuffie
15. Shimmin
16. Gordon
20. McWilliams

Booked: Graham, Paartalu

van Zanten Greacen MacGregor Reid
Finlayson Monti
Wake Weatherson

Dumbarton: Vojacek, O'Donoghue, Dunlop, Gordon (McNiff 46), Smith, Chisholm, McStay (Clark - 79), Chaplain, Murray (Carcary - 56), Hunter, Geggan.

Subs Not Used: Craig, White

Booked: Dunlop, Chaplain.

Sent Off: Chaplain (76)

My man of the match: Carlo Monti

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Daily Record - Match Report

dumbartonfootballclub.com - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

tontastic pictures


Fight, Fight, Fight...

Jim Duffy (pictured) insists that fights are nothing new in football, in fact, he's been involved in a few himself.

In his regular Scottish Sun column, The Football Insider, the former Ton defender talks about a fight he had with Frank McGarvey at Celtic - and one against Roddy Hutchison at Morton.

Duffy said:

I had another bust-up at Morton which I still get stick for now from the lads. Roddy Hutchison was a big hard man in our side - and genuinely fearsome. There was a game when he wasn't happy with my passing and I wasn't pleased with the way he was holding the ball up. As we got to the dressing room he threatened me and I responded "what, do you think I'm a stupid wee boy like the rest of them in here?" My comments defused the situation, but when I meet up with the likes of Jimmy Rooney or Jim Holmes now they still say "We're only silly wee boys".


No TV Pay Day For Morton

The BBC will definitely not be broadcasting live television coverage of Morton (or Dumbarton) versus Celtic in the 4th round of the Active Nation Scottish Cup.

A Morton versus Celtic tie looked like one that television might be interested in, after all, Sky Sports did choose to show the same fixture in 1999. However, Sky have announced that they will be showing Hamilton Academical versus Rangers.

There had been hope that the BBC would show the match as they have the rights to two live matches prior to the final. However, BBC spokesperson Jim Gough has confirmed that the Morton / Dumbarton versus Celtic tie will not be shown live by the BBC. In fact, they will not be showing any 4th round tie. When asked if they were considering it, he simply said: "We won't have a live match that round."

We will get to see the match on TV as the highlights of matches from the third round onwards will be shown on BBC's Sportscene.


Fixture Changes

Morton will play Dumbarton in the Scottish Cup 3rd round replay this Saturday (05.12.2009) and the match will be all ticket.

We have received 900 briefs and these will go on sale to season ticket holders at 9.30am tomorrow morning at Cappielow and Smiths in West Blackhall Street. They will then go on general sale on Friday at 9.30am. Prices are: Adults - £12, Concessions - £6. Smiths will also be selling tickets on the day of the match should there be any left over.

The club has also announced that fans should remember to keep their ticket stubs from the Dumbarton match because priority will be given to those with stubs when they go to buy tickets for the Celtic match - providing we beat the Sons, of course.

As a consequence of the cup replay Saturday's league fixture against Ross County at Victoria Park has been postponed and re-arranged for Tuesday 8th December. The match will kick-off at 7.45pm.

gmfc.net - Dumbarton - v - Morton (01.12.2009)

gmfc.net - Ross County - v - Morton (01.12.2009)