Managerial Uncertainty Affecting Players

21st September 2009 - the date Davie Irons was sacked as Morton manager. On Monday it will be six weeks to the day Irons was relieved of his managerial duties and it would appear that the length of time taken to make a decision on a new manager - including the subsequent uncertainty and confusion surrounding the break down of the move to appoint Allan Moore - is starting to have a detrimental effect on the playing squad.

In yesterday's Greenock Telegraph Stewart Greacen (pictured, above left) encouraged the chairman to make a decision as soon as possible, he said: "It does need sorted out now - it's a must. It's been five, going into six weeks and some stability is needed. I know the chairman doesn't want to rush his decision but it is dragging on now and a permanent appointment would give the players and fans a massive boost."

"We [the players] just want this issue done and dusted so we can all get back to concentrating just on the football alone and getting the results we need, starting on Saturday."

James Grady echoes those sentiments in today's Tele': "It's been unsettling, for the players and Allan and me.

"We will try and take as much of the pressure as we can away from the players, but they'll still think about it and talk about it. It obviously needs to be sorted out quickly for everyone's benefit, players and ourselves."

With the caretaker manager and club captain beginning to express their concerns about the length of time it has taken to appoint a new manager you can imagine that prospective candidates are also starting to get frustrated, especially in cases like Allan Moore's and Sean Connor's where their current employers know they have applied for a job at another club. I agree with Greacen and Grady; this has dragged on long enough. The new manager should've been in place before the Inverness game and should now be made no later than Monday.

Greenock Telegraph - Captain Issues Call For Stability (29.10.2009)

Greenock Telegraph - Our Focus Has To Be On The Game: Grady (30.10.2009)


Sean Connor: In Focus

The news that Allan Moore will not be the next Morton manager has resulted in feverish speculation as to where Douglas Rae will turn for another candidate. Today's Evening Times suggests that Northern Irish manager Sean Connor is the new favourite to get the job.

Connor (pictured, left) - currently in charge of League Of Ireland Premier Division side Dundalk - was interviewed for the job as recently as Monday. Morton chairman Douglas Rae told the Greenock Telegraph's Roger Graham that Connor had a chance of getting the job:"He [Connor] is in the mix with the others. All I would say is that he seems a decent candidate. We'll be going over all those who have been interviewed later in the week before making any announcement."

Connor wont be a name familiar to many (any) Morton fans so I've searched the net for information on the man the Evening Times' Bert Mitchell claims Rae had hoped to announce as the new manager today.

Full Name: Sean Connor
Age: 42 (12.07.1967)
Playing Positions: Unknown
Born: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality: Northern Irish
Height: 5' 10"
Former Clubs (playing): Lisburn Distillery (Northern Ireland), Port Vale, Macclesfield Town [loan], Ards (Northern Ireland), Cliftonville (Northern Ireland)
Non Playing Career: Birmingham City (press officer), Cincinnati Riverhawks (USA - Coach), Boston Bulldogs (USA - coach), Lafayette Swamp Cats (USA - coach) Sligo Rovers (Republic of Ireland - manager), Bohemians (Republic of Ireland -manager)
Current Position: Dundalk (Republic Of Ireland - manager)

Managerial Record:

2004: Sligo Rovers - 6th in LOI Division 1^
2005: Sligo Rovers - 1st in LOI Division 1 (promoted)
2006: Sligo Rovers - 5th in LOI Premier Division
2007: Bohemians - 3rd in LOI Premier Division (qualified for Intertoto Cup), League Of Ireland Cup Runners-Up
2009: Dundalk - 4th in LOI Premier Division*

^ Connor was only in charge for the last month of the season

* The 2009 season (March - October) still has one match left to play - against Cork City tomorrow night - but Dundalk can finish no higher, or lower, than 4th.
LOI = League Of Ireland

dundalkfc.com - Sean Connor profile

loi.ie - Sean Connor profile

Wikiedpia - Sean Connor profile

Greenock Telegraph - Surprise As Irish Boss Interviewed For Morton Job (27.10.2009)

Peter McKenzie, You're Having A Laugh

Allan Moore will not be the next Morton manager according to reports in today's Daily Record, Evening Times and Greenock Telegraph.

The move collapsed because Stirling Albion chairman Peter McKenzie (pictured, left) was asking for £180,000 in compensation. This is, in my opinion, an absolutely ridiculous amount of money for a second division club to be asking for for their part-time manager. Morton chairman Douglas Rae told the Tele's Roger Graham that McKenzie's compensation demands had killed the deal:

The compensation wanted by Stirling has put him out of the running. That deal is finished now. Peter McKenzie was wanting £180,000 and we were prepared to offer £20-30,000. They then said they would let him go for £160,000. We could get about seven players for a year at £500 per week for that sort of money.I'm disappointed, but it's not the end of the world.

Meanwhile Moore appears to be blaming Morton and his own chairman's over-the-top valuation. In the Tele' he is quoted as saying: "To be honest I think what Stirling were asking for was a bit over the top." while he told the Record's Gordon Parks of his anger at the role Morton played in the deal collapsing:

Morton should have come to an agreement on compensation when they approached Stirling to speak with me. It's unacceptable to have been asked to go through the motions when they were not prepared to meet the fee my club were asking for. That should all have been settled before I had to endure the speculation. It's been an upsetting time for my family and my team have taken their eye off the ball.

Most reports suggest that Rae is now likely to turn to Dundalk's Northern Irish manager Sean Connor. Connor was only interviewed on Monday but looks to have impressed to such an extent that he will be appointed manager sometime next week with James Grady and Allan McManus remaining in charge for Saturday's trip up north to Inverness. In today's Evening Times Bert Mitchell writes:

Morton's hopes of unveiling Dundalk gaffer Sean Connor as their new boss appear to have stalled. SportTimes understands Ton chairman Douglas Rae had hoped to make an announcement on the 42-year-old Belfast-born gaffer's appointment today. However, the Cappielow chief, although unavailable for comment, is understood to have decided to hold back on making an announcement. As such, it looks like caretaker duo James Grady and Allan McManus could still be in charge for the trip to Inverness on Saturday.

Connor, if appointed, would be a surprise choice as Rae had stated on the club's official website that he would like the new man to be someone with knowledge of lower league football in Scotland: "Applications will be welcomed from suitably qualified Managers who have a sound, current knowledge of the S.F.L." He also told the Tele's Roger Graham the same thing: "We won't be bringing anyone from places such as the Faroes or Africa. As I have said, we would ideally want someone who knows the SFL and has been over the course before."

If Connor is to be given the job it looks like James Grady will be given a non-playing role; possibly as player/assistant manager or player/coach. The Record claims that Connor's current assistant, former Celtic and Aberdeen winger Joe Miller, will not follow his manager to Cappielow.

The appointment of an (Northern) Irishman with no experience of Scottish football is a big risk - as Dunfermline found out with Stephen Kenny. Let's hope that it turns out to be a refreshing look outside the box rather than another disastrous managerial appointment that will cost Rae dear a year down the line.

Daily Record - Exclusive: Morton Turn To Connor As Moore Blasts Club Over Compensation Deal (29.10.2009)

Evening Times - Ton Hold Back On Naming New Manager (29.10.2009)

Greenock Telegraph - Moore Ruled Out (29.10.2009)

Greenock Telegraph - No Rush Says Rae (03.10.2009)

gmfc.net - Press Release (21.09.2009)


Dumbarton - AT HOME!

Morton have been drawn at home to Dumbarton in the Active Nation Scottish Cup third round. The tie will be played on Saturday 28th November.

Amazingly this is only the second time we've been drawn to play at Cappielow in the last eleven cup ties.

The match will see the return of a familiar face in defender Chris Smith. Smith (pictured, above left) signed for Dumbarton in the summer after Davie Irons decided not to renew his contract at the end of last season. He made 22 starts and 2 substitute appearances for us in 2008/09.

The full draw is as follows:

Airdrie United v Queen of the South
Ross County v Berwick Rangers
Whitehill Welfare or Threave Rovers v Inverurie Loco Works
Deveronvale or Buckie Thistle v Ayr United
Cowdenbeath v Alloa Athletic
Albion Rovers v Elgin City
Stirling Albion v Huntly or Auchinleck Talbot
Clyde v Livingston
Irvine Meadow v Arbroath
Edinburgh City v Keith
Wick Academy v Brechin City
Stenhousemuir v Cove Rangers
Greenock Morton v Dumbarton
Montrose v East Fife
Raith Rovers v Peterhead
Spartans v Forfar Athletic

BBC - Meadow Host Arbroath In Scottish Cup (28.10.2009)


Doubts Over Moore

Just when it looked for all the world that Allan Moore would be the new Morton manager three reports in today's papers have cast a bit of doubt over his chances.

Both the Scottish Sun and the Press And Journal have stories about Morton having to agree to Stirling Albion chairman Peter McKenzie's compensation demands. I might be reading a little too much into this but the fact it has appeared in the press suggests to me that they are struggling to come to an agreement. Especially interesting is both paper's insistence that McKenzie is in a very strong position due to the fact Moore has recently signed a two year contract extension.

The Greenock Telegraph reveals that Douglas Rae is still looking at candidates. Rae interviewed League Of Ireland side Dundalk's manager Sean Connor (pictured, above left) as recently as yesterday and told the Tele's Roger Graham that Connor has as good a chance as anyone: "He [Connor] is in the mix with the others. All I would say is that he seems a decent candidate. We'll be going over all those who have been interviewed later in the week before making any announcement."

It will be interesting to see if Rae dips into his pocket to get his man or if the compensation demands push him down a different route.

Press And Journal - Morton Will Have To Pay To Get Moore (27.09.2009)

Greenock Telegraph - Surprise As Irish Boss Interviewed For Morton Job (27.10.2009)


Praise For Moore

On Saturday Dunfermline's programme, The Game, included an interview with former Stirling Albion midfielder Steven Bell - and the tall midfielder was full of praise for Morton managerial target Allan Moore.

In an answer to the question 'Tell us a bit about your career to date first if all?' Bell - who scored Dunfermline's third goal against us at the weekend - said: "I went on to Stirling Albion, and I was there for about three years. Working with Alan Moore was brilliant - he's a Glasgow man himself, what you saw was what you got. He certainly was a big help to me, and I can't thank him enough for all his support - a good man manager. Hopefully, I can put it all to good use here."

It has been widely rumoured that Davie Irons' man management skills left a lot to be desired and that this was a major part of his downfall. Therefore it is encouraging to read what Bell (pictured, above left: celebrating after scoring the Pars' third goal on Saturday) had to say about Moore as it looks likely that the Stirling Albion manager will be appointed in the next few days.


Dunferline Athletic 3 - 1 Morton

Dunfermline Athletic 3 - Cardle (62), Graham (71), Bell (86)
Morton 1 - McGuffie (74)

Att: 2411

James Grady's chances of landing the manager's job on a permanent basis were handed a fatal blow when his injury ravaged Morton side lost 3-1 at Dunfermline yesterday.

I say injury ravaged but this might be slightly misleading as there were only two changes to recent starting XIs: Carlo Monti and Erik Paartalu replaced the recently injured midfield duo of Allan Jenkins and Neil MacFarlane in the centre of the park. The other absentees were long term crocks Kevin Cuthbert, Dominic Shimmin, Alex Walker and Stevie Masterton. Greenock-born Under-19s defender Jamie Docherty filled a place on the bench.

The term injury ravaged became more appropriate after just 15 minutes as Brian Graham was stretchered off to be replaced by Brian Wake. From that point on you could sense it wasn't going to be our day.

The first half was rubbish. Morton had a lot of possession but didn't really use it effectively. There was the usual passing from side to side but nothing going forward. This is where I think we really miss Chris Millar. He always liked to get on the ball and drive at people with it rather than be happy to pass it sideways. This is also Allan Jenkins' big strength but I don't think he does it often enough. I also think his runs are more about brute strength while Millar's were more about finesse and darting between players. Both can be effective and I'd just like to see someone do it for us a bit more often.

To be honest the first 45 minues were so brutal that I can't remember much about it. I write match reports from memory and don't take notes, so incidents really need to stand out for me to remember them. One such moment was a superb save from Colin Stewart. Steven Bell headed Greg Ross's cross from the left onto Andy Kirk who was yards from goal, the Northern Ireland internationalist looked certain to score but Stewart flung himself across goal to make a miraculous block. Stewart has often found himself on the end of stinging criticism in the past so it was really good to see the big goalkeeper get a rousing round of applause and rendition of 'There's only one Colin Stewart' from the Ton support. What wasn't so good was when one fan shouted "Thank Fuck!" when everyone finished singing.

We were much better in the second half. Grady has been talking about how they've been working on getting the ball down and playing in training and you could see this come to the fore in the second half. We were moving the ball slickly and working some intricate moves on the edge of the box. In the 51st minute one such move ended with Kevin Finlayson whipping over an excellent cross from out on the right which Peter Weatherson met with what seemed a perfect header at the back post. However, Greg Fleming pulled off a Colin Stewart-esque save when he flung himself across goal to push the ball over the bar.

Morton were taking control of the match and like a good manager should, Jim McIntyre reacted to this by making changes. Before going on and I'd just like to add that I don't mean McIntyre is a particularly good manager just that he reacted like one. In the 58th minute he added pace and width by introducing Willie Gibson and Nicky Phinn for Alex Burke and Graham Bayne - this changed the game.

Four minutes after their introduction Dunfermline scored the opener. David Graham broke down the right and crossed to the back post where the unmarked Joe Cardle bulleted a header into the net. For those who weren't there you might remember Cardle as a winger who scored a superb curling shot that crashed in off the bar at Cappielow earlier this season and, going further back, who had an excellent match against us in an Airdrie shirt at Cappielow in November of last year.

It looked to be game over 10 minutes later when Graham raced onto Stewart Greacen's woefully directed headed clearance and slotted past Stewart with ease. This was the kind of mistake Greacen used to make regularly a couple of seasons ago. Apart from this mistake he had a pretty decent match - hopefully Stewart focuses on the positives rather than let the mistake prey on his mind.

Fortunately he didn't have much time to dwell on the mistake as we hit back instantly. Three minutes after Graham's goal Ryan McGuffie headed us back into the game. The former Gretna man nodded the ball into an empty net after Fleming had saved a Wake header from a Jim McAlister cross.

We were really pressing for an equaliser now and Paartalu - who I felt had a good game - had a couple of chances late on. First his long range effort was tipped over the bar and then he headed over from a corner. Just as we looked like we would score the Pars caught us on the counter four minutes from time. A poor Paartalu pass down the left was intercepted and passed onto Graham (who else), he broke down the right (again) and cut back for Cardle. Stewart raced out to the edge of the box to block but the ball fell to Bell who slotted the ball home with the goal at his mercy.

We weren't great but neither were the home side, and that's what concerns me. The first half was poor and we did pass the ball better in the second half but we really lack pace and a cutting edge up front. Those are just two things a new manager will have to address and for me, it has to be a new manager. Grady and McManus have given it their all and I thank them for that but I just don't think you can give the job to an inexperienced manager who has lost three matches (and in a row that) out of the five he's had in charge. I can see an improvement under Grady and McManus but, for me, it's definitely not been enough to get them the job. More importantly, I don't think it will have been good enough for Douglas Rae either.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 7
2. MacGregor - 6
3. Monti - 6
4. McManus - 6
5. Greacen - 6
6. Paartalu - 7
7. Finlayson - 7
8. McGuffie - 6
9. Graham - 2 (15. Wake - 15 mins - 7)
10. Weatherson - 6
11. McAlister - 7

Unused Subs:

12. Docherty
14. Harding
16. Grady
20. McWilliams

Booked: Paartalu, MacGregor, Monti.

Finlayson Greacen McManus MacGregor
McGuffie Paartalu Monti McAlister
Graham Weatherson

Dunfermline: Fleming, Ross (Higgins 79), Woods, Bell, McGregor, Dowie, David Graham, Burke (Phinn 58), Bayne (Gibson 58), Kirk, Cardle.

Subs Not Used: McDougall, Paterson..

Booked: Ross, Bell..

My man of the match: Erik Paartalu

Sponsor's man of the match: Greg Fleming (Dunfermline)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)


Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

dafc.premiumtv.co.uk - Match Report

dafc.premiumtv.co.uk - Match Reaction (David Graham)

dafc.premiumtv.co.uk - Match Reaction (Jim McIntyre)

dafc.premiumtv.co.uk - Match Reaction (Greg Fleming)

bbc sport - Match Report

dafc.premiumtv.co.uk - pictures


Bukta Farce

Morton have announced that the new red away strip (pictured, left: Jim McAlister wearing it away to Raith Rovers) will not be sold to fans because the colour runs from the strips when washed. A club statement posted on gmfc.net said:

When we eventually received the away strips for the first team, we experienced some problems with the colour running when the shirts were washed. Although Bukta provided us with a sample shirt from a second batch, we encountered the same problem. We therefore feel it would be unacceptable to put these shirts on sale for supporters.
Bukta have been Morton's kit suppliers since the summer of 2007. In just two years we have been subjected to a number of farcical situations by one of the oldest sportswear companies in the UK. The 2007/08 home strip (pictured, below) faded to such an extent that the players looked as if they were wearing grey and white hoops.

This year the club announced that the new home strip would be released on Thursday 2nd July with the away kit launching on Tuesday 28th July. The home strips finally went on sale on the 20th of August but even then there was limited availability. After numerous delays we now know that the away kit will never be on sale. The most embarassing thing is that the team didn't even get their strips on time and were forced to play in last season's white third strip until the 19th of September when they finally wore the red strip away to Raith Rovers.

Surely this latest farce ensures that we won't be renewing our contract with Bukta. Hopefully the club also decides to go with a more reliable manufacturer; Adidas anyone?

gmfc.net - "Away" Kits (21.10.2009)

gmfc.net - Playing Kits 2009 - 10 (19.06.2009)

greenockmorton.org - Thread about the strip delays


Washing My Own Strip Put Me Off My Game

If ever there was evidence that footballers - even those playing at a modest level - live on a different planet to the rest of us then it's how washing their own work gear seems to be such a hardship.

In Saturday's Scottish Sun former Morton goalkeeper David McGurn (pictured, left) told George Rowe how he puts his clean sheets at Raith Rovers down to the fact he is no longer distracted by having to wash his own training gear - which he had to do at Morton: "I played under a few managers at Morton and although they were all great to play for there were too many distractions. After training we had to take our own gear home to wash and dry it for the next day.

"If I ever needed gloves or boots it was a big issue and although they are all trivial things they did distract you."

Chris Millar also mentioned this recently. In a Courier article the St. Johnstone midfielder told how his decision to leave Celtic and join Morton was "the best decision I have made". However, there were times when he thought he'd made the wrong decision and those thoughts involved washing his own gear: "I knew I had to take a step back and there were times when I wondered whether I had made the right decision.

“You had the trips to places like Elgin on a cold January night and I remember after my debut against Montrose that I had to take my kit home and wash it. That was certainly different to life at Celtic."

At least Millar isn't claiming that it distracted him from performing to the best of his ability on the park.

The Scottish Sun - Spotlight On Division One (19.10.2009)

The Courier - Decision To Leave Celtic Now Vindicated, Says Millar (17.10.2009)


Morton Have Approached Moore

According to George Mair's Scottish Sun match report for the Stenhousemuir versus Stirling Albion match Allan Moore has claimed that Morton have approached him about the job. Mair says: "Binos boss Allan Moore, who revealed he has been appraoched to take over at Morton".

It is unclear if Moore (pictured, above left) meant that he had been approached for an interview or to actually take over as manager. Either way it seems increasingly likely that should Douglas Rae decide that James Grady and Allan McManus are not the men for the job in the long term then Moore will be the new manager.

Whoever the new manager will be the appointment isn't likely to be made until after the Dunfermline match on Saturday. Last Saturday's Greenock Telegraph quoted Rae as saying the Grady / McManus partnership will be in charge for the trip to East End Park: "No, I will be giving them this week's game [against Dundee this afternoon] and next week as well."

The Scottish Sun - Spotlight On Division Two (19.10.2009)

Greenock Telegraph - Another Game For Ton Caretakers Bosses (17.10.2009)


Morton 0 - 1 Dundee

Morton 0 -
Dundee 1 - Griffiths (77)

Att: 2217

A valiant Morton performance counted for nothing as Leigh Griffith's stunning finish 13 minutes from full-time handed Dundee their first away win of the season at Cappielow today.

James Grady made only one change to the starting eleven that played against Ross County the previous week; Carlo Monti dropped to the bench, Jim McAlister moved back out to the left and Ryan McGuffie came in on the right of midfield. I found the decision mystifying considering Grady had spoken of how he wanted Jim to play out on the right: "Ultimately I would like to get Jim over to his favoured side.I know Jim has said he doesn't mind playing on the left, but I feel he comes inside a bit too much when he's there. If he's on the right he can go out the way and whip in a cross." I also thought it was a bit harsh on Monti who had put in some decent performances since his return to the side under the caretaker managers.

McGuffie's inclusion almost turned out to be a managerial masterstroke as he managed to get into excellent goalscoring positions on four occasions. Unfortunately for Morton he failed to take any of them. First he headed Jim McAlister's cross straight at Tony Bullock when it looked easier to score. Bullock denied him again minutes later when he managed to tip a shot onto the post and out to safety. The Dundee back up goalkeeper made it three out of three as he got down quickly to parry McGuffie's low shot across goal. Finally, McGuffie blasted over from close range - a shot that was reminiscent of a Davie MacGregor effort against Ross County last week.

I think McGuffie should've taken at least two of those chances but at the same time I was also very impressed with his hunger and drive to get into the goalscoring positions. So often, we've seen a Ryan McGuffie who is happy to play within himself, taking one touch and passing the ball on rather than take responsibility and trying to make something happen himself. It was great to see him bursting beyond the front men and getting into advanced positions. I would much rather see a player get chances and miss them than get no chances at all.

Dundee weren't up to much and, from what I could see, really missed Gary Harkins' presence in midfield. However, they have another player in Leigh Griffiths who can also make the difference. He is exactly what we lack - a pacy striker who can create chances for himself and when he does, finishes them clinically. In the 77th minute Paul McHale clipped a ball over the top, Stewart Greacen looked the favourite to get to the ball first but Griffiths' electric pace got him in infront of the Ton defender and racing towards goal. In the blink of an eye he'd lifted the ball over Colin Stewart and into the top corner. Griffiths' delicate dink over Stewart seemed to float towards goal in slow motion. As the ball floated there was a strange sensation that the whole crowd had fallen deadly silent as everyone watched open-mouthed waiting to see where the ball would end up. Unfortunately, it hit the net and the eerie silence was broken by the cheers of the away fans.

Griffiths later claimed that a Morton fan tried to punch him as he celebrated. I'm not sure if that is true but I do know that there would've been any number of fans who would've liked to have got a hold of him after he wound up the crowd, and some of the Morton players, by taking ages to tie the laces on his horrible lime green boots. What I'd do for a player like Griffiths to be playing in the blue and white hoops though. A player who is so good, cocksure and annoying that away fans despise him and try to punch him while he celebrates a goal that has just earned his side an away win that they scarcely deserved.

Griffiths' goal turned out to be the winner as Jocky Scott's side escaped with the three points but the result wasn't the only negative to be taken from the day as it has since been revealed that Allan Jenkins - who was stretchered off in the 62nd minute - has medial ligament damage and will be out for at least a month.

In Saturday's Greenock Telegraph Douglas Rae said that Grady and Allan McManus will have one more match in charge after this one before he makes a decision on a manager. As good as this performance was I just don't see him giving the job to a management team who have lost two consecutive home games without scoring a goal.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 7
2. MacGregor - 7
3. McGuffie - 8
4. McManus - 6
5. Greacen - 6
6. MacFarlane - 6 (15. Monti - 81 mins)
7. Finlayson - 7
8. Jenkins - 6 (12. Paartalu - 62 mins)
9. Graham - 5 (16. Wake - 76 mins)
10. Weatherson - 6
11. McAlister - 6

Unused Subs:

14. Harding
20. McWilliams

Booked: McManus.

Finlayson Greacen McManus MacGregor
McGuffie Jenkins MacFarlane McAlister
Graham Weatherson

Dundee: Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl, MacKenzie, Cowan, Hart (Kerr 83), McHale, Griffiths (Higgins 90), McMenamin (Clarke 75), Forsyth.

Subs Not Used: Cameron, Soutar.

Booked: Griffiths, Malone, Clarke.

My man of the match: Ryan McGuffie

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

dundeefc.co.uk - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

Tontastic pictures


Irons Blames McManus And Grady For His Sacking

"I have my own opinion of those two [McManus & Grady] but will keep it to myself." - Davie Irons, Greenock Telegraph (23.09.2009).

It didn't take former Morton manager Davie Irons long to go back on his claim in the Greenock Telegraph that he'd keep his opinion of the current caretaker managers to himself. In today's Daily Record Irons blames them for his sacking and suggests that they stabbed him in the back by going to Douglas Rae and pushing for a change of management, he said: "There were a lot of things going on behind the scenes that I heard about after the event. They were undermining the management.

"They were causing problems for the team and making sure those at the top were aware things needed changing. These were people you have helped for years and given them opportunities. They have tried to change things for their own benefit and that was really disappointing.

"Grady and McManus were sitting outside the chairman's office, waiting to go in after I'd been sacked. I thought they could have been a little bit more discreet but no chance."

However, Douglas Rae hit back in article in today's Evening Times. He rubbished Irons' claims that McManus and Grady were behind the sacking: "Basically, Davie was sacked because of results. If you take the final four league games of last season into account and the opening six this term, we lost nine out of 10 and failed to score in seven of them. Crowds were going down and we had to take action."

Rae also exposed Irons strange management practices when he revealed that they weren't going to offer Grady a new contract - but did for some strange reason: "Anyway, the board and Davie were not going to keep James Grady on in the summer because the manager felt his legs had gone. He decided to keep him on after that. Why would you keep somebody on who was undermining you?"

I'm not sure whether there is truth in the accusation that Grady or McManus were actively going behind the manager's back and attempting to get him the sack but what I do know is that I went to every game of Irons' managerial tenure and I can assure anyone reading this that he deserved to be sacked on results and performances anyway. If the current cartetakers were going to Rae to say Irons should be sacked they were spot on - he had to be dismissed and was probably lucky to hold onto his job as long as he did.

Daily Record - Exclusive: Sacked Morton Boss Davie Irons Blames Players For Forcing Him Out (15.10.2009)

Evening Times - Morton Chairman Douglas Rae Hits Back Over Irons Claims (15.10.2009)

greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com - Irons And Grady - The Break Up (23.09.2009)


Stewart Admits Fall Out With Irons

Morton goalkeeper Colin Stewart has confirmed rumours that he had fallen out with former manager Davie Irons.

In the Daily Record's match report for Saturday's game against Ross County - in which the Stewart was man of the match - Kenny MacDonald quotes Stewart as saying: "There was a fall out with the manager which was well noted but that's football. There were all sorts of reports of me being on the transfer list and a lot of cloudy areas, but at the end of the day I was told to do better to get games.

"I worked hard and wanted to play, but I wasn't given the opportunity. It's disappointing to work hard but not play through circumstances."

I believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Irons and his relationships with the players but it's encouraging to know that the players have been given a new lease of life under the new management team.

Daily Record: Division One: Morton 0 Ross County 1 (12.10.2009)


Morton 0 - 1 Ross County

Morton 0 -
Ross County 1 - Wood (68)

Att: 2154

Morton's caretaker management team of James Grady and Allan McManus saw their hopes of getting the job on a permanent basis given a severe dent by losing 1-0 at home to Ross County today.

For the first time in a long time we started with the exact same team and formation for two weeks in a row. Unfortunately the difference in performance was so stark that you'd think it was an entirely different starting eleven from the one that played at Palmerston last week.

Morton were as disjointed, disorganised and lacking in ideas as anything we'd seen under Davie Irons. Ross County were the exact opposite: well drilled, slick, confident and intelligent. Derek Adams' side were in so much control that their defensive line was set up on the half way line. Their midfield and forwards - particularly ex-St. Mirren midfielder Richard Brittain - controlled the game by retaining possession with short passes before knocking more expansive passes all around the pitch in an effort to draw Morton out and probe in the gaps left in behind.

The much maligned Colin Stewart was in excellent form though and pulled off excellent stops to deny Paul Di Giacomo and Garry Wood. The Wood save was particularly impressive; the Ton defence parted like the red sea as Wood waltzed through the centre, however Stewart raced from his line and expertly blocked the County striker's shot.

Wood would not be denied and eventually scored what turned out to be the winning goal. Former Morton winger Michael Gardyne sprinted past MacGregor down our left and cut back for Martin Scott whose drilled effort deflected before squirming past Stewart into the net. Wood has been credited as getting the final touch but there are some fans who have suggested that Stewart Greacen got the final touch and that the goal was, in fact, on O.G. All that mattered to those of a Ton persuasion was that the ball was in the net and that we had 22 minutes left to do something about it.

It could've all been so different if referee Chris Boyle hasn't invented a phantom foul as Stewart Greacen headed home Carlo Monti's corner minutes before half-time. In today's Sunday Mail Greacen said: "My header was a big turning point. The ref gave a foul for Brian [Graham] against the keeper but there's no foul there. He had warned Brian before the corner was taken so he made sure he stood of their keeper." This version of events was confirmed by a pal of mine who was standing on the Sinclair Street terracing when the goal went in, in his words: "that goal should've counted, there was nothing fucking wrong it."

Despite our poor performance we did manage to create a few excellent scoring chances. In the first half Peter Weatherson controlled Jim McAlister's ball over the top with an expertly taken first touch but fired over with his left foot. In the second half Allan Jenkins burst through the centre twice but sclaffed wide on both occasions (that might be a bit harsh as one effort resulted in a corner but I thought he should've done better with both chances), Davie MacGregor lashed a shot over the bar and Allan McManus struck the past after lobbing the ball back into the danger zone after the ball had been half cleared from a corner.

The best chance fell to Brian Graham. The young striker chased down a ball over the top but when faced with the onrushing Ross County goalie Michael McGovern he jumped vertically to head the ball which meant that his header went directly up and didn't have sufficient power to loop over the goalie into the goal. A more positive leap forward would have meant that his header would have been strong enough to beat the keeper and ended up in the net but would've also ensured that McGovern clattered into Graham at full speed. It was disappointing to see that Graham knew this (he took a look at the keeper before jumping) and opted to avoid the clash rather than ensure he scored.

In the end the Staggies held on for what was, in my opinion, a well deserved win.

It might be harsh on a management team who have two wins out of three but I don't think Douglas Rae ever had a mind to give them the job on a permanent basis and today's defeat and performance will have done irreparable damage to any chance they did have of getting it. They will definitely be in charge for the Dundee match next Saturday but if yesterday's (10.10.2009) Greenock Telegraph is anything to go by - "An announcement is scheduled to be made shortly after the home game against Dundee on Saturday 17 October." - it will probably be their last.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 8
2. MacGregor - 5
3. Monti - 7 (12. Paartalu - 87 mins)
4. McManus - 6
5. Greacen - 7
6. MacFarlane - 7
7. Finlayson - 7
8. Jenkins - 6 (15. McGuffie - 80 mins)
9. Graham - 6
10. Weatherson - 5
11. McAlister - 6

Unused Subs:

14. Harding
16. Gordon
20. McWilliams

Booked: MacFarlane, Weatherson.

Finlayson Greacen McManus MacGregor
McAlister Jenkins MacFarlane Monti
Graham Weatherson

Ross County: McGovern, Morrison, Boyd, Miller, Keddie, Brittain, Scott, Kettlewell, Gardyne (Vigurs, 81), Di Giacomo (Lawson, 55), Wood.

Subs Not Used: Grant, Moore, Malin.

Booked: Brittain, Wood.

My man of the match: Colin Stewart

Sponsor's man of the match: Colin Stewart

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

The Sunday Mail - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

Where Are They Now?

In McBookie's list of favourites for the manager's job at Cappielow former Morton player David Hopkin was quoted as a 16/1 outsider. Should the odds be revised Hopkin will be pushed out much further due to the fact it has been announced that he will be Maryhill Juniors new assistant manager.

Hopkin (pictured, above left and below: Celebrating a goal in his second spell at the club) will assist Brian Heron - who he also assisted at Port Glasgow juniors - at Lochburn Park. They will have their work cut out for them as Maryhill currently prop up the West Region's Central District First Division with a record of six defeats in six matches.

Hopkin joined Morton from Port Glasgow Rangers Boys Club in 1989 and after four seasons left for Chelsea in a move that earned the Ton in the region of £350,000. He then had very successful spells with Leeds United and Crystal Palace - in which time he earned 7 Scotland caps - before returning to Cappielow for the 2002/03 season. He only played a handful of games before he was forced to retire due to a recurring ankle injury.

Daily Record - Soccer Shorts [Article calls him Derek Hopkins] (09.10.2009)


Moore: Now The Time Is Right

On the 27th February 2008 Stirling Albion manager Allan Moore said that he'd love to manage Morton but the job came up at the wrong time. It's 1 year, 7 months later and it's available again - but this time Moore is interested.

In today's Greenock Telegraph he tells Martin Greig that he'd seriously consider the opportunity to manage Morton should it present itself. He said: "I am still manager at Stirling Albion but a full-time club is always something you aspire to. I'd like to think that Morton would want to speak to me.

"It is something I would seriously consider if [Morton] wanted me. But, at the end of the day, James Grady and Allan McManus have come in and done a good job."

Scottish bookmaker McBookie installed Moore (pictured, above left: in the dug out at Cappielow) as an early favourite when they priced up a market for the next Morton manager. It is my understanding that Moore is one of the front runners for the job.

In his seven years in charge at Forthbank he has guided the Binos from the Third Division to the First Division. He did this by finishing 2nd in the Third Division in 2003/04 and winning the play-offs after finishing 2nd in the Second Division in 2006/07. His full managerial record is as follows:

2002/03: Stirling Albion - 5th in Division 3
2003/04: Stirling Albion - 2nd in Division 3 (promoted)
2004/05: Stirling Albion - 4th in Division 2
2005/06: Stirling Albion - 5th in Division 2
2006/07: Stirling Albion - 2nd in Division 2 (promoted [play-offs])
2007/08: Stirling Albion - 10th in Division 1 (relegated)
2008/09: Stirling Albion - 5th in Division 2
2009/10: Stirling Albion - 1st in Division 2*

*Stirling currently sit five points clear at the top of the Second Division.

greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com - Allan Moore Would Have Loved To Have Managed Morton... (27.02.2008)

Greenock Telegraph - Moore Wants Ton Job (07.10.2009)


Youth News

A few updates from the youth set-up:
  • Morton under-19s captain Chris Gordon made the step up to the first team on Saturday. The pacy striker was an unused substitute as Morton beat Queen Of The South 3-2 at Palmerston.

    Chris Gordon

  • Greenock Juniors player Brian McLaughlin has been appointed coach of the Morton under-17s side according to the Greenock Telegraph's junior correspondent Gary Pews. The 23 year old - Greenock's player of the year last year - currently coaches for Inverclyde Leisure and has recently returned from a three month coaching trip to the USA.

  • Morton's under-19s - including eight full-time modern apprentices according to Queen Of The South under-19s manager Jim Thomson - lost 2-0 to Queens at the David Keswick centre on Friday 25th September.

  • The under-19s were eliminated from the Scottish Youth Cup by Dunfermline after losing 3-0 at East End Park. According to Dunfermline Athletic's official site the Morton team was: Ryan McWilliams; Ben Armstrong, Darren Docherty, Jason Butterworth, Jamie Docherty, Ryan Kane, Darren McLean (Gary Pettigrew 63), Chris Gordon (c), Danny Frail, Nathan Shepherd (Daniel McSweeney 75). Substitute: Mark Melville.
  • The under-17s drew 1-1 at home to Ayr United on Monday 5th October. The Ayr youngsters spurned a glorious chance to win the match when they missed a late penalty.

Queen Of The South 2 - 3 Morton

Queen of the South 2 - Wilson (86), Kean (90)
Morton 3 - Graham (13), Weatherson (39), Jenkins (60)

Att: 2630 (Morton support: 268)

Morton survived a late scare at Palmerston and in doing so made it two wins out of two for caretaker managers James Grady and Allan McManus.

Grady - who seems to be the more managerially dominant of the two caretakers - favours the 4-4-2 formation stating that if it is good enough for the top teams it was good enough for him. Two wins out of two means he might be onto something. The only changes were in personnel as David MacGregor replaced the injured Alex Walker and Carlo Monti came in for Erik Paartalu. The second change meant that Grady could continue with the team who finished strongly against Airdrie: Jim McAlister on the right, Monti on the left and Allan Jenkins back in a central position.

Morton always seem to do well at Palmerston and we got off to a great start when Brian Graham opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Peter Weatherson fed a ball in from the right and Graham took a touch before turning his man and sweeping a well placed left foot shot into David Hutton's bottom left hand corner. Graham was to go on to have an outstanding match. His hold up play was excellent, particularly when you consider that he doesn't have the physique of a guy like Weatherson, and so much rely on an excellent first touch to knock the ball away from the defender rather than using his strength to back into the defender.

Peter Weatherson seems to relish playing against his old side - "I've got fond memories of my time here and I just seem to come alive when I'm back." - and added his customary Palmerston strike when he rose above his marker to head home Monti's inswinging corner.

Another man who enjoys his trips to Dumfries is Allan Jenkins. Jenkins hails from Stranraer and played for his home town team and Gretna - both of whom are (or in Gretna's case, were) Queen of the South's nearest and dearest rivals. He's always given a hot reception by the home fans but managed to shut them up, just like he did in the same fixture last season, by scoring in the 60th minute. Jenks headed home powerfully after McAlister had headed MacGregor's cross back across goal (pictured, above left).

It looked to be game, set and match as the Ton continued to trouble the Queens rearguard but a worrying collapse in the last four minutes let the home side right back into the game. First Barry Wilson side footed home from Stewart Kean's cross and then Kean scored himself when he burst into the box and smashed a shot past colin Stewart. For a moment it looked like Stewart had saved the shot but he only succeeded in palming it into the net.

The come back came just too late as Morton managed to hold on for an excellent win against the team who up until this match were top of the league. These are three points that will do no harm to James Grady's chances of getting the managers job on a permanent basis.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 7
2. MacGregor - 7
3. Monti - 8
4. McManus - 7
5. Greacen - 7
6. MacFarlane - 7
7. Finlayson - 7
8. Jenkins - 8
9. Graham - 8 (15. McGuffie - 88 mins)
10. Weatherson - 7
11. McAlister - 7

Unused Subs:

12. Paartalu
14. Harding
16. Gordon
20. McWilliams

Finlayson Greacen McManus MacGregor
McAlister Jenkins MacFarlane Monti
Graham Weatherson

Queen of the South: Hutton, Reid, Harris, Lilley, McAusland, McKenna, Burns, Wilson, McLaren (McQuilken 56), Holmes, Wyness (Kean 77).

Subs Not Used: McLaughlan, Thomson, Roy.

Booked: Harris.

My man of the match: Brian Graham

Sponsor's man of the match: Stewart Kean (QotS)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Teamsheet (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

qosfc.com - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

qots official photographs