Moore Plans Second Stirling Raid

Allan Moore is set to raid former club Stirling Albion for left-winger David O'Brien after offering defender Andy Graham a two-year deal last week.

According to today's Greenock Telegraph, Moore has opened talks with 26-year-old O'Brien (pictured: tussling with Peter Weatherson and Kevin Finlayson in 2007), who joined the Forthbank side in 2001 and spent seven seasons there before moving to Dundee in the summer of 2007.

However, his time at Dens Park was short-lived and he was released after just two seasons. He then had an even shorter spell at Ayr United, where his contract was cancelled by 'mutual consent' after two months when he expressed his anger at being dropped for a match. Upon hearing of his release, Moore wasted no time in bringing him back to Stirling and now looks set to sign him for a second time.

"I'd like to take Andy Graham, the right-back, but he's been offered pre-season by Hamilton," he told the BBC's Keir Murray. "I had him for five years and he's the best professional I've ever worked with.

"The other one is left winger David O'Brien. He went to Dundee and it never happened for him but I believe I can get the best out of him."

Greenock Telegraph - Moore Wants To Sign Stirling Pair (31.05.2010)

bbc.co.uk - Allan Moore Eyes Top Flight With Morton (29.05.2010)


"If Carlsberg Made A Month...

... I think I've just sampled it," says Allan Moore in a recent video interview for the BBC website.

May has been a great month for Moore. So far, his Stirling Albion team have won the Second Division title and promotion to the First Division, for which he was awarded the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Second Division Manager of the Year and was then given his dream move to full-time management with Morton.

In the interview with the BBC's Keir Murray, Moore talks about: getting players in for extra work in the afternoon to work on set-pieces and the team's shape; how he probably wouldn't have retained any of our out of contract players, with the exception of Jim McAlister; how we have too many one-paced players in the middle of the park; how he will play a 4-4-2 with wingers and midfielders who can get about the park and how he wants to get Morton to the SPL within his initial three-year contract.

You can watch the full interview here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/m/morton/8712907.stm

scottishfootballleague.com - Irn-Bru SFL End Of Season Awards (28.05.2010)


Moore To Sign Ton Fan

Allan Moore has targeted a Morton fan as his first signing for the club - Stirling Albion defender Andy Graham.

Graham, who was born in Glasgow but raised in Dunoon, is out of contract this summer, and Moore is is set to make a move for the defender, according to the Evening Times' Bert Mitchell.

“I signed Andy a few years back and worked with him for his full senior career and I would love to bring him to Cappielow," Moore told Mitchell. "Andy is versatile and a player who I think can make the step up to the First Division and take things on from there.

“He can still improve and I have no doubt going full-time would do that. I know Hamilton are interested, but making a step up two divisions to the SPL is a big thing. He is a dedicated young footballer and exactly the sort I hope to bring to Cappielow.”

I've played in a couple of the recent Gourock versus Dunoon annual challenge matches, and over the last few years I've got to know a few of the Dunoon boys and they've assured me Graham is a big Ton fan and would love to play for the club.

And if any further proof were needed, you could consult his profile on Football Manager 2010 - a PC football management game renowned for the accuracy of its database - on which Graham's 'favoured club' is Morton (pictured, below: click to enlarge).

Evening Times - Ton Boss Moore In Move For Graham (27.05.2010)


Ton Handed Two Away Draws

As usual, Morton have been drawn away from home in the first round of both the Alba Challenge Cup and the Co-operative Insurance Cup next season.

We travel over the Erskine Bridge to face Dumbarton in the 1st round of the Challenge Cup on Saturday, 24 July and then journey down the coast to meet Stranraer in the Co-op Cup on Saturday, 31 July.

scottishfootballleague.com - The Co-op Cup 1st Round Draw

scottishfootballleague.com - The Alba Challenge Cup, 2010/11


First Friendly Announced

Morton will play Coca-Cola League 1 side Bristol Rovers in a pre-season friendly.

Rovers, who finished 11th in League 1 last season, travel north for a small Scottish tour in July. They visit Cappielow on Saturday, 17 July and then Partick Thistle at Firhill the following Tuesday.

Former Morton player John Anderson (pictured, below) spent three seasons with The Pirates in the mid-noughties.

bristolrovers.co.uk - Rovers Off To Scotland For Pre-Season (27.05.2010)


It's Official

Allan Moore has today been confirmed as Morton manager after signing a three-year deal at Golden Casket late last night.

And he immediately targeted a mid-table finish as a minimum expectation for next season. “It is not going to be an overnight thing, the chairman Douglas Rae has not put pressure on me in that regard, but I am looking for a fifth or sixth-placed finish. If we can get above that then great," he told the Evening Times' Bert Mitchell

“In my first season at Stirling we managed mid-table and then went on from there, and I know that at the higher level it will be even tougher but it is a challenge I relish.”

Moore also stressed how he wants his side to be one of the fittest in the Division - and that means a combination of hungry young players and longer training sessions. "I am confident that my Stirling side were the fittest team in the Second Division last season and that just wasn’t down to their training. It was about getting young players in who had the youth and energy to play at a tempo for the duration of a game and not fade.

“I also want players in who are willing to be coached in the afternoons."

In his time at Forthbank, Moore has won one league title, three promotions, was relegated once and has won five SFL manager of the month awards.

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 via 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 (champions)

Greenock Telegraph - Moore Confirmed As New Ton Boss (26.05.2010)

Evening Times - Moore Joy As Morton Deal Done (26.05.2010)


Morton versus Alistair Donald

Morton are suing former director Alistair Donald for £82,232.47, plus interest and expenses, according to the front page splash of today's Greenock Telegraph.

Tele' journalist David Moroney reveals that the club are alleging that Donald, who resigned from the board in December last year, owes money after agreeing to pay: James Grady's wages until May 2010; £50 per week, National Insurance and win bonuses to Kevin Cuthbert and 'costs' associated with Neil MacFarlane until May 2011.

Donald, however, only accepts that he agreed to pay some costs to Grady's contract for the 2008/09 season and denies the rest of the claims. He has also requested that the club produce minutes and notes from board meetings as well as details of salaries, invoices and specific details of the alleged agreements.

Greenock Telegraph - Morton Sue Ex-Director For £80,000 (25.05.2010)


Puma Kings

Morton have today unveiled their new home and away kits for season 2010/11 and, as expected, the manufacturer is Puma.

The kits, modelled here by Peter Weatherson and Brian Graham, were exclusively revealed in today's Greenock Telegraph.

The home kit will launch on Friday, 4 June while the away kit will be available from Friday, 23 July. Both launches will be at 8am in Smiths in Greenock.

The fact that the strips are made by a quality multi-national sportswear company like Puma - who are kit manufacturer to: Tottenham, Lazio, Newcastle, the Italian national team, numerous African national teams as well as First Division rivals Falkirk, Raith Rovers and Dunfermline Athletic and SPL club Hibs - should ensure that they will be great sellers.

gmfc.net - New Season Kit Launch

Greenock Telegraph - First Look At New Morton Strips (21.05.2010)

Allan Moore Is New Ton Boss

Stirling Albion manager Allan Moore is set to become Morton manager as soon as a few minor details are ironed out.

The Scottish Sun's Paul Hughes has today claimed that both clubs have agreed on a compensation deal of £30,000 and that Moore will sign a 3 year deal at Cappielow after the 45-year-old insisted that Binos chairman Peter MacKenzie let him go.

"I'm delighted Morton have come back in for me after I missed out last time," Moore told Hughes. "I had to be straight with the chairman and tell him I might not get another chance like this and thankfully he backed down. There's a few things to be ironed out but I'm thrilled both clubs agreed a deal.

Moore had a spell as a Ton player in season 2001/02 in which time he made 12 starts, six substitute appearances and scored one goal.

The Scottish Sun - Greenock Mooreton (21.05.2010)

The Scottish Sun - No Moore Mister Nice Guy (21.05.2010)


Jim Joins Accies

Long serving Morton winger Jim McAlister has today signed for Hamilton Accies.

The 24-year-old, who spent eight seasons at Cappielow, signs for the SPL side on a Bosman after his 2-and-a-half year deal, signed in December 2007, expired on the 15th of this month.

Last season, I interviewed Jim for the Morton programme and he told me that he hadn't yet decided where he would be playing his football next season but that he had a message for the Morton support in case he did move on. “I’d like to thank the fans," he said. "They have been wonderful with me and seemed to take to me from the start - that was a huge confidence boost for a young boy. I couldn’t appreciate their support any more than I do.”

Jim has always been one of my favourite Ton players going back to watching him in a reserve game against Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill in 2003/04. He was absolutely outstanding that night and anyone there could tell that this boy had a big future in the game. Rovers manager of the time, Peter Hetherston, was one such person and after the match he went out of his way to tell Douglas Rae that he had a "great wee player in the number 11" and that he should hold onto him.

Well we did, for seven more years, but the time was probably right for him to move on to new things.

All the best, Jim!

acciesfc.co.uk - McAlister Signs (20.05.2010)


Four Told Contracts Won't Be Renewed

Dominic Shimmin, Donovan Simmonds (pictured), Alex Walker and Alan Reid will not be given new contracts.

The news - revealed by Martin Greig in yesterday's Greenock Telegraph - takes the total departures up to 11 as James Grady, Allan McManus, Jim McAlister, Ryan McGuffie, Erik Paartalu, Stevie Masterton and Kevin Finlayson have already left the club.

Brian Graham has signed a new deal while Colin Stewart is considering an extension.

Greenock Telegraph - Brian Graham Signs New Ton Deal (18.05.2010)


One Year Extension For Graham

Morton striker Brian Graham has signed a new one year extension after his contract expired on 15 May, according to Martin Greig in today's Greenock Telegraph.

The 22-year-old has spent five seasons at Cappielow, in which time he has made 52 appearances (20 starts and 32 substitute) scoring six goals. However, he had a very successful loan spell with East Stirling in 2008/09, scoring 18 goals in 39 appearances.

Greenock Telegraph - Brian Graham Signs New Ton Deal (18.05.2010)

McGuffie Signs For Queens

Ryan McGuffie has completed his switch to Queen of the South, according to today's Daily Record.

The 29-year-old signed a one year deal with his home-town club after his Morton contract expired three days ago.

"I've been a professional footballer for 11 years and it's now nice to be a Queen of the South player at last," Ryan told Queen of the South's official website.

McGuffie, who had playing at right-back for the last few months of the season, looked set to stay at Cappielow until James Grady and Allan McManus were told they were surplus to requirements. "James and Allan were looking to keep me on but they have moved on," McGuffie told the Greenock Telegraph's Martin Greig last Friday.

McGuffie follows Stevie Masterton and Kevin Finlayson out of the Cappielow exit door. The midfield pair were both told that their contracts would not be renewed.

Greenock Telegraph - Ryan Off As Ton Clearout Begins (15.05.2010)

Daily Record - Queens Complete Move For Morton Midfielder McGuffie (18.05.2010)


O'Neill Linked With Job

Former Brechin City manager Michael O'Neill is the latest name to be linked with the Morton manager's job.

The former Newcastle United, Dundee United and Hibernian winger, who is currently manager of League of Ireland Premier League side Shamrock Rovers, is "on the radar of Ton chairman Douglas Rae", according to a snippet in yesterday's News of the World.

40-year-old O'Neill, who won 33 caps for Northern Ireland, had an excellent first season managing in the Republic of Ireland when his Shamrock Rovers side finished second, qualifying for the Europa League, last season.


2009/10 Blogspot Player of the Year

The winner of the third annual greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com player of the year is... Colin Stewart.

The big goalkeeper follows in the footsteps of Jim McAlister (2007/08) and Stewart Greacen (2008/09) in taking the prestigious award after polling almost half of the votes made by you, the fans.

When, in an interview for the Morton programme, The Ton, at the start of March, I told Colin that, going by posts on the unofficial messageboard and through fans I talk to, he would be a strong contender for the player of the year awards, he seemed quite surprised. "Personally, I don't read fans' messageboards, so I had no idea that people were talking about me for awards," he said. "Last year [2008/09] was a non-event for me. I'm just delighted to have been given a chance to play and prove myself to the supporters and the coaching staff."

The 30-year-old, whose contract expired yesterday, adds this honour to awards from: Greenock Morton Supporters' Club, Lighthouse Bar Morton Supporters, Spinnaker Hotel and the Cappie the Cat Club. Ryan McGuffie won the Prince Of Wales' award while the Albert Hotel Morton Supporters "decided not to award a 'player of the year' for 2009-10", according to travel club committee member Jim MacVicar.

Ryan McGuffie was runner up with 15% of the vote, while top scorer Peter Weatherson finished third with 9% of the vote.

The full results were as follows (number of votes first with % of vote in brackets)

Colin Stewart
85 (44%)
Ryan McGuffie
30 (15%)
David MacGregor
2 (1%)
Stewart Greacen
2 (1%)
Allan McManus
2 (1%)
David van Zanten
2 (1%)
Dominic Shimmin
12 (6%)
Alan Reid
0 (0%)
Erik Paartalu
0 (0%)
Allan Jenkins
0 (0%)
Neil MacFarlane
0 (0%)
Stevie Masterton
1 (0%)
Michael Tidser
11 (5%)
Kevin Finlayson
10 (5%)
Jim McAlister
6 (3%)
Carlo Monti
2 (1%)
Peter Weatherson
19 (9%)
Brian Wake
3 (1%)
Brian Graham
0 (0%)
David Witteveen
5 (2%)

Votes: 192

2007/08 Awards

2008/09 Awards


Grady and McManus Devastated At Rae's Decision

James Grady and Allan McManus have expressed their devastation at being told they were surplus to requirements by Morton chairman Douglas Rae.

Manager Grady was the more reserved of the two and told the Scottish Sun's Robert Grieve of his disappointment at being told their contracts would not be renewed. "Losing out on the Morton job is the biggest blow I've had in football," he told Grieve. "I was part of the Gretna side which lost to Hearts in the Scottish Cup Final and that hurt. But this is soul-destroying. I'm devastated.

"I felt I could have taken Morton forward. But you need that backing. I thought I had it as we had a good working relationship with the chairman," he added.

To me, this is a hint that he felt a bit betrayed by the chairman's decision as he believed he would have been given the job on a permanent basis if he managed to keep the club up.

Assistant manager Allan McManus, on the other hand, laid his emotions on the line. "Speaking for the both of us, we were absolutely devastated. We worked to achieve the remit given to us," he told the Greenock Telegraph's Martin Greig. "People said it was to stay in the division, but we were led to believe staying out of the play-offs would mean the job was as good as ours. Things changed and, for whatever reason, that was no longer the case.

"We feel this is one of the biggest mistakes the chairman has ever made."

Greenock Telegraph - McManus: Rae Is Wrong To Sack Us (11.05.2010)

Scottish Sun - Ton Axe Is My Biggest Ever Blow (13.05.2010)

Jocky Scott Interested In Ton Job

The Greenock Telegraph's Martin Greig has linked Jocky Scott with the Morton job after the former Dundee manager admitted he was keen for a quick return to full-time management.

"I am interested in any job that is full-time," Scott told Greig. "I would just like to get back into the game and if any clubs are interested in me then I would be happy to speak to them."

Scott was sacked towards the end of March after Inverness Caledonian Thistle managed to peg back his Dundee team's 12 point lead at the top of the table to just three points. After Scott's sacking, Caley eventually went on to win the league by 12 points.

However, he did pick up a trophy last season when the Dark Blues came back from 2-0 down to beat Caley 3-2 in the Alba Challenge Cup final in November.

Greenock Telegraph - Jocky Joins Race For Morton Job (12.05.2010)

BBC - First Division Leaders Sack Manager Jocky Scott (20.03.2010)


Bookmaker Installs Moore As Odds-On Favourite

Scottish bookmakers McBookie have installed Allan Moore as the 1/2 favourite to become the next Morton manager.

Interestingly, Allan Maitland has not even been priced up.

McBookie spokesman Paul Petrie said: "Moore was the front runner last time but the teams couldn't agree compensation. We can't see it being a problem this time around."

The full betting market is as follows:

1/2 Allan Moore
9/5 Jocky Scott
6/1 Jim Duffy
10/1 John Robertson
16/1 Craig Brewster
16/1 Rowan Alexander
18/1 Brian Reid

Odds will be available on mcbookie.com from 12.30pm tomorrow.

Moore Or Maitland

Depending on which newspapers you read or who you listen to, either Allan Moore or Allan Maitland has been installed as the favourite to take over as Morton boss.

The Scottish Sun's Paul Hughes has claimed that Allan Maitland is the front runner for the job, while the Daily Record has suggested that it is former Ton player Moore who is in the frame.

I have heard rumours suggesting that both men are certs for the job, but these are just that - rumours.

Although Moore played down rumours linking him with the job in yesterday's Tele', I believe that he will jump at the chance to take the job if previous quotes are anything to go by: "I am happy where I am but feel I am due a crack at full-time football. I will keep my head down as you never what is just around the corner."

The only stumbling block would be a possible compensation deal with Stirling. However, Moore is now entering the final year of his contract and is in a more powerful position to negotiate after taking the Binos up to the First Division as champions. I could be wrong, but I don't think that he will let the chance to step up to full-time management pass him by a second time; if Peter McKenzie asks for silly money again, I'd expect to see Moore hand in his resignation in a bid to force McKenzie's hand.

Alloa manager Maitland, on the otherhand, has always maintained that he wanted to remain part-time. Recent rumours suggest that he no longer has a well paid job outside football and may welcome a full-time position, but whether or not that is true is anyone's guess as he refuses to be drawn on the subject.

Daily Record - Stirling Boss Moore In Frame For Morton Job (12.10.2010)

Greenock Telegraph - Moore Plays Down Ton Move Talk (11.10.2010)


Rae: We Need An Experienced Manager

Morton chairman Douglas Rae is hunting for an experienced manager to replace James Grady, according to a couple of statements on gmfc.net.

"Having only just managed to retain our 1st Division status after the final game of the season against relegated Ayr it is very evident that we need to engage an experienced manager to take the Club forward," explained an unattributed statement on the club's official website.

Whoever wrote the article - I'd guess at Crawford Rae - also stated that the club ('we') thinks Grady will become a good manager in future but that Morton could not afford to give him the time he needed to grow into the job. "We believe that James Grady has the makings of being a first class manager and has a superb eye at pinpointing talent but unfortunately with falling crowds coupled with the worst financial results in the Club’s history we do not have the luxury of time."

The chairman made his own statement in which he also wrote that we must acquire an experienced manager and that change was needed because the management team were "unable to stem the tide of losses which the team suffered".

gmfc.net - James Grady and Allan McManus (09.05.2010)

gmfc.net - Message From The Chairman (10.05.2010)


Grady Leaves Morton

Morton have today parted company with their caretaker management team, according to the BBC website.

The article simply states that manager James Grady and assistant Allan McManus have 'parted company with the club', with no further details.

Their departure comes as a great surprise as it looked certain that they would continue in the job if they could avoid the drop - which they did with their 2-1 win against Ayr United on the final day of the season.

The pair were appointed as joint caretaker managers on 21 September last year. Then, just over a month later, they were given the job - with Grady as manager and McManus as assistant - until the end of the season.

Both men were on the playing staff when they were asked to step up after Stirling Albion chairman Peter McKenzie asked for £180,000 compensation for Douglas Rae's first choice manager, Allan Moore.

Grady's record as Morton manager was: played 33, won 11, drew 5, lost 17.

BBC - Manager James Grady Parts Company With Morton (09.05.2010)


McGuffie Wants To Stay

Morton utility man Ryan McGuffie is one of a number of players whose contract expires this summer - and the 29-year-old has expressed his desire to play his football at Cappielow again next term.

"I've had a couple of enquiries from other clubs, but I'm really looking to continue playing my football here in Greenock with Morton," Ryan told me in a recent interview for the club's official match programme.

Morton chairman Douglas Rae and player/manager James Grady are set to sit down and discuss where they see the club going next season sometime this week and this meeting is likely to determine the future of a number of players, including Ryan. And this was something he alluded to later in the interview. "Obviously there isn't much that can be done with regard to new contracts when the club's future is still in the balance, but I'm quite happy to wait until after the season is finished to sit down and see where we are and discuss my future with the manager."

With the season now over, the board will meet tomorrow to discuss which players, if any, should be retained. "The players out of contract will be paid until 15 May. So we have until then to make them an offer or choose not to renew their contracts," Rae told the Tele's Martin Greig.

"There are one or two players who have been approached by other clubs and will want to leave.

"The majority will be waiting to see if we retain them and that will be decided by the current management team. The board will then look at the list on Friday to see if they think any among that list should be retained."

Personally, Ryan is one of the few players whose contract is up who I would like to see offered an extension. Grady's decision to move Ryan to right-back seemed to be an inspired one as the former Gretna man excelled in the position that he first played in as an 18-year-old at Newcastle United. And I believe his performances there have merited a new deal that would see him figure as our first choice right-back next season. However, that is a decision for the manager and chairman - and one that should be made sometime next week.

Greenock Telegraph - Grady's Future Decided Over Weekend (05.05.2010)


SFL Probe Abandoned U-17s Match

A match between Morton and Queen of the South's under-17 sides had to be abandoned when the Ton youth team had five players sent off... intentionally, according to today's Scottish Sun.

Sun journalists Robert McAulay and Douglas Walker have claimed that the red cards were deliberate acts to stop Queens, who were 7-1 up at the time, securing the seven clear goal win they needed to top their League Cup group.

"There's talk the ref has included in his report for the match that the Morton side deliberately engineered the red cards to stop Queens winning," a SFL insider told the Sun.

Even if the red cards were not deliberate, this match is still shameful as it shows these boys lack proper discipline. This is the kind of thing you expect to see from boys' clubs from rough estates in Glasgow, not from the under-17 set-up at a professional football club.

According to gmfc.net, the u-17s are managed by Graeme Anderson (pictured), who, if posts on greenockmorton.org are anything to go by, is related to former Ton star George Anderson. This season, the under-17s finished bottom of the SFL U-17 youth division with a record that included a total of two points for the 14 game season, zero wins and several heavy defeats.

The sooner Stewart Duncan's Inverclyde Youth Academy takes over the running of Morton's youth set-up, the better.

The Scottish Sun - Off With Their Reds (05.05.2010)

Morton under-17 results


Morton 2 - 1 Ayr United

Morton 2 - Greacen (77), Monti (86)
Ayr United 1
- McKay (20)

Att: 3,771

The Full Monti: Carlo Monti side footed home a late winner to relegate Ayr United and ensure that Morton would avoid the play-offs and automatic relegation.

As expected, Michael Tidser returned to the starting eleven in place of Allan Jenkins after James Grady took the decision to rest him for the trip north to play Ross County last Monday. Erik Paartalu replaced Neil MacFarlane and there was a surprise when Kevin McKinlay took Davie MacGregor's place at left-back as the former Partick Thistle man was thought to be ruled out for the rest of the season through injury.

Morton were absolutely awful in a first half that brought one chance in the first 45 minutes - a weak Kevin Finlayson header that Ayr goalkeeper Craig Samson caught with ease in the third minute. The defence were all over the place, the midfield could hardly find a blue and white hooped shirt with a pass and up front we lacked a cutting edge as Donovan Simmonds floated around on the periphery of the game.

And it was from one of those defensive mix ups that the Honest Men took the lead in the 19th minute. Stewart Greacen, Michael Tidser and Erik Paartalu were all involved in a mix up from which no one really managed to clear the ball and Daniel McKay, who is on loan from their big rivals Kilmarnock, picked the ball up and sent a stunning right foot short hurtling past Colin Stewart in to his top right hand corner.

Former Morton player Dean Keenan almost doubled the lead in the 37th minute but his volley flew past the upright after he'd collected Daniel Lafferty's quick thrown from the stand side.

Ayr were flying at this point and should've put the game beyond doubt four minutes from half-time when Kevin Finlayson panicked in possession of the ball and blasted his clearance against Greacen on the edge of his own box. The ball fell invitingly for former St. Mirren attacker Junior Mendes but the Montserrat international was denied when Stewart flew across goal to push his shot behind for a corner.

Morton were lucky to go in to the interval one down and the fans vented their fury by booing the home side off the field.

A criticism that has been levelled at James Grady is that he is overly cautious when it comes to his substitutions. So his decision to replace Erik Paartalu with Allan Jenkins at half-time tells its own story. This was the big Australian's last game for Morton before returning home to play for Brisbane Roar - and he had a bit of a nightmare. Erik is a confidence player, a couple of mistakes early in a match usually mean that he will go on to have a poor 90 minutes as his confidence continues to dip. And on Saturday a few misplaced early passes meant that was exactly what happened. To his credit, Erik never hides and still tries to give his all but his nervousness was starting to trasmit to his team mates and I believe Grady had to sub him off to give his team a chance of getting back into this match.

And his replacement almost made an immediate impact three minutes into the second half but Jenkins was inches away from sliding in Carlo Monti's intelligent angled cross in behind the Ayr United defence.

Morton were starting to get back in the game in the second half, however, Ayr were still the side creating the more clear cut chances. In the 58 minute, Keenan whipped over an inswinging corner that everyone missed leaving Ryan McGowan with what looked like an easy tap in at the back post, but Ton number one Stewart flung himself to the ground to make an astonishing block with his right foot. Then, ten minutes later, it was fellow defender Martyn Campbell's turn to pass up a glorious chance when the big central defender volleyed wide when he looked certain to score.

However Ayr were made to pay for their missed opportunities when Morton equalised in the 77th minute. Ayr custodian Samson flapped at a high ball (claiming in the press that he was fouled) and Greacen was on hand to stick out a left leg and force the ball into the empty net via the post.

Ayr passed up another amazing chance when a Mendes cross from out at the Cowshed dropped in behind the Ton defence but an Ayr attacker, possibly McKay, was not expecting the ball to fall to him and he could only shin the ball across the face of goal and wide.

With just four minutes of the season remaining, young Monti broke Ayr's hearts when he demonstrated superb technique to meet Finlayson's low cross at an angle and send a first time side footed shot into Samson's bottom right hand corner. A goal that put a rubber stamp on Ayr's relegation and ensured that the Ton would avoid both relegation and the play-offs.

A win is a win, especially in a crucial relegation six pointer, but the performance will be of grave concern to Grady. The 39-year-old is certain to be in charge next season and there will need to be a massive clear out if he wants to be challenging at the right end of the table next season. Fortunately, I think he knows that himself and, in players like Michael Tidser, David Witteveen and David van Zanten, he has already proven that he has a good eye for a player. Roll on an exciting summer of wheeling and dealing in the transfer market.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Colin Stewart - 8
2. Ryan McGuffie - 7
3. Kevin McKinlay - 6
4. Dominic Shimmin - 7
5. Stewart Greacen (c) - 6
6. Erik Paartalu - 4 (14. Jenkins - 46 mins - 7)
7. Kevin Finlayson - 7
8. Michael Tidser - 6
9. Donovan Simmonds - 5 (12. Graham - 72 mins)
10. David Witteveen - 6
11. Carlo Monti - 6

Unused Subs:

15. David MacGregor
16. Alan Reid
20. Kevin Cuthbert

Booked: Greacen, Monti.

McGuffie Greacen Shimmin McKinlay
Finlayson Paartalu Tidser Monti
Witteveen Simmonds

Ayr United: Craig Samson; Ryan McGowan, Bily Gibson, Martyn Campbell, Daniel Lafferty; Alistair Woodburn (Aaron Connolly, 78), Dean Keenan, Steve Bowey, Mark Roberts; Junior Mendes, Daniel McKay

Unused Subs: Jonathon Tiffoney, Ross Robertson, Roddy Paterson, Stephen Grindlay (GK).

Booked: Gibson, Connolly, Lafferty, Roberts.

My man of the match: Colin Stewart

Sponsor's man of the match: Colin Stewart

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Scottish Sun - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

Tontastic Photographs


Relegation Rivals Praise Opposition Fans

Today Morton go head to head with Ayr United in a winner takes all relegation decider, and two of the men involved are coming up against their former teams and both took time to praise the fans of their old side.

In an interview with the Scottish Sun's Robert Grieve, James Grady, who played when the Honest Men lost 4-0 to Rangers in the 2002 League Cup Final, said: "I had some great times at Somerset Park. I was there for three years and absolutely loved it. I was part of the side which reached the League Cup final in 2002.

"It's a really great club with fantastic fans. But I've got to be honest, all that goes right out the window when we play this weekend. It can't be any other way.

"I want Morton to go out and win the game and if that sees one of my old clubs relegated then so be it."

And it was in another Sun article that ex-Morton player Dean Keenan had some special praise for the Ton support. "I know how hard it's going to be at Cappielow," he told Paul Hughes. "It's a hard place and the fans are fantastic, so we know we are right up against it."

However, Dean (pictured, on Alex Walker's back celebrating the Second Division title in 2007) didn't stop there, he also mentioned the Cowshed faithful later in the article. "Morton have great fans and they will back them, but we need to try and shut them up.

"We need an early goal and we need to hope their fans and players get frustrated."

The Scottish Sun - Party Crasher (01.05.2010)