The pitch passed an inspection at 9.30 am this morning, and this will see us play our first league match at Cappielow since 12 December, 2009 - over two months ago!
gmfc.net - Games On! (27.02.2010)
With snow falling in Inverclyde most of Wednesday and Thursday, the fixture appeared to be in serious doubt. However, the snow fall has been followed by heavy rain and this started around about 5pm yesterday. Fortunately, the only areas that seemed to have been affected by the snow were high lying areas such as Overton, Grieve Road, Leven Road and Devol. I was in the town centre yesterday and you wouldn't even have known it was snowing anywhere else.
The tone of the club's post suggests that they are hopeful that the game will go ahead. "The condition of the pitch has improved greatly over the last 24 hours, however the inspection has been planned in advance as a precaution due to the changeable weather conditions and so that a final decision can be made in adequate time for both Clubs and supporters."
The post also indicated that the result of the inspection will be posted on the website around about 10am. The inspection is expected to be carried out at 9.30am.
Ton groundsman Mark Farrell (pictured) has asked for help to remove the covers tomorrow morning. Anyone who is available to help should turn up at Cappielow for 9am.
gmfc.net - Morton -v- Dunfermline: Pitch Inspection Planned (26.02.2010)
Help Required At Cappielow, Saturday Morning 9am (Post by InverAlly)
gmfc.net - fixtures
However, James Grady will face stiff competition for the 18-year-old Cliftonville striker's signature, as Huddersfield Town, Bolton Wanderers, Leicester City and Swansea City are also monitoring Boyce's progress.
“He's not a player I expect to have at Cliftonville for a long time,” manager Eddie Patterson told the Belfast Telegraph last summer. “A few cross-channel clubs are having a look at him and I would be very surprised if he didn't make a move some time soon.
“To get that move, he needs to show what he can do on a regular basis and I'm happy to give him that chance"According to the Scottish Sun, James Grady and Allan McManus flew to Belfast to watch Boyce (pictured) and one other unnamed player with an eye to signing them for next season. They took in Portadown versus Cliftonville at Shamrock Park - a match which Cliftonville lost 2-0. Boyce featured, as did other players like George McMullan and brothers Ronan and Chris Scanell, all of whom are also rumoured to be attracting the attention of clubs on the British mainland.
Belfast Telegraph - Cliftonville Manager Eddie Backs Boyce For Big Time (25.08.2009)
The big Australian has agreed to a return home by signing a three year deal with A-League side Brisbane Roar.
"My contract was running down with Morton in the summer and there was plenty of interest from Ange [Postecoglou]," Paartalu told Brisbane Roar's official website. "I've been watching the progress of the A-League and I always imagined myself playing in it, it was just a matter of timing of when to come back.
"I feel the way things are going in Australia I'd like to give it a crack and with what Ange is trying to put together for next season it is going to be interesting and exciting.
"It was an opportunity I couldn't refuse really," he added.
McLean (pictured) hosts the station's What's The Score? show every Saturday. From 11am to 12pm, he previews all the local sides' fixtures for the day, and this often includes interviews with Morton manager James Grady and Dumbarton's Jim Chapman. However, senior football is only the tip of the iceberg as they also cover five local junior clubs (Greenock Juniors, Port Glasgow Juniors, Yoker Athletic, Vale Of Leven and Clydebank) and the amateur game on both sides of the water. Although Mike is primarily focused on football, he also makes time to discuss any other relevant sporting stories in the local area.
Back in 2007, Your Radio DJ Gavin Wallace took over the job of tannoy announcer for the second division title celebrations - but his over enthusiastic brand of announcing did not go down well with the majority of Ton fans. Mike is aware of this and realises some fans have not forgiven the station. "What people have to realise is that Morton actually asked us to get involved that day, not the other way about," he told greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com. "And while I now know Gavin Wallace didn't go down well, I was too busy relaying the scenes to fans on the radio to notice it at the time. There's some people who will not change their mind about us, but I'd like to think most Morton fans would hear about what we are doing and listen in."
The Stranraer fan - who has more than 40 years radio experience, including a three year spell with Radio Clyde - insists that he is passionate about football and will continue to ensure that the local teams are given as much coverage as possible. "We are focused on local sport and I've actually fought tooth and nail to make sure that the station continues to cover teams like Morton and Dumbarton, rather than go down the more commercially minded Old Firm route.
"I'd invite Morton fans to listen in and give us a try before making their mind up based on something that happened three years ago."
Mike also added that he'd welcome any contributions or questions from fans during the show. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.yourradiofm.com - 103 & 106.9 fm
This is the sixth home match to fall foul of the cold weather since Boxing Day last year. The Scottish Cup tie versus Celtic is the only home match to have been played since 12 December.
gmfc.net - Match Postponed (19.02.2010)
"The club and supporters have also stuck by me through a lot of bad times, a lot of barren spells," Peter explained to the Scotsman's Ewan Murray. "Things like that might be part and parcel of football but I want to thank the club for backing me, there is a lot of loyalty involved with me staying at Morton."
His new deal will take him up to the end of the 2011/12 season, at which time he will have spent nine years at the club. It is common practice to offer a player a testimonial after 10 years service, but Morton chairman Douglas Rae has promised Peter one on the completion of his new deal. "I am now in my seventh year here and the chairman has promised me a testimonial at the end of the contract. That is a big thing for anyone."
The Englishman has already scored 95 goals in his Ton career, and all things going well, he will surely pass the century mark. A landmark that he could well reach later this season. This would put Peter in a select group that includes the likes of Andy Ritchie, Allan McGraw and Rowan Alexander. I for one would not grudge a player with that kind of record a testimonial one year early.
Scotsman - Peter Weatherson Sees Greenock As Home (23.01.2010)
They are as follows:
Tue 02.03.10 - v Inverness CT (originally scheduled for 16.01.10)
Wed 17.03.10 - v Airdrie United (originally scheduled for 30.01.10)
Tue 30.03.10 - v Ayr United (originally scheduled for 26.12.09)
March promises to be a very difficult month for players and fans alike. Especially when you consider that we already have a league match, versus Raith Rovers, scheduled for Tuesday 23 March. However, the one positive to take is that all four midweek matches are home fixtures, so the players have that advantage, as well as the chance to build a bit of momentum while fans might not be hit in the pocket as much as they would have been if some of these matches were away fixtures.
SFL - Scheduled and Rescheduled Matches
Morton 2 - Masterton (7, 31 pen)
Can we play you every week?: Two Stevie Masterton set-pieces earned Morton their usual win over Queen of the South at Palmerston.
"Clubs are being circulated to say that he is available on loan," James Grady said about Masterton a couple of weeks back. So it was a big surprise to see the former Clyde man take a starting position in the centre of midfield - but it would turn out to be an inspired decision. Iain Russell was the other change; he took Brian Graham's striking berth alongside Peter Weatherson.
Morton had the better of the first half and opened the scoring after just seven minutes. Referee Colin Brown awarded the Ton a free-kick for a foul on Peter Weatherson, and Stevie Masterton drilled the dead-ball under Queens' defensive wall and into David Hutton's bottom right hand corner from the edge of the 'D'.
The home team had a chance to equalise in the 19th minute but former Morton target Rocco Quinn's volley was deflected wide by Alan Reid's outstretched right boot.
Morton almost doubled their lead in the 22nd minute, but Iain Russell dragged his shot across the face of goal after he was played in on goal by Masterton.
Quinn passed up another decent chance when he volleyed wide with the goal at his mercy in the 24th minute.
One minute later, Hutton had to be alert to get down to his left hand post to gather Weatherson's left footed strike.
However, Morton did manage to double their lead on the half hour, and it was no surprise that it came via another set-piece. This time Masterton smashed a penalty right down the middle, giving Hutton no chance. The penalty decision was quite debatable. It appeared to be for handball but from where I was sitting it looked like the Queens player had the ball smashed against his hand rather than his hand going to the ball.
Both teams squandered chances to score in the last five minutes of the first period. Ton captain Stewart Greacen headed a Masterton corner inches over the bar while Willie McLaren smashed a wild effort high and wide at the back post. So Morton went into the interval with a two goal lead, which they merited going on the balance of play.
The second half was different story. Gordon Chisholm made two changes at the break: David Weatherston came on for Willie McLaren and Stewart Kean replaced Leon Knight. Both players helped turn the game in the Palmerston side's favour.
However, they passed up four excellent chances in five second half minutes, and this proved to be their downfall; a goal in this spell would've given them enough time to really push for an equaliser. Kean got on the end of a Bob Harris free-kick from out on the left, but he put his header over the bar when it looked easier to score. That was in the 50th minute, and it was just two minutes later when Weatherson made an excellent block to deny Marvin Andrews. One minute after that, Colin Stewart flapped at a corner and he was lucky to see David Lilley turn and hook the ball wide with the goal at his mercy. The final chance of this crazy five minute spell saw Bob Harris crash a spectacular effort off the bar from 25 yards, fortunately for the Ton, the ball rebounded to safety.
Queens eventually pulled one back in the 71st minute. Harris flighted a dangerous free-kick into the Ton area which Lilley flicked on. The ball fell to Burns and he hooked it back into the six yard box, where Kean flicked on for Weatherston to fire into an empty net. Game on!
The home side had the momentum and Morton were beginning to come under unbearable pressure. So it was a sore blow when Kevin Finlayson was sent off for an inexplicable barge on Weatherston. Kevin had already been booked, so it's hard to understand why he felt he needed to fly into Weatherston's side with his knee up. The frustration was doubled by the fact that Craig Reid should've been sent off ten minutes earlier. Reid was already on a booking and tugged Jim McAlister's shirt right in front of referee Brown. The incompetent whistler acknowldged the foul by rasing his arms to gesture 'play on'. Yet he failed to give Reid his marching orders when play finally stopped.
Grady sent on new signing Kevin McKinlay to shore up the midfield and the hardy utility man did a decent enough job by getting stuck in and making his presence felt. He also made a crucial clearing header at the back post in the final seconds of the match.
The only team in the Bible continuted to dominate possession after their equaliser, but they failed to create any real clear cut chances in the last quarter of an hour. In fact, we managed to create a few opportunities at the other end. Iain Russell headed over on a couple of occasions and McAlister fired straight at Hutton from 8 yards.
In the end, the ten men of Morton held on for an excellent, hard fought three points. Mind you, it was Queen of the South away - so the result was never in doubt.
1. Colin Stewart - 6
2. Ryan McGuffie - 8
3. Alan Reid - 6
4. Dominic Shimmin - 8
5. Stewart Greacen - 7
6. Stevie Masterton - 8
7. Kevin Finlayson - 6
8. Allan Jenkins - 6
9. Peter Weatherson - 8 (15. Graham - 88 mins)
10. Iain Russell - 8 (16. McKinlay - 80 mins)
11. Jim McAlister - 7
12. David MacGregor
14. Michael Tidser
20. Kevin Cuthbert
Booked: Masterton, Finlayson, Graham, Jenkins (after the match).
Sent Off: Finlayson (77)
McGuffie Greacen Shimmin Reid
Finlayson Masterton Jenkins McAlister
QotS: Hutton; Reid, Harris, Andrews, Lilley; Burns, McKenna, Quinn, McLaren (Weatherston, 46); Holmes, Knight (Kean, 46).
Unused Subs: Scally, Hamill, Fox.
Booked: Quinn, Reid, McKenna, Lilley
Sent Off: Hutton (after the match)
My man of the match: Stevie Masterton
Sponsor's man of the match: Marvin Andrews (QotS)
Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)
Greenock Telegraph - Match Report
Greenock Telegraph - Keeper Sent Off In Tunnel
Scottish Sun - Match Report
bbc sport - Match Report
qosfc.com - Match Report
qosfc.com - pics by Colin Johnstone
Alex missed a large chunk of this season due to the aforementioned hernia problem and this latest set back must come as a real blow to the 25-year-old's chances of earning a new contract with Morton in the summer.
"It's better for him and for us that he gets match fit," James Grady told the Greenock Telegraph last month. "His fitness levels aren't where they should be at the moment for us, but he will definitely get games for Brechin.
"Then he has to prove that he can go on a run of games free from injuries."
Unfortunately for Alex, he has failed prove he could go on a run of games free from injury, so it looks increasingly likely that he will join the list of players who will be leaving Cappielow in the summer.bbc.co.uk - Peterhead v Brechin City (12.02.2010)
*Photograph from Andy Thompson's collection on the official Brechin website: full gallery
James Grady has made it clear that trialist Simmonds has not yet done enough to impress him in training and the bounce matches he has played in so far.
"He's not done enough as yet to nail down a place," Grady told the Greenock Telegraph's Roger Graham. "We have told him what he has to do. He has one more game and it's up to him."
Greenock Telegraph - A Last Chance For Simmonds To Grab Deal (11.02.2010)
"Staying at Greenock Morton would have been the easiest option, the place is just a 10-minute drive away from where I live," he said at the press conference. "But I found the quality and professionalism of the Finnish league better."
Ironically, it was Morton legend and current TPS manager Marko Rajamäki who nipped in to beat his old club to secure Johansson's signature. Marko also spoke at the press conference (pictured). “We signed a national team regular, what more can you say,” he said. “Johansson’s experience gives a lift to our younger players as well. But we must remember that not everything is about Jonatan. This is a team, even if he is an important piece in the puzzle.”
TPS - Video Press Conference (In Finnish)
nordicfootball.info - Jonatan Johansson Returns To TPS (08.02.2010)
The Scottish Daily Express ran with an exclusive by Scott Burns in which he claimed Rae asked for an extra £20,000 on top of Mark McGhee's offer of Michael Paton in a loan exchange for McAlister.
However, Rae (pictured) appeared quite surprised to hear of the story when asked about it by the Greenock Telegraph's Roger Graham. "I'm not aware of that. We were after an Aberdeen player, but he went elsewhere. It wasn't Michael Paton," he told Graham. "I don't think we have had any enquiry for Jim."
Greenock Telegraph - Aberdeen Bid For McAlister Denied (06.02.2010)
According to the Scottish Daily Express's Scott Burns, Aberdeen boss Mark McGhee asked to take Jim on loan until the end of his contract and offered to take over his wages and send Greenock-born striker Michael Paton (pictured) to Cappielow on loan for the rest of the season.
However, Burns claims that the deal was cancelled when Rae asked for a further £20,000 on top of the loan swap, even though Morton manager James Grady was set to agree to the move.
Rumours on the greenockmorton.org messageboard had suggested that Simmonds was the man on trial at Cappielow, and new signing Kevin McKinlay has confirmed the rumours in today's Greenock Telegraph.
"We have a striker called Simmonds training with us as well," he told the Tele's Chris Hanlon. "He looks like a good player and is very fast."
Simmonds (pictured) started his career with Charlton Athletic, but he was released by their youth academy and subsequently joined Midlands club Coventry City. The 21-year-old spent two seasons at the Ricoh arena, in which time he had spells on loan with Gillingham and Kilmarnock, before joining Maltese premier division club Floriana last summer.
greenockmorton.org - January Signings Thread (post by Scott_Gillan)
Greenock Telegraph - Kev: I'm here For The Long Haul (03.02.2010)
Donovan Simmonds - wikipedia profile
The 23-year-old - who can play at both left-midfield and left-back - was most recently with Dundalk in the League Of Ireland Premier Division. He has been without a club since leaving the Lilywhites in November last year.
McKinlay was on trial with us in December and played in a closed doors game versus Rangers. Morton boss James Grady has explained that the signing took a while because they were awaiting international clearance after his spell Ireland.
"I'm pleased to have brought Kevin here - he had an excellent schooling with Chelsea, and then came up to Scotland and played games at 1st Division level with Ross County and Partick Thistle before playing with Dundalk in Ireland," Grady told the club's official website.
"I feel he will give us good balance on the left side, as he can play at the back, midfield and also give us options up front. He is an agressive tackler, and good in the air - he is a very versatile player. He has been training with us for the last couple of weeks, and we were awaiting clearance from Ireland to allow us to sign him."
gmfc.net - Kevin McKinlay (02.02.2010)
sfa.co.uk - Transfer Window Latest... (01.02.2010)
greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com - Kevin McKinlay On Trial (19.12.2009)