Morton 1 - 0 Ayr United

Morton 1 - Masterton (79)
Ayr United 0

Att: 1,289

Super Sub: Substitute Stevie Masterton scored the winning goal within five minutes of coming on to hand Morton a win in a crucial relegation 'six-pointer' versus Ayr United.

James Grady made four chances to the team that lost 3-0 at Airdrie at the weekend, three of which were forced and one was through choice. Kevin Cuthbert was suspended after his red card at the Excelsior Stadium, so Colin Stewart started in goal. Allan Jenkins and Dominic Shimmin both missed out through injury and their places were taken by Michale Tidser and Stewart Greacen. Peter Weatherson replaced Donovan Simmonds up front.

Much like the game at Somerset Park last month, Morton absolutely dominated the first period, creating chance after chance. But we failed to convert any of the numerous chances we created.

Full match report to follow...

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Colin Stewart - 8
2. Ryan McGuffie - 7
3. Kevin McKinlay - 6 (16. Stevie Masterton - 74 mins)
4. David MacGregor - 7
5. Stewart Greacen (c) - 7
6. Neil MacFarlane - 7
7. Kevin Finlayson - 5
8. Michael Tidser - 8 (15. Erik Paartalu - 83 mins)
9. Peter Weatherson - 6 (12. Donovan Simmonds - 67 mins)
10. David Witteveen - 7
11. Jim McAlister - 7

Unused Subs:

14. Brian Graham
20. Ryan McWilliams

Booked: Tidser, McAlister.

McGuffie MacGregor Greacen McKinlay
Finlayson MacFarlane Tidser McAlister
Witteveen Weatherson

Ayr United: Craig Samson; Chris Mitchell, Martyn Campbell (Kevin James, 48), Andrew Aitken, Daniel Lafferty; Kenneth Connolly (Junior Mendes, 81), Ryan McGowan, Steve Bowey, Ryan Borris (Alistair Woodburn, 37); Tam McManus, Mark Roberts.

Unused Subs: Billy Gibson, Stephen Grindlay.

Booked: Woodburn.

My man of the match: Michael Tidser

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Daily Record - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

Tontastic Photographs


Two Leave On Loan

Morton striker Iain Russell has been sent out on loan for the second time this season.

The 27-year-old has joined Second Division side Stirling Albion on loan until the end of the season. Previously, he had spent a couple of months on loan with Alloa Athletic.

Meanwhile, third choice goalkeeper Ryan McWilliams has also been farmed out for the remainder of the season. He joins junior side Largs Thistle, who currently play in the Stagecoach Super League Premier Division.

Fortunately, the terms Ryan's loan agreement mean that he can still feature for Morton, so he will be on the bench for tonight's match against Ayr United after Kevin Cuthbert was sent off on Saturday.

gmfc.net - Player News (26.03.2010)


Airdrie United 3 - 0 Morton

Airdrie United 3 - McGuffie o.g. (34), Lovering (56 pen, 65 pen)
Morton 0

Att: 1,017

Reffin' Hell: Referee Brian Colvin had a busy afternoon as he awarded Airdrie three penalties, sent off Morton goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert and waved away two Ton penalty appeals. However, most of these decisions were correct - it was his general refereeing performance that was the problem.

James Grady made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Raith Rovers in midweek. After impressing as a substitute in that game, it was no surprise that Kevin Finlayson replaced Stevie Masterton at right-midfield. Loan signing David Witteveen made his debut in place of Peter Weatherson, who is rumoured to be carrying a hernia injury.The third change was a real surprise as Neil MacFarlane returned to the starting line-up for the first time since the televised match against Partick Thistle at the start of January.

We almost got off to a great start when, in the 5th minute, Donovan Simmonds skipped past two players out on the right and forced his way into a threatening position in the box, but in the end he hit a tame foot effort that Airdrie goalkeeper Stephen Robertson saved with ease.

The bright start counted for nothing as disaster struck in the 12th minute. Ton goalie Kevin Cuthbert was given his marching orders for pulling back Scott Gemmill inside the box after the Airdrie striker profited from a mix up between Cuthbert and Dominic Shimmin on the edge of the box. This was a huge error by the Morton goalkeeper as there was no need for him to race to the side of his box and even when Gemmill did get past him he should have let him go on and score (or miss) rather than give away a penalty and leave his team facing 78 minutes with ten men.

The Ton custodian, who was only recently restored to the starting eleven, looked crushed as he trudged from the field while being treated to a volley of abuse by the away support.
And he wasn't afforded any sympathy by his manager, who summed up the incident in today's News of the World: "It was a stupid mistake by Kevin Cuthbert and the ref got the decision correct." However, Grady was also treated to a torrent of criticism when he decide to replace new signing Witteveen with sub goalie Colin Stewart. It's a criticism that I don't share as I thought that his only option was to bring off a striker and it was really a toss up between the two.

Amazingly, after all the commotion died down, Stewart saved former Ton youngster Alan Trouten's penalty. The 6' 3" stopper used his long reach to get down to his right and tip the ball round the pot for a corner. I felt that Stewart was harshly dropped a couple of weeks ago, so it was great to see the big man come in and show what he could do.

Unfortunately, this was just delaying the inevitable as Airdrie used their extra man to good effect. It was in the 31st minute that they took the lead. The Diamonds switched the ball quickly from right to left, where Ricky Waddell and found enough space to get a shot away. His strike hit Ryan McGuffie, who got over to close the shot down, and looped over the helpless Stewart and into the back of the net.

The home side should've went in at the interval 2-0 up, but Ryan McCann volleyed into the ground and wide from 8 yards after Diarmuid O'Carroll had nodded the ball down to him.

Grady tried to change things at half-time by bringing off the ineffectual and unfit Allan Jenkins and replacing him with Stevie Masterton, probably with the thinking that our only real chance of nicking a goal was through one of his set-pieces, but it didn't really make much difference.

The league's bottom club almost scored a second just one minute into the second half when O'Carroll met Trouten's cross from out on the right but the Irishman headed over.

The referee was having a nightmare. Every decision was going in Airdrie's favour, and to such an extent that the Airdrie players were laughing about it. There was a particulary bad decision that had Airdrie keeper Robertson running to the subs behind the goal laughing and pointing.

Strangely, I did think that he got it right when he awarded the Diamonds their second penalty of the match in the 56th minute. Kevin McKinlay did brilliant to get across to the right to make an amazing covering slide tackle, but when he got up he appeared to barge into Gemmill with excessive force. Gemmill may well have gone down easy, as other Ton fans have claimed, but I still thought the contact was strong enough to knock him over. Left-back Paul Lovering showed Trouten how it should be done by tucking his penalty into the bottom left hand corner as Stewart dived the other way.

Ten minutes later, referee Colvin pointed to the spot for the third time, and I thought this was the one he got wrong. From where I was sitting, which admittedly was a long way away, it looked like McGuffie and Gemmill tangled legs and both fell to the ground. Lovering didn't care as he stepped up and smashed the penalty to the same side to make it 3-0. Stewart went the right way this time but was beaten by the power.

After this Donovan Simmonds had two penalty appeals turned down - neither of which I thought were penalties - and had a decent effort at goal saved by Robertson in the 68th minute after some neat link up play involving McGuffie, Jim McAlister and Peter Weatherson, who'd come on as a substitute in the second half.

Paul Keegan missed a glorious chance to make it four right at the end when he side-footed wide from inside the six yard box.

In reality, these incidents didn't mean anything as the match was basically over as soon as Cuthbert was sent off in the 12th minute. The team need to put this match firmly behind them and concentrate on getting three points against Ayr United on Tuesday - nothing less will do.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Kevin Cuthbert - 1
2. Ryan McGuffie - 6
3. Kevin McKinlay - 6
4. Dominic Shimmin - 6
5. David MacGregor - 6
6. Neil MacFarlane - 6 (12. Peter Weatherson - 58 mins)
7. Kevin Finlayson - 6
8. Allan Jenkins - 4 (14. Stevie Masterton - 46 mins - 6)
9. David Witteveen - 3 (20. Colin Stewart - 12 mins - 6)
10. Donovan Simmonds - 6
11. Jim McAlister (c) - 6

Unused Subs:

14. Erik Paartalu
16. Stewart Greacen

Booked: McKinlay.

Sent Off: Kevin Cuthbert (12)

Cuthbert (Stewart)
McGuffie MacGregor Shimmin McKinlay
Finlayson Jenkins (Masterton) MacFarlane McAlister
Witteveen Simmonds

Airdrie United: Stephen Robertson; Simon Storey, Marc Smyth, Bobby Donnelly, Paul Lovering; Alan Trouten, Ryan McCann, Scott McLaughlin, Ricky Waddell; Diarmuid O'Carroll (Kevin Watt, 72), Scott Gemmill (Paul Keegan, 72).

Unused Subs: Tom Parratt, David Nixon, Lee Hollis.

My man of the match: Colin Stewart

Sponsor's man of the match: Scott Gemmill (Airdrie)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Scottish Sun - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

airdrieunitedfc.com - Match Report

Tontastic Photgraphs


Morton Sign Hearts Striker Witteveen On Loan

Morton have today signed Hearts' Austrian striker David Witteveen on an emergency loan until the end of the season.

The 24-year-old has struggled to make an impact at Tynecastle this season after signing in the summer and has been sent to Cappielow to get some first team football under his belt.

"David was not in the plans much before I came here and I haven't had a chance to see much of him since arriving," Jim Jefferies told Hearts' official website. "He has signed until the end of the season and that gives him the opportunity of some matches. With a number of midweek games coming up, it will also give us a chance to have a look at him and then we will make a judgement."

heartsfc.co.uk - David's Morton Deal (26.03.2010)

BBC Interview - Witteveen: 'SPL A Big Step Up For Me' (21.07.2009)

Douglas Rae: We May Have To Go Part-Time

Morton chairman Douglas Rae (pictured) has stated that the club cannot continue to function as a full-time outfit on the attendances we are getting at the moment.

The Ton have suffered from crippling drops in revenue in recent months with a number of home matches postponed and worryingly decreasing gates for the fixtures that have gone ahead. There were only 1,266 at their match with Airdrie United last Wednesday - a figure that we were regularly topping in the Third Division seven years ago.

"We had our lowest attendance on Wednesday night that we have had for many a day," Rae wrote in his column for the Partick Thistle / Raith Rovers programme. "Only 1,300 or so supporters in the ground. How can we maintain a full-time team based on attendances of less than 1,500? We require 3,500 fans through the turnstiles to be able to operate without incurring losses."

However, it's not just income from gates that is down, there are a whole host of areas in which revenue has dropped. "I know it has been a roller coaster season and that a lot of people have not been happy. Think of how I feel. Reduced attendances, lower sales of programmes, poorer levels of sponsorship, all on top of the worry about confirming our First Division status for next season," he added.

And greenockmortonfc.blogspot.com understands that the club has, like other local businesses encountering financial hardship, applied for financial assistance from Inverclyde Council.

He finished by thanking the fans who continue to come to games, "I would like to thank the hard core of Morton fans who have stuck with us this season despite our indifferent form. Had they responded as some supporters have by staying away, then the club's future would have been put in jeopardy once again."


Morton 1 - 1 Raith Rovers

Morton 1 - Simmonds (88)
Raith Rovers 1
- Murray (73)

Att: 1,415

Quick on the draw: It was a game of firsts as Donovan Simmonds' first goal for Morton earned his club their first draw of the season. Unfortunately, we didn't more up to first in the league, but the good news is that the point moves us up to eighth, ahead of Ayr United.

Full match report to follow...

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Kevin Cuthbert - 6
2. Ryan McGuffie - 6
3. Kevin McKinlay - 6
4. Dominic Shimmin - 7
5. David MacGregor - 6
6. Michael Tidser - 6 (14. Erik Paartalu - 69 mins)
7. Allan Jenkins - 6
8. Stevie Masterton - 6 (15. Kevin Finlayson - 62 mins)
9. Peter Weatherson - 6
10. Donovan Simmonds - 6
11. Jim McAlister (c) - 7

Unused Subs:

12. Brian Graham
16. Stewart Greacen
20. Colin Stewart

Booked: McKinlay, Weatherson.

McGuffie MacGregor Shimmin McKinlay
Masterton Jenkins Tidser McAlister
Weatherson Simmonds

Raith Rovers: David McGurn; Thierry Gathuessi (Dene Shields, 81), Grant Murray, Laurie Ellis, Darren Hill (David Armstrong, 68); Allan Walker, Robert Sloan, Ferry, Iain Williamson; Kevin Smith (Iain Davidson, 70), Grégory Tadé.

Unused Subs: Javier Amaya, Gary O'Connor.

Booked: Armstrong, Gathuessi.

My man of the match: Dominic Shimmin

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

raithroversfc.com - Match Report

Tontastic photographs


Was It Really Ten Years Ago?

It's unbelievable to think that it is almost ten years ago that Morton were the subject of Scottish Parliamentary debate as a result of concerns at the way Hugh Scott (pictured) was running the club.

During the proceedings Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil said of Scott: “He brings embarrassment and disgrace to this community”.

I was reminded of the debate after reading the When Saturday Comes website and coming across an article by Frank Plowright.

In the piece, Plowright writes about Scott's time as Morton chairman - and any fan who wasn't around back then should take the time to read the article.

And even if you were around at the time, there might be some revelations that you weren't aware of. I had no idea that Scott was alleged to have tried to sell Morton to Huntly so they could take over our league membership:

Then, following Huntly’s failed application to join the Scottish League, Scott apparently tried to sell Morton to them lock, stock and league membership.

You can read the full article here: WSC 162 (August 2000) - Small Town Blues


Morton 1 - 0 Partick Thistle

Morton 1 - McAlister (90)
Partick Thistle 0

Att: 2,163

Just Bute-iful: Cometh hour, cometh the men from across the water. Rothesay's Jim McAlister scored a 90th minute winner at home to Partick Thistle to follow up the heroics of Dunoon's Davie MacGregor, who scored the winner against Airdrie United in midweek.

James Grady made one change to the side that beat Airdrie United in midweek: Iain Russell, who had a poor game against the Diamonds, was replaced by Donovan Simmonds.

And it was Simmonds who almost made an immediate impact, but he fired wide after being put through on goal by strike partner Peter Weatherson in the third minute.

Then, four minutes later, Stevie Masterton smashed a shot inches over the junction of bar and post.

Morton also failed to convert two headed chances before Partick Thistle managed to manufacture their first chance of the half. Jim McAlister nodded a Simmonds cross over the bar in the 28th minute and there was a similar outcome when Ryan McGuffie met a Masterton corner three minutes afterwards.

Then Thistle came to life and missed three chances in three minutes towards the end of the half. In the 36th minute Marc Corcoran sent a dipping volley over the bar, then a couple of minutes later Kevin McKinlay, who had a solid game at left-back, got back to make a superb goal line clearance to deny Simon Donnelly. Ad it was just minute after that that the grounded Kevin Cuthbert managed to stick out a leg to deny Corcoran when the former St. Mirren winger looked certain to score.

The last chance of the half fell to the home side but Simmonds curled his effort over the bar after the ball fell kindly for him. Simmonds' pace and movement had the Thistle rearguard at panic stations throughout the match; it is just unfortunate that the Englishman seems to lack composure in front of goal.

It was the 21-year-old former Coventry striker who had the first opportunity of the second period when he got on the end of a Masterton cross in the 51st minute, but his header was tipped over the bar by Northern Ireland internationalist Jonny Tuffey.

From the resultant corner a flashing header sent the ball crashing off the post but, frustratingly for the Ton, the ball rebounded to safety. I thought that the ball was directed onto the post by a Partick Thistle head, possibly David Rowson's, but Craig Stewart, who was reporting for the Greenock Telegraph, suggests that it was actually the head of Dom Shimmin who knocked the ball towards goal.

The Jags passed up one of two glorious chances to take the lead, the first of which came in the 59th minute. Liam Buchanan, so often a thorn in Morton's side this season, burst past several Ton players down the left before cutting back for Paul Cariney, who scuffed the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.

With 15 minutes to go, Allan Jenkins, who looks as if he might be carrying an injury or struggling to recover fitness after missing three months of the season between October and January, burst forward before firing a left foot shoot wide of the upright.

Then, in the 81st minute, it was Buchanan's turn to miss a sitter. The ball found him unmarked at the back post but the 12 goal striker smashed the ball high into the side netting when it looked easier to score. Had he elected to place the ball back across goal rather than try to fire it into the top corner then he'd probably have scored.

Just as everyone seemed to be heading for the exits thinking that Morton had secured their first draw of the league season, Jim McAlister broke down the left and his a pretty hopeful left foot effort at goal and to everyone's amazement the ball zipped under Tuffey's leg and into the net to score his first goal since September 2008 and secure a crucial three points.

They say things always come in threes, so Raith Rovers better hope that Dunoon-born Neil MacFarlane isn't in the starting eleven tonight as he must be a cert to score the winner.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Kevin Cuthbert - 7
2. Ryan McGuffie - 7
3. Kevin McKinlay - 8
4. Dominic Shimmin - 7
5. David MacGregor - 7
6. Michael Tidser - 7 (14. Erik Paartalu - 69 mins)
7. Allan Jenkins - 6
8. Stevie Masterton - 7 (15. Kevin Finlayson - 69 mins)
9. Peter Weatherson - 7 (12. Brian Graham - 87 mins)
10. Donovan Simmonds - 8
11. Jim McAlister (c) - 7

Unused Subs:

16. Stewart Greacen
20. Colin Stewart

Booked: Weatherson, Masterton.

McGuffie MacGregor Shimmin McKinlay
Masterton Jenkins Tidser McAlister
Weatherson Simmonds

Partick Thistle: Jonny Tuffey; Eric Paton, Ian Maxwell, John Robertson, Alan Archibald; Paul Cairney, Stephen McKeown (Steve Lovell, 78), David Rowson, Marc Corcoran (Chris Erskine, 74); Simon Donnelly (Martin Grehan, 71), Liam Buchanan.

Unused Subs: Ryan Conroy, Bryn Halliwell.

Booked: Cairney.

My man of the match: Donovan Simmonds

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

bbc sport - Match Report

ptfc.co.uk - Match Report

Tommy Taylor's ptfc.co.uk photographs


McManus Can Handle Ton Fans' Abuse

It would be fair to say that Morton assistant manager Allan McManus is not someone that the many regulars in the Cowshed have taken to their hearts. And the 35-year-old central defender knows it - but he insists that he can handle any abuse that Ton fans may throw at him.

"McManus clearly still holds the club [Airdrie] in high regard and joked he would probably receive more stick from the home fans," the Greenock Telegraph's Chris Tait wrote on Tuesday.

"I'm old enough now that abuse from the fans doesn't really bother me. I'll just be concentrating on the guys on the park and making sure they do their jobs," McManus also told Tait.

Hopefully McManus isn't on the receiving end of any abuse tomorrow, as it would probably mean that we've got a decent result against Partick Thistle.

Greenock Telegraph - I Loved My Time As A Diamond Geezer... (16.03.2010)


Morton 2 - 1 Airdrie United

Morton 2 - Weatherson (19), MacGregor (65)
Airdrie United 1
- O'Carroll (54)

Att: 1,266

Déjà vu all over again: Morton stalwart Davie MacGregor did what he always does: got on the end of a corner to secure a 2-1 win in a crucial match at Cappielow. He did it when he scored his last goal in a 2-1 win over Peterhead at Cappielow in October 2005 (pictured, below), and before that in a 2-1 win against Albion Rovers in January 2003.

Understandably, James Grady reverted to a 4-4-2 formation for this home fixture against bottom club Airdrie after he had employed a 4-5-1 up in Inverness the previous Saturday. Donovan Simmonds, who was unimpressive against Caley, dropped to the bench and Peter Weatherson was restored to the starting line-up. Iain Russell partnered Peter up front after taking Erik Paartalu's place in the side. Dominic Shimmin had recovered from injury and his inclusion meant a reshuffle in defence: Ryan McGuffie moved back to right-back and Alan Reid, rather harshly, found himself on the bench.

The first real incident arrived in the 19th minute in the form of the opening goal. Peter Weatherson collected a clever angled pass from Jim McAlister and took a touch before sweeping the ball past Airdrie goalkeeper Stephen Robertson at his near post.

Peter almost doubled Morton's lead three minutes later but he smashed the ball high and wide at the back post. He should've done better and if his reaction was anything to go by, he knew it as well.

The Diamonds should have equalised just before the half hour but Bobby Donnelly headed a Ricky Waddell corner over the bar when it looked easier to score.

Cowshed enemy number one Scott McLaughlin had a couple of efforts, one of which was blocked and the other easily saved by Kevin Cuthbert before the half-time whistle blew.

Although this match wasn't offering much in the way of entertainment, we were winning in a match we had to take three points from. So most fans seemed reasonably happy if a little concerned.

It didn't take long for that little concern to chane to grave concern, when Airdrie equalised in the 54th minute. Poor defending allowed Waddell to pick the ball up on the left and his cross found former Celtic youth Diarmuid O'Carroll totally unmarked in the centre, and he nodded past Cuthbert to bring his side level. It is totally unacceptable to be conceding this kind of goal - something Ryan McGuffie seems to agree with,
"We concede too many goals and they are cheap goals, he told the Greenock Telegraph. "We are having to really work hard for goals but when teams score against us they don't really have to cut us open. They seem to come from an unforced error and they get their goals rather cheaply."

However, Morton restored their lead in the 65th minute. Allan Jenkins won a corner when he burst through the Airdrie rearguard and had a left foot shot pushed wide by Robertson. Long serving defender MacGregor, who put in as solid a performance as I've seen from him in a long time, met Stevie Masterton's inswinging flag kick with a bullet header from inside the six yard box to make it 2-1.

Substitute Donovan Simmonds almost put the match beyond doubt when his pace took him one-on-one with Robertson three minutes later, but the Airdrie stopper made a great save to deny the Englishman. Yet, he really should've had a penalty as Simon Storey was pulling and hauling at Simmonds the whole time. If he went down, he'd have surely have been awarded a penalty.

Kevin Cuthbert made sure the three points stayed at Cappielow when he tipped Kevin Watt's curling effort over the bar with ten minutes to go.

It wasn't pretty, or convincing, but we got the three points, which was the important thing.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Kevin Cuthbert - 6
2. Ryan McGuffie - 6
3. Kevin McKinlay - 6
4. Dominic Shimmin - 6
5. David MacGregor - 8
6. Michael Tidser - 7
7. Allan Jenkins - 6
8. Stevie Masterton - 7
9. Peter Weatherson - 7 (15. Erik Paartalu - 72 mins)
10. Iain Russell - 4 (12. Donovan Simmonds - 62 mins)
11. Jim McAlister (c) - 7

Unused Subs:

14. Brian Graham
16. Alan Reid
20. Colin Stewart

Booked: Weatherson, Tidser, Simmonds.

McGuffie MacGregor Shimmin McKinlay
Masterton Jenkins Tidser McAlister
Weatherson Russell

Airdrie United: Stephen Robertson; Ryan McCann, Robert Donnelly, Simon Storey, Paul Lovering (Kevin Watt, 80); Scott Gemmill, Scott McLaughlin, Kevin McDonald (Alan Trouten, 73), RickyWaddell; Diarmuid O'Carroll, Paul Keegan (Frankie Lagana, 72).

Unused Subs: David Nixon, Lee Hollis.

Booked: Trouten, Robertson.

My man of the match: David MacGregor

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Daily Record - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

airdrieunitedfc.com - Match Report

tontastic photographs


McLaughlin Has A Dig At Ton Fans

Former Morton midfielder Scott McLaughlin believes that his Airdrie side can win tonight - as long as they get the Cappielow crowd to turn on their own players.

And this is something that he believes shouldn't be very hard going by his own experiences as a Ton player. “We need to go at them right from the kick-off and turn their fans against them,” he told the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser's Colin Paterson. “Having played down there, I know better than anybody how they can turn on their own players.

“I was on the end of it for long enough during the years I was there so it’s important to use their fans to our advantage."

I'm sure Scott can expect a more hostile reception than usual tonight.

Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser - Airdrie Midfielder Says Morton Fans Can Be 12th Man (17.03.2010)


Inverness C.T. 1 - 0 Morton

Inverness C.T. 1 - Ross (62)
Morton 0

Att: 2,788

Close, but no cigar:
Caley Thistle youngster Nick Ross tapped in his first senior goal on the hour to break the hearts of a makeshift Morton side who almost managed to grind out the draw the 4-5-1 formation suggests they were looking for.

James Grady switched from the 4-4-2 he's been using recently in an attempt to stifle Inverness Caley and come away with a hard fought point. The formation might also have been about the personnel available. Stewart Greacen was suspened, while Dominic Shimmin and Peter Weatherson missed out through injury, although Peter was deemed fit enough to take a place on the bench. Davie MacGregor, Kevin McKinlay and Erik Paartalu were the players who came into replace the misisng players. MacGregor partnered McGuffie in central defence, and McKinlay came in at left-back, which allowed Alan Reid to move to right-back. Paartalu supported Michael Tidser and Allan Jenkins in the centre of midfield. New signing Donovan Simmonds - and not Shimmin as most newspapers wrongly listed him - ploughed lonely furrow up front.

The big surprise in terms of team selection was the return of Kevin Cuthbert to the starting eleven in place of Colin Stewart, who has been first choice all season.

Inverness Caley manager Terry Butcher described the match as 'horrible', and he was 100% correct - there were only three chances in the entire first half. In form Caley striker Adam Rooney lobbed wide with the outside of his right foot in the 11th minute (pictured, below).

Then, towards the end of the half, Tidser whipped over a couple of inswinging corners that both almost ended up flying straight into the net. The first was headed off the line by Stuart Golabek and the second was tipped over by goalkeeper Ryan Esson.

So the teams went in level at half-time. It must've been brutal viewing for any neutrals, or home fans for that matter, but Morton could've been reasonably happy to have contained the home team at a notoriously difficult venue.

The second half wasn't much better.

Johnny Hayes curled a left footer inches wide in the 53rd minute before 18-year-old Nick Ross scored the winning goal seven minutes later. Russell Duncan's ball over the top caught the Morton defence sleeping and Rooney outpaced MacGregor before firing a shot across goal from an acute angle. Cuthbert stuck out a leg to save but he only succeeded in deflecting the ball out the goalmouth where Ross arrived right on time to tap the ball into the empty net (pictured, below: Ross [number 9] celebarting with Rooney).

Thereafter, Morton rarely threatened as Simmonds became increasingly isolated up front. Sadly, our only chance of note in the second period was Jim McAlister's deflected shot that Esson grasped with ease in the 73rd minute.

This was a result that took Caley to within three points of leaders Dundee and left Morton in deep trouble at the bottom. The frustration and disappointment was exacerbated by the news that Ayr United had scored a 90th minute winner at Airdrie. However, despair had turned to joy by the time we got to the bus as the news that the 10-man Diamonds had equalised in the fifth minute of injury time filtered through. That's our get out of jail free card used up; now it's time to take the bull by the horns, win our midweek games at Cappielow and force our way out of this mess.

Morton (4-5-1):

1. Kevin Cuthbert - 6
2. Ryan McGuffie - 6
3. Alan Reid - 7
4. David MacGregor - 6
5. Kevin McKinlay - 6
6. Erik Paartalu - 6
7. Michael Tidser - 7
8. Allan Jenkins - 6
9. Donovan Simmonds - 5
10. Stevie Masterton - 5 (14. Peter Weatherson - 68 mins)
11. Jim McAlister (c) - 6

Unused Subs:

12. Kevin Finlayson
15. Iain Russell
16. Carlo Monti
20. Colin Stewart

Booked: Masterton.

Reid McGuffie MacGregor McKinlay
Masterton Jenkins Paartalu Tidser McAlister

Inverness C.T.: Ryan Esson; David Proctor, Ross Tokley, Grant Munro, Stuart Golabek; Lee Cox, Johnny Hayes, Russell Duncan, Nick Ross (Robert Eagle, 80), Eric Odhiambo (Daniel Stratford, 88); Adam Rooney.

Unused Subs: Dani Sánchez, Nauris Bulvītis, Kyle Allison

My man of the match: Michael Tidser

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Match Ticket

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Scottish Sun - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

ictfc.co.uk - Match Report

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Butcher: Morton Capable Of A Surprise

Inverness Caley Thistle boss Terry Butcher has suggested that Morton are capable of springing a surprise at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium tomorrow.

"Ayr surprised us and I think Morton are capable of doing that as well," the England legend told the BBC's Charles Bannerman. "They're fighting for their lives. It's dog eat dog down at the bottom of the First Division.

"We need the points, they need the points so we've got to make sure we do our job professionally and with the real hunger that the boys showed on Tuesday night against Queens of the South," he added.

I hope he's right.

BBC - Caley Boss Terry Butcher Wary Over Morton Danger (12.03.2010)


Greacen To Miss Two Matches

Stewart Greacen will miss Morton's next two matches after he was sent off at Ayr United last Saturday.

The Ton captain (pictured: leaving the field after being shown a second yellow) was already facing a one match suspension after a booking in the 2-1 home defeat against Dunfermline took him over the disciplinary point limit.

The suspension starts with immediate effect, meaning that Stewart will be absent for our trip to Inverness on Saturday and our match with Airdrie United the following Wednesday.

"I have accumulated enough yellows now to be out and I will also miss the Airdrie game, which is another big game for us," Stewart told the Greenock Telegraph's Chris Hanlon.


Morton Could Drop Into Play-Off Position

Ayr United take on Partick Thistle at Somerset Park tonight, in what is their game in hand over Morton.

Should the Honest Men win, they will leapfrog Morton into 8th place sending the Ton into the play-off position. And this could be a real psychological blow for a Morton side low on confidence after two straight defeats. Especially when you consider that Ayr will have an excellent chance to extend the gap at the weekend when they travel to face rock bottom Airdrie, while we face a gruelling trip up north to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

“This is a big, big game but we are going into it in good form and on the back of a win over Morton that we deserved based on our second half performance," former Morton player and current Ayr manager Brian Reid (pictured) told the club's official website. "A win would lift us up to eighth place and set us up nicely for the trip to Airdrie at the weekend. Thistle are a very experienced side, who will be looking to get back into things after losing at the weekend, but we have a chance to give ourselves a huge lift and we will be going all out for a win.”

For once, all Morton fans should be right behind Partick Thistle.

BBC - Ayr United v Partick Thistle

ayrunitedfc.co.uk - Match Preview: Partick Thistle (10.03.2010)


Where Are They Now?

Last season, former Morton loanee Sean O'Connor was forced to retire when a persistent knee injury failed to clear up - but he is on the road back after featuring as a trialist for Annan Athletic on Saturday.

The 28-year-old striker, who spent eight months on loan at Cappielow during season 2001/02, played 81 minutes as Annan drew 3-3 with Elgin City at Galabank.

O'Connor (pictured, right: celebrating a goal with Scott Miller) has been linked with a return to Queen of the South, and Doonhamers manager Gordon Chisholm has not ruled out a move before the window closes at the end of March. “Sean has kept himself in shape and we would love to have a fit-again Sean O’Connor in our ranks but we can not just put him straight into the first team and see if his knee holds up at this level," he told the SFL website.

"He has agreed to turn out in the short term for Annan as a trialist and we will see how that goes before taking things further.”

SFL - O'Connor Not A Doonhamer As Yet (09.03.2010)


Duffy Still Proud Of SPFA Award

Former Morton player Jim Duffy (pictured) is so proud of the 1984/85 SPFA Players' Player of the Year award that he won in his time at Cappielow that it is the only piece of football memorabilia he has on display in his home.

"I have very few things in my house on display that you would lead you to know I have a career in football, as I am not ostentatious but the Players' Player of the Year Award is," he told the SFL's league insider bulletin.

"When you consider the creative players, like David Cooper and Paul McStay, and the defenders that were around then, Willie Miller, Alex McLeish and big Roy [Aitken] at Celtic, it was the biggest surprise of my life to win it.

"Morton's Andy Ritchie had won the Football Writers' award six years earlier, but he had scored in the region of thirty goals that season and was an exceptionally gifted player. It just was a total surprise after the season we had been through."

The 49-year-old, who currently manages Brechin City, also explained why he thought his fellow pros voted for him. "They must have seen my commitment to the cause and the fact that I never gave up. That must have impressed them and I gave 100 per cent to Morton that season in every game and have adopted that approach to things since."

SFL League Insider (Issue 28) - Committed to the Cause (page 4)


Ayr United 2 - 0 Morton

Ayr United 2 - Roberts (26), McManus (49 pen)
Morton 0

Att: 2,145

Going Down With the Airdrie?
: A 2-0 loss at relegation rivals Ayr United means that Morton have been drawn back into the relegation dog fight. The Ton failed to take their chances in the first half and failed to turn up in the second half.

James Grady made a couple of changes to the team that put in an abject performance at home to Dunfermline last week. New signing Donovan Simmonds replaced Iain Russell up front, while Michael Tidser came back into the starting eleven for his first taste of action since he was subbed off in the 2-1 win against Raith Rovers at the end of January. Tidser was included at the expense of close friend Carlo Monti, who was replaced after just half an hour last week and was rumoured to have got changed and went straight home. The change meant a bit of a rejig in the midfield as Jim McAlister moved back to the left and Stevie Masterton moved to out to the right. However, Masterton played very narrow and gave the look of a team playing with three central midfielders and no one on the right.

The final result could've been so different if Peter Weatherson's 11th minute dipping volley went in off the post rather than bouncing off it and back out to safety.

That near miss appeared to be a sign of things to come as we continued to pass up chance after chance. Peter had another great opportunity in the 18th minute, but he fired straight at Ayr goalkeeper Craig Samson after Simmonds had played him in after some fine hold up play.

Ton's top scorer was unlucky to see a left foot shot deflected wide for a corner two minutes later.

Then, just one minute after that, Tidser - whose composed performance was one of positives I took from the game - clipped a sublime pass over the top for Simmonds to run on to, but the Englishman lacked the required composure and blasted his shot wide. There was a definite sense of déjà vu seconds later as Simmonds placed a weak effort into Samson's body after McAlister slid a pass into his path from out on the left. He really should've scored, and it was at this point that you could sense the unease in the away end as everyone was getting the sense that we would live to regret these misses.

And so it proved. Morton went to sleep when Alan Reid conceded a needless thrown in out on the Morton left. Mark Roberts received a quick throw in and quickly swivelled before sending a stunning left foot volley soaring over Colin Stewart's head and into the net for a totally undeserved lead. The Ton number one has to be questioned for his positioning as he appeared to be standing much too far off his line (see picture, below).

Morton went straight on the attack and almost equalised seconds later. McAlister ran down the left and cut back on himself before drilling an excellent right footed cross to the back post where Weatherson managed to outjump his marker, but his header skimmed the roof of the net after going inches over.

It was very disappointing to see the Ton go in 1-0 down at half-time. We had dominated the half and create numerous goalscoring chances. Ayr, on the other hand, had been pretty abysmal but created one half chance - if you can even call it that - and scored from it.

Things went from bad to worse four minutes into the second half when Tam McManus sent Stewart the wrong way from the penalty spot after Dominic Shimmin was penalised for a foul on Steve Bowey. I didn't have a great view of the foul, but I thought it looked quite soft. Soft or not, it was certainly unnecessary as Bowey appeared to be facing away from the Morton goal on the edge of our box.

In the 59th minute, Simmonds used his pace to get in behind the Ayr defence but, as with the other chances he'd missed, he seemed to go to pieces in front of goal and smashed the ball wide with the outside of his right foot. Failing to score was bad enough, but missing the target completely was criminal. It's encouraging that he is actually getting these chances, though. The 21-year-old is astute enough to time his runs and use his pace to get in behind - but he has to start hitting the target. I got the impression that he's a confidence player, who could be capable of going on a good goalscoring run after getting his first goal.

Ayr had two chances to wrap up the win in 64th and 65th minutes. First Bowey lobbed inches wide after a defensive mix up involving Colin Stewart saw the ball break to the blonde haired midfielder with the goal at his mercy. Then substitute Danny McKay cut in from the left before curling an effort inches wide of the far post.

Our only other chance worth writing about came in the 84th minute. Referee Steven Nicholls waved away penalty claims when Simmonds appeared to be man handled in the box, and the ball came out to Masterton who curled an effort towards the top corner from 25 yards. But Samson was never really troubled and comfortably got across to push the ball over the bar.

Insult was added to injury when Stewart Greacen was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 85th minute.

Our second half performance got exactly what it deserved - nothing. The win meant that Ayr closed the gap between the two clubs to 2 points. The Honest Men have a game in hand, against Partick Thistle at Somerset on Wednesday, and a win there would see them leapfrog the Ton into 8th place. We need to get our act together quick, or we might just end up making the Ayr fans' prediction, that we're going down with the Airdrie, a reality.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Colin Stewart - 5
2. Ryan McGuffie - 6
3. Alan Reid - 5 (14. Brian Graham - 74 mins)
4. Dominic Shimmin - 7
5. Stewart Greacen - 5
6. Michael Tidser - 7
7. Allan Jenkins - 6 (15. Kevin Finlayson - 67 mins)
8. Stevie Masterton - 6
9. Peter Weatherson - 5 (16. David MacGregor - 89 mins)
10. Donovan Simmonds - 6
11. Jim McAlister - 6

Unused Subs:

12. Erik Paartalu
20. Kevin Cuthbert

Booked: Shimmin, Greacen.

Sent Off: Greacen (84)

McGuffie Greacen Shimmin Reid
Masterton Jenkins Tidser McAlister
Weatherson Simmonds

Ayr United: Craig Samson; Chris Mitchell, Daniel Lafferty, Martyn Campbell, Ryan McGowan; Dean Keenan (Kenneth Connolly, 80), Andrew Aitken, Steven Bowey, Ryan Borris; Tam McManus (Junior Mendes, 83), Mark Roberts (Daniel McKay, 41).

Unused Subs: Alistair Woodburn, Stephen Grindlay.

Booked: Bowey, McManus, McGowan.

My man of the match: Michael Tidser

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

bbc sport - Match Report

Dave Sargent's Ayr United pics


Don Deal

Morton have signed former Coventry City striker Donovan Simmonds on a short term deal until the end of the season, according to gmfc.net.

Ton gaffer James Grady signed the Englishman (pictured) after an extended trial, in which he scored in a bounce match versus Hamilton Accies.

However, Grady was not fully satisfied with Simmonds' performances and suggested that the striker would be given one more bounce match to try and impress him and earn a deal. "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."

But the recent cold snap has made it almost impossible to arrange a competitive fixture, never mind a bounce match. So, it was a surprise to many when the 21-year-old, who had a loan spell at Kilmarnock last season and recently left Maltese Premier League club Floriana, made a surprise debut in Ton's 2-1 defeat at home to Dunfermline on Saturday.

gmfc.net - Donovan Simmons [sic] (27.02.2010)

Greenock Telegraph - A Last Chance For Simmonds To Grab A Deal (10.02.2010)

Caley Thistle Match Re-Rearranged

Morton will now play Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Cappielow on Tuesday, 6 April with a 7.30pm kick-off.

The game was originally postponed on 16 January before falling foul of the weather again on Tuesday.

gmfc.net - Morton -v- Inverness Caledonian Thistle (03.03.2010)