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  1. So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye... by Russell Gordon Dave MacKinnon (Photo- The Scottish Sun) So, after twenty eventful months, Dave MacKinnon's tenure as Chief Executive of Morton is now coming to an end, somewhat acrimoniously some might say. After Warren Hawke's spell in office ended with the JJ/Charlie Telfer soap opera being played out in front of the national media on the day Falkirk were emptied into League One (stop laughing at the back, there), Crawford Rae looked towards his old friend; former Rangers and Arsenal defender, and ex-Dundee CEO MacKinnon to take the reins at Cappielow, to work with new first team manager David Hopkin. MacKinnon immediately went on a charm offensive- meeting and greeting fans at Galabank on the night of a 5-0 League Cup group stage win against Annan in what, looking back, would appear to have been an attempt to get the support onside. However, the cracks soon started to appear. Alarm bells started ringing when a group of fans were called in for a personal meeting with Hopkin regarding social media posts the day before Morton beat hapless Partick Thistle at Cappielow in August. This was followed up by a 0-5 rout in the Highlands and a 0-6 doing at champions-elect Dundee United, as Morton's deplorable away record became a major talking point. We eventually picked up our first away points nine games in in a Nicky Cadden-inspired win at Recreation Park just before Christmas. Social media was something he never got to grips with- after the meeting with disgruntled fans the club appeared to announce the signing of Kilmarnock defender, and former Scotland international Kirk Broadfoot on Twitter, before deleting the tweet, doubling down and announcing the loan signing of Jack Baird from St. Mirren, who instead re-signed their former defender. Off the pitch, things weren't great either, as news of employees breaking gambling rules arose. It turned out to be long-serving kitman Andy Bryan who was in the dock, along with physio Alyson Fielding. The case left a sour taste in a lot of mouths as many weren't convinced about the club's motives in outing their employees. Only those involved could of course give us a conclusive answer to that one, but what would be fair to say is that, after 45 years' service, Andy at least deserved to be told he was being relieved of his duties face to face, rather than by recorded delivery letter. Andy Bryan (Photo- gmfc.net) As 2019 ended and 2020 began, Morton's on the field form suddenly improved, but the calamity behind the scenes continued. Hopkin's team selection for the game at Arbroath in January raised a few eyebrows, and gained some less than complimentary assessments from some via Twitter. His team selection was vindicated as Morton ground out a scrappy 2-1 win, but the drama unfolded the following evening as the club announced they'd be blocking accounts "which we deem to not be in the best interest of the club, and in the spirit of constructive challenge and support". Fair enough if they're getting abused by all and sundry, but when those who were blocked identified themselves, there was very little evidence of any abuse, and it came across as MacKinnon throwing the baby out with the bathwater. MacKinnon then spent an awful lot of time meeting with fans trying to build bridges, as he should've done, but one wonders how much time and effort could've been saved by not entering into such mud-slinging with the support in the first place. This of course resulted in fans of many Scottish clubs declaring open season on Morton as the club became the Scottish game's laughing stock for a few weeks. (Photo- @RussellJAGordon, Twitter) Free tickets for away games became the norm for many as MacKinnon went on his latest charm offensive, but by advertising that, the many who didn't get on his wrong side were missing out instead of the few who did, which rankled with those who were previously unaware of the arrangement before MacKinnon made his philanthropy public. Form continued to improve along with fan relations as weekly updates started to appear on the club's socials, and MacKinnon brought in local Celtic fans Gerry McDade and Callum McFadden on a casual basis to engage with the support. All was going well- the team had pulled clear of the relegation zone with a string of impressive results, which peaked with a fine 4-0 mauling of Queen of the South at Palmerston. That was followed up by an unfortunate defeat in Inverness and a very fortunate draw at home to Arbroath before the season was curtailed by the Coronavirus pandemic. Morton were sat comfortably in 7th place in the table, with no realistic chance of the season continuing, so most fans eyes looked elsewhere in Scottish football as MacKinnon quite sensibly kept his counsel on the solution going forward, whilst many of his peers were losing their heads around him. The government furlough scheme proved a godsend for the club, with all but our erstwhile CEO put on the scheme as he ran a one man show for a few months. Other clubs however, decided to use the time productively by starting fundraising schemes amongst their fans and communities. Morton however, asked Callum McFadden, and his CFB Football platform (@FootballCFB on Twitter), to run the club's communications for free whilst the Media Assistant Ewan Boyle was furloughed. This move raised a few eyebrows as it was seen as an opportunistic move by Callum to manoeuvre himself into someone else's position. It created yet another divide between sections of the support and the club, and whilst Callum didn't eventually take on the role on a permanent basis, it was no surprise to see that Ewan was made redundant. Throughout lockdown, MacKinnon did to be fair have some positive moments, notably putting his odious Inverness Caledonian Thistle counterpart, Scott Gardiner, firmly in his box after his club jumped into bed with big brothers Rangers and Hearts when attempts to get a resolution for completing the season were being made. Gardiner appeared to want the leagues declared null and void, whilst also claiming the prize money for a second placed finish, which quite rightly irked MacKinnon. So, with the new season approaching, and an agreement reached to go with a shortened season starting in October, Morton went about assembling a squad for the new season and made arrangements for the unprecedented circumstances that awaited them. Gerry McDade took on the role of Public Relations Officer, which also entailed commentary duties for the now essential streaming service, along with club legend, all round good guy and patter merchant Andy Ritchie. Squad assembly wasn't without its problems, with defender Wallace Duffy, signed on loan from St. Johnstone, departing for Inverness on a permanent deal without kicking a ball. Rumours circulated that Duffy took a look at the place and immediately wanted out, but it turned out to be far more innocent than that, with Inverness offering him a contract which suited St. Johnstone and Morton playing ball. A large, 22 man squad was assembled, but was to prove extremely unbalanced, with a ridiculous number of mediocre attacking options and a solitary goalkeeper. We're an injury or a COVID case away from a disaster unless this is addressed. Anyway- off the pitch, how did the streaming go? The club were well warned that its website had form for crashing as soon as a statement was released, so would be unlikely to cope with the traffic that a match stream would attract. The first game against Queen of the South in the League Cup proved to be a disaster. Charged at a tenner a skull, it never got off the ground and was eventually transferred to YouTube and made free-to-air. This proved a costly oversight as the club was forced to refund everyone who had stumped up for their stream. The club did learn their lesson however, and there have been very few problems since, with the streams improving game by game, and the Gerry and Andy double act proving extremely popular not only with Morton fans, but fans of other clubs. On the park, things were much more pleasing on paper than they were on the eye, with Morton occupying a mid-table position despite playing some eye-bleeding football, but as ever, there was a bombshell around the corner. Hopkin resigned in early December after an insipid defeat by title favourites Hearts and a disagreement with the board over his squad heading into the transfer window. It was difficult to have any sympathy for the manager given that he hadn't even signed a reserve goalkeeper as part of his relatively large squad, but as the dirty washing was being aired in public, MacKinnon was nowhere to be seen. What appeared to be the final nail in MacKinnon's coffin was when a story appeared in the Telegraph this month about a document threatening to discredit Chairman Crawford Rae and the incoming MCT fans group. Many believed MacKinnon to be responsible for this and from there on, his departure was inevitable. He, of course refused to comment given the nature of the allegations and the police involvement. The police soon established no criminality before his departure was announced this morning. The news was met with approval from most, with the notable exception of @Cappiefan1 on Twitter, who has increasingly come across as an account ran by MacKinnon himself. After Gillian Donaldson and Warren Hawke, MacKinnon proved to be the latest disappointing CEO to pass through Cappielow's gates, and after early indications of transparency, it was telling that he disappeared under his rock as soon as the proverbial hit the fan. It's important to remember that he was hamstrung by the Chairman's tightening of the purse strings, but he handled the pandemic dreadfully, acting as a Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none over the summer, creating unnecessary issues with an already disillusioned and untrusting support that didn't need to be made, wasting time pandering to Hearts fans who blamed Morton for not looking out for their interests and guiding the club from one embarrassing episode to another. In an eventful 20 months at a club that is no stranger to controversy, chaos and infighting, MacKinnon's time at the club saw him manage to ramp it up and take Morton to a new level on that front. Sadly, that's the only new level he managed to take us to. He won't be missed.
    15 points
  2. (Photo- Gary Bradley) Jim McAlister- A Tribute by Russell Gordon After penning my thoughts on the erstwhile Morton Chief Executive Dave MacKinnon's departure on Thursday I had hoped that one day I'd be able to write more fondly of someone departing Morton for pastures new. I didn't expect to be doing so only a few of days later, though. Whilst there remains a number of questions to be answered in relation to the shock announcement, those questions are for another day. After 342 starts, 19 substitute appearances, 23 goals, 8 yellow cards and 1 red card, the curtain came down on the career of one of Morton's modern day greats. I won't pretend to recall an awful lot of the fresh faced 17 year old's contribution on his maiden appearance at Cappielow (as a player at least, the Scotsport cameras caught him at the age of 10 supporting the 'Ton against Dundee United in that heart breaking final day showdown in 1996) but his early days saw the predominantly right footed McAlister operate as a left winger. He went on to make two starts in turgid 0-0 draws at Borough Briggs and Links Park, and a further four substitute appearances that season, unfortunately not registering enough appearances to pick up a medal as Morton won the Third Division title. The following season, Jim perhaps mercifully made only one start and had a splattering of substitute appearances as Morton's promotion bid collapsed after holding what seemed an unassailable lead at Christmas time. It might be worth noting that his only start was against Stenhousemuir, in one of the very few games Morton actually won in the second half of that season. It was only a matter of time before Jim did establish himself in the first team though- and once he did, he was extremely difficult to dislodge, barely missing a game over the next six years. That period of course saw its ups and downs, from the play off failure at Peterhead, through getting his hands on a Second Division Championship medal and establishing Morton back in the First Division after that extended spell in the lower leagues that had been inflicted on the club. Whilst his 5 goals en route to winning the title in 2006-07 were all significant, with four of them coming in wins by the odd goal, it was his contribution to Paul McGowan's clinching third goal in the 3-1 Scottish Cup win over SPL Kilmarnock that was the real standout moment of the season for me. After missing only one league game in his three seasons in Morton's first team in the Second Division, he only missed one in the following two in the First Division- suspended for a 1-3 defeat at McDiarmid Park, as St. Johnstone celebrated their return to Scotland's top tier. Unfortunately, Morton's overdue return to the promised land looked like a forlorn hope, so as he entered the final year of his contract, Jim's eyes naturally looked elsewhere. He attracted an unlikely admirer in Dan Petrescu, former Romanian international, and manager of his homeland's champions at the time, Unirea Urziceni; after impressing in a 1-3 pre-season friendly defeat by a team that would go on to compete in the Champions League, and make light work of Rangers in the process, that season. Whilst he played a trial game, nothing came of it and more local suitors began to keep tabs on him, notably Motherwell, our friends from Paisley and Malky McKay's English Championship Watford. His final season of his first spell at Cappielow was to prove a toil though, as Morton struggled around the foot of the table. Jim's remarkably consistent run of appearances was brought to an abrupt halt when he broke his foot in a 3-3 draw against Queen of the South towards the end of the season, in what turned out to be the last time he turned out for Morton for over 8 years. It shouldn't be forgotten however that he did make a telling contribution, with his only goal coming in the final minute of a game against Partick Thistle at Cappielow as we were approaching the business end of the season. This was of course back in the days when the Maryhill Minnows managed to occupy a place in the upper two divisions of the Scottish game- changed days! When the time came to move onto pastures new, it was SPL Hamilton that won his signature, but an indifferent 2 years at Accies saw them relegated in his first season and fail to make an immediate return to the top flight in his second. He did however manage a red card against Celtic for "leaving the boot in on a prostrate (Mark) Wilson", according to the Daily Mail's match report at the time, so good on him. In the summer of 2012, it was onwards to Dens Park, and the disappointment of another relegation followed as a Dundee side that were ill-equipped for the SPL after their short notice promotion due to the implosion of Rangers struggled to make an impact. He did get on the scoresheet for the Dees in a 5-1 Scottish Cup win against his former employers, choosing not to celebrate. In a three year stay on Tayside, he won a Championship winners' medal in our season of shame of 2013-14 and enjoyed a top six finish the following year, whilst Dundee United striker Nadir Cifci allegedly enjoyed a piece of Jim's leg, as they were caught up in a biting incident in a late season Tayside derby. The next step in his career was to Blackpool, a club not without its problems and falling through the EFL. In Jim's first season, they were to endure relegation to League Two as the Karl Oysten roadshow worked to full effect. But promotion was secured the following year though the play offs, in a sparse Wembley as Blackpool's fans gave their gala occasion the short shrift in protest of Oysten's shenanigans. Another absentee (from the team at least) was Jim though, who had broken his leg earlier in the season. Jim's Blackpool days (Photo- blackpoolfc.co.uk) After only two appearances the following season, it was time to come home and Jim joined Raymond's Revolution at Cappielow along with fellow veteran Chris Millar. By now operating as a central midfielder, he had an up and down first season as Morton struggled for the most part before rallying and finishing comfortably in fifth place in the table. One of the main reasons for the club's excellent late season form was the club captain's performances in an unnatural central defensive position at a time he was needed most to provide a bit of stability to what had previously been a shaky backline. Having not remembered seeing him in that position before, I'd go as far as to say he was the club's best centre back that season. He did also manage a crack at management on the final day, leading Morton to a 1-0 win over Dundee United, after Jonatan Johansson stormed out after a boardroom altercation with the chairman. There can't be too many guys with a 100% record in charge of Morton! Jim takes charge of Morton for the only time in the 1-0 2019 win over Dundee United (Photo- gmfc.net) Last season's curtailed campaign saw a headed goal in each of our home games against Dunfermline, the first being a late, late equaliser and one against Dundee in a 1-1 home draw. And Dunfermline were to be his final victims- his last goal coming in the recent 2-1 victory at East End Park, but not before he was ordered off for the first time in a Morton jersey, for a dangerous first half tackle in the 0-5 doing in Kirkcaldy, a month previous. Jim's final strike in a Morton jersey, in the recent 2-1 win at East End Park (Photo- dafc.net) In recent weeks, he's assisted Caretaker Manager Anton McElhone along with Millar and Brian McLean whilst also contributing on the pitch, until now, sadly. And let's not kid ourselves, it will be a massive gap that he leaves, on the pitch and off. I'm at pains to label someone from the modern era as a legend at Morton, given that we're living through our longest sustained period of mediocrity in what is now approaching 150 years of history. But that shouldn't detract from the individual achievements of some. Whilst many of his peers' careers fell by the wayside, some fell down the leagues, some went junior, and some went out of football, it's testament to the dedication he had to his profession to have made so many consecutive appearances for Morton, and to have made the 7th most ever in spite of 8 years away will ensure that he has his own place in Morton's history. Most new revelations to come from Cappielow this season have been met with anger, but the reaction to this has mostly been sadness, which is quite telling about the esteem he is held in and the affection his teammates and the fans have for him. Thanks for the memories, Jim. Morton will certainly be poorer for your exit.
    14 points
  3. Couple of points there in bold. 1) You really think Morton can't get 500 fans through the gate - admittedly following distanced protocols - to try to overturn a 2-0 deficit? 2) I don't care and nor should any regular paying customer off the street. If the club is selling tickets there shouldn't be someone outside going on about what a favor they're doing them. It's just a bad look. If it's a concern for the medium-term viability of the club to keep doing this indefinitely, then that's definitely a discussion to be had among the Board and, if needed, the MCT membership. But to say so - not particularly quietly - outside the ground when people are queuing up is just the same old pathetic Morton hard-luck story. The punters in that queue, I know for a fact that at least two of them had took time off work to be there. Don't act like you're doing them a fucking favor by putting on a game. If it costs you money to put the game on, make a decision whether or not the game's going to be open to fans and then commit to it and do it without complaint. Don't put the game on then whine about it, it's absolutely pathetic and it is utterly contemptuous of the fans. I couldn't give a fuck if the guy founded the club itself, much less MCT, he needs to learn when to keep it zipped. The correct answer to your question would be: "We've obviously done all the sums and it's quite a challenge to get this game going ahead, but as a club we've been eager to welcome the fans back for months and we're just delighted to have you back, even if it's just a few hundred. So our first priority wasn't to maximize sales; rather it was to get fans back through the turnstiles and to see how we can handle these ground restrictions going forward. We'll see how it goes on Friday and hope to have even more supporters back soon, government guidelines permitting." That's an answer that's 100% truthful, acknowledges the difficulties, but doesn't blame the fans for having the temerity to want to go to a game and cost the club so much money.
    13 points
  4. Kafka's head would be spinning at this. You're arguing that these proposals are designed to 'shield the stadium from creditors' when they consist of either the stadium being used as security for a debt to a creditor, or just directly giving the stadium to a creditor. Why are you utterly convinced that Golden Casket only have good intentions towards the club and can be viewed as a neutral or even benevolent third party protecting us from malicious ones? They are the creditor that the stadium needs to be shielded from.
    13 points
  5. To answer Piehutt’s point about my labelling of Gordon Ritchie as arrogant, I’m not going to kid on I’m not privy to the odd wee titbit of information from mates, but it’s up to them to share it with the wider public if they feel the need to. That said, I’ve already alluded on this thread to what I believe to be his quite appalling treatment of Christopher Dodds at Montrose in May, when he apparently threatened to withdraw all his media privileges as a result of Christopher’s criticisms of Captain Calamity Sean McGinty the previous week. On a number of levels, this is just wrong. There’s been a big story about Rangers charging the media £25,000 a season for access and how this is their way of controlling negative output. I fail to see a difference here, other than scale. Do we really want to see the Tele being forced into avoiding criticism for fear of being banned? I’m sorry, but unlike the Rangers support, who seem to see criticism as a personal slight, rather than necessary on occasion, I want to see my club taken to task when things go wrong. It also begs the question as to whether Roger Graham or Jonathan Mitchell, two experienced journalists who had built up a bit of currency in their roles would have been treated in such a way. If not, I’d suggest this behaviour is tantamount to the bullying of a young boy at the early stages of his career, and is quite frankly shameful. I didn’t like a lot of things that the Raes did in their twenty years at the helm, and made my opinions known at the time. But ultimately, it was their club and if I wasn’t happy, nobody was forcing me to support the club. A fan owned club though, should in my opinion hold itself to higher standards as they are responsible to every one of their members and supporters- the people whose money has put them in the position they occupy. I was a bit late to the party when joining MCT as I initially had my misgivings, but I certainly don’t recall being asked to vote for Gordon Ritchie. Others may have been, before I joined up, but in the spirit of democracy, I’d urge everyone to ensure he’s not given another spell in office at either MCT or Morton themselves.
    12 points
  6. Here we are a couple of days later and the Forum is full of praise for the way the club acted in the transfer market, and how the club's staff announced the signings. It's almost as if, and this is just a hunch here, supporters criticise the club when they don't like what's happening, and praise the club when they do like what's happening. You know, like every other set of football fans do. But don't let that minor detail stop you from some good old fashioned Helen Lovejoy-esque faux outrage.
    12 points
  7. Cadden scores hat-trick for Forest Green but best of all Bombscare McGintys' og fucks up Hopkins weekend.
    12 points
  8. I think you're being a bit too proud for your own good there, to be honest. The rules are strong, and are very general so look especially strong when you're out in the open like in the WDE, but what choice does the club have but to enforce them? The club would be silly to be shown to openly allow fans not to follow the rules, especially in the first game back with fans. I have to wear a mask every day when I do the school runs. It's completely unnecessary, I don't come anywhere near anyone else most of the time, but who cares? It's no skin off my nose. I could make a stand on principle, but it's not going to make me any happier or change anything. I mean, fair enough, it's your choice. If that's what brings you contentment, then I get why you'd stand by that. And stewards can often by overeager and less than sensitive, so it's easy to get annoyed. But I wouldn't let that get in the way of enjoying a rare recent Morton moment to be enjoyed - that's me, not you, I suppose.
    12 points
  9. Before getting into the lengthy wrongs and wrongs of this on GC's part, on a simple matter of fact, why are they talking about £2M being the figure of debt? As I understood it the debt was £2.5M when MCT first entered into the agreement for a 15% stake, we've since had £1M of debt written off, and each time a further £100K is delivered a further £500K will be written off? Either £1M of debt was never written off, in which case we were lied to, or it was but the club has somehow been run at such a colossal loss (with GC covering the shortfall) over the time since MCT first made the debt cancellation agreement that the debt has stood still. In essence, we're being asked to believe the club has made a loss of half of million pounds since June 2019. Having also been handed that same sum in taxpayer's money for free in the last two months, in practical terms that's saying we've been operating at a one million pound loss in a little over 18 months. Unless Hopkin actually had the biggest budget since McInally was in charge or something, how the fuck could that have happened? We've all been over the very few pros and very many cons of Option 1 before. Once the stadium is out of the hands of the club then, unless it was some sort of legally watertight let to buy arrangement where after X number of years and/or Y number of pounds the stadium passes to the club, we're never getting it back. With Option 2, at least the stadium is remaining in the club's hands rather than directly disappearing with the asset strippers. They could dig their heels in and refuse to give the stadium back forever no matter how much money is dangled in front of them, they can’t do that if we ever managed to raise the money to pay off the debt. The problem is that the debt is a realistically unpayable amount and hangs over us anyway just as having no assets would hang over us, while without any expertise I imagine it's a hell of a lot more difficult to get some kind of agreement that binds GC to never fucking GMFC over when it comes to a debt than it is with a lease agreement. You could feasibly lock in 99 years or something of a peppercorn rent, can you do that with no one calling a debt in? With a security over Cappielow guaranteeing that debt, we ultimately find ourselves at risk of the stadium ending up back in their hands anyway. They are effectively valuing the stadium alone at £2 million. We're eating the same shit sandwich of having no real security whatsoever while being at the mercy of people who've never shown any sign of having the club's best interests at heart. They are actively trying to hand the club over in a worse position than it was in on day one of their ownership 20 years ago. Which brings us to the faith Golden Casket are negotiating in here. While it's not ideal and they'd be seriously pushing their luck with it, if it came to it I could just about bring myself to tolerate a deal that sees them take the car park. I want that to stay with the club as well and think they have no right to waltz off with any assets, but if they're determined to play hardball then grudgingly allowing them that one asset is a trade off that could be worth making in return for a debt free club with full ownership of the stadium itself. Their idea of a compromise over Cappielow though? Okay, have the stadium but in return you still owe us the full amount of debt, which is somehow still over £2M despite us having supposedly cancelled £1M. Oh and we're still doing a runner with this other asset as well. That's absolutely outrageous and there's no doubt they know it. They are utterly shameless, you couldn't mark their necks with a blowtorch. They'll be extremely relieved that fans aren't allowed just now, this is well past the point where they'd be met with a smattering of discontented sack the board chants from the Cowshed. Their own reprehensible conduct has taken things well past that point and they know it. They should be hounded out of this club with nothing.
    12 points
  10. Well this statement is not ageing particularly well, given that in spite of receiving a £500k taxpayer's grant for literally fuck-all, the current custodians of GMFC have in the following six weeks: - not replaced the manager - not replaced the overall coaching staff like for like - not replaced the goalkeeper coach - not signed a backup goalkeeper - not signed any cunt else - now have a vacant chief executive post All in all, GMFC have now achieved the six staff cuts that they were looking for in January. So what specifically makes this 'run a stupid wee barebones outfit until we strip the assets' exercise incomparable to Hugh Scott's tenure?
    12 points
  11. He hasn’t, he’s moved to Dundee.
    12 points
  12. (Photo- www.tellhimhespele.com) The Flying Finns by Russell Gordon Tuesday's deadline day drama certainly had us all glued to our phones, in what was perhaps the most exciting day of positive movement in and out of Cappielow since the inception of the windows, around a generation ago. Even when Douglas Rae opened the purse strings in the January of 2015 to bolster our promotion charge with the signings of Peter MacDonald, Ross Forbes and the re-signing of Declan McManus, our enthusiasm was tempered by the farcical nature of Michael Tidser's arrival in spite of his ineligibility to actually play until the following season. But with the arrival of Finland Under 21 international Jaako Oksanen on loan from Brentford, it was only natural that those of us of a certain vintage looked back fondly to Nordic influxes of days gone by. I wouldn't be doing them justice to attempt to write about the Great Danes of the 1960s, such as Kai Johansen, Carl Bertlesen, Borge Thorup, Jorn Sorenson, Preben Arentoft and the man in black, Erik Sorenson; but my memory does stretch back to the arrival of Finland internationals Janne Lindberg and Marko Rajamaki in the autumn of 1994. We were first exposed to Janne a month before his arrival at Cappielow when he played for Finland in their opening Euro '96 qualifier against Scotland, inadvertently assisting John Collins' goal as his clearing header fell nicely on the Scotland midfielder's left foot, for him volley the national team into a 2-0 lead in Helsinki, a result Scotland would hold onto as they started what would become a successful qualifying campaign. One of world football's most iconic figures of the 1990s... tussles with French midfielder Didier Deschamps. (Photo-Getty Images) The autumn of 1994 wasn't a happy time at Cappielow. The club had been relegated to the Second Division for the first time in their history, amidst a season-long injury crisis the previous year, and league reconstruction that saw Morton being amongst five clubs relegated from the First Division. A stuttering start to the campaign in '94 did little to suggest that Morton would be pushing for a speedy return to the First Division though, only for them to turn up at Shielfield Park in Berwick with two trialists from Finnish club MyPa47 in the ranks. The result on the day wasn't to be a positive one, as Morton fell to their third league defeat in a row, 1-2 to the hosts having previously fallen 0-1 to Clyde at Cappielow, and suffered a 0-3 hosing at Palmerston Park. But it didn't take Allan McGraw and the board long to decide to take the plunge on Janne and Marko, and a fee of £250,000 found its way to Kouvola, unthinkable for Morton in these times. The signings of the Finns were by no means a quick fix, as results remained inconsistent towards the festive period. Whilst over a quarter of a century has passed, and my memory could be playing tricks on me, the Scottish Cup tie against Kilmarnock in my mind proved to be the turning point of the season, against what was a very good Premier Division team at the time. My standout memories from the 0-0 draw at Rugby Park in late January were Stephen McCahill's header narrowly clearing Dragoje Lekovic's crossbar to deny us a shock win, and the imperious performance on Janne on the day. Alas, Morton were to suffer a narrow extra time replay defeat by the Ayrshire men at a bouncing Cappielow, but kicked on from there, with three wins in February, including an absolutely crucial 1-0 win over Stenhousemuir, only a week after their incredible Scottish Cup slaying of Aberdeen; courtesy of a goal and fantastic performance from Marko. But Morton being Morton, it was never going to be that easy, and a sticky patch in March kept things interesting in what was to be a four-way battle for promotion between ourselves, Dumbarton, Stirling and Stenny. Things were to come good the following month though with crucial wins against East Fife and Clyde, before a memorable 4-3 win on their return trip over the border set up what was effectively a title decider against Dumbarton. Of course, it was all to end joyously, as Marko's incredible goal put the icing on the most delicious of cakes, and we retook our place in the second tier at the first time of asking, bagging a nice little silver pot in the process. Derek McInnes was to win the Player of the Year award, but it would be foolish not to acknowledge the contribution of our two imports. Whether Morton would've been in the promotion race without them is seriously doubtful. A couple of awestruck admirers watch on as Janne launches a Morton attack at Ibrox in 1995. (Photo- Chris McNulty) What wasn't in doubt though, was that Morton with their two Finnish stars were a force to be reckoned with, as they took the following season by storm, with Janne, Derek McInnes and Alan Mahood pulling the strings in midfield and Marko providing a flair on the wing that is still spoken about in glowing terms even now. Whilst there were a number of great performances and results that season, particularly early on, it was on Morton's visit to St. Mirren in late September that Marko perhaps produced his finest performance in a Morton shirt, as he absolutely tormented the Saints defence in a 4-1 win, cementing his place not only in the hearts of the Morton support, but as a hate-figure amongst the Buddies faithful. What a man. Of course, that incredibly exciting team was to come up just short, owing in no small part to the departure of Derek McInnes to Rangers and the season-ending injuries to Janne and Alan Mahood. Marko was to continue to do his bit to drag us through, with vital goals in the run in against Hamilton, both home and away and an admittedly howling miss in the vital 1-0 win at home to fellow promotion hopefuls St. Johnstone. He was of course to equalise in the final day showdown against Dundee United, but Morton were left to rue their misfortune and look forward to the following season. Marko leads the charge in a 3-0 win against Clydebank at Cappielow, on the opening day of the 1996-97 season. (Photo- Chris McNulty) The 1996-97 campaign was to prove both players' final season at the club, and was an anti-climax for us all, as a much-fancied Morton failed to live up to expectations, finishing the season in eighth place, comfortably clear of relegation, but miles away from a promotion play off place, never mind runaway champions St. Johnstone. There were to be highlights, however- Marko's early season winner against Falkirk was delightful, as winners against Falkirk tend to be, and there was the incredible League Cup tie against Aberdeen which ended in a 3-7 defeat, with Morton coming from 0-2 down with 15 minutes of normal time remaining to lead 3-2 going into the last minute, only to suffer another hard-luck story. In truth, with promotion becoming a more remote prospect as the season progressed, McGraw put all his eggs into the Scottish Cup basket, with a fine replay win against Dundee setting up a quarter final with Kilmarnock at a near capacity Cappielow. There was to be no hard-luck story to this cup defeat though, as Morton were resoundingly trounced 2-5 by Killie, in spite of a brief second half fightback. As the season petered out, and the players' contacts ran down, their departures became inevitable and a really thrilling, but oh so brief chapter in Morton's history was to reach its conclusion, to be succeeded by the Scott era, which I'm sure is an article or two for another day. Janne was to go onto pastures new in Germany with FC Saarbrucken before finishing his career back at MyPa47 and embarking on a career in coaching in his homeland, whist Marko was to enjoy brief stints at Hamilton and Livingston, even playing against Morton for the Accies, also finishing his career in his native Finland, with TPS Turku and enjoying a successful coaching career. Both have returned in the intervening years to visit, Marko turning out in a testimonial in 2006 as well as attending a game against Hamilton in 2012 and receiving a rapturous reception. To my knowledge, Janne hasn't made a match on his return, but his daughter Nanne has been a vocal supporter of the club through her social media accounts, so it would be rude not to give her devotion to the cause a mention! Since their departure, we've seen Jani Uotinen flying the flag and collecting a Third Division winners' medal in 2002-03 for his troubles and Jonatan Johansson's fast flowing, easy on the eye (or something like that) brand of football help us secure safety in the rollercoaster 2018-19 season. Let's be honest though, Morton fans love a signing from that part of the world, and will surely take to Jaako. No pressure, but there are some pretty big shoes needing filled, young man! Thanks to Jonathan Mitchell for his contribution into the research for this piece and to Chris McNulty for his help with archive photographs.
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  13. Ordered an Uber today and my driver was none other than Andy McLaren. Good to see him looking happy and healthy.
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  14. No, you're still free to post in the forum.
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  15. I was looking forward to finding out how the club could manage to make things the big bad Morton fans fault when none of us are even allowed in the fucking ground, but I see we've made it there after two league games. Sterling work.
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  16. (Photo- Gary Bradley) Never In Doubt. A Review of Morton's 2020-21 season, Part Three. By Russell Gordon. Montrose away it was then, after it had looked like Morton were going to be forced into renewing hostilities with old pals, Falkirk. On paper an easier tie, but given Falkirk's spectacular (not to mention hilarious) collapse, that possibly wasn't the case. Morton made their second trip in just over a week up to Angus and could have been forgiven for having a bit of trepidation about what lay ahead. With Cove Rangers playing Airdrieonians in the other tie about 40 miles up the road, Morton were seen by the bookies as the favourites to come through the play-offs. You'd have been doing a well to find a Morton fan who shared their optimism, but how often do you see a poor bookmaker? Things couldn't have got off to a better start- within five minutes of the kick off, Aidan Nesbitt won the ball in the middle of midfield and prodded it forward to Kalvin Orsi, who squared for Gary Oliver to finish at keeper Allan Fleming's near post to give us a lead and settle the nerves. All this panic was much ado about nothing, then. Not a bit of it. Morton, as had happened so often this season, retreated into their shell and allowed their hosts to impose themselves on the game to such an extent that the half time whistle was a relief when the referee blew. But the relief was to prove short lived, as 12 minutes into the second half, the hosts' pressure finally paid off- and from a defensive point of view it was a howler. Markus Fjortoft's slip allowed Gable Endies' striker Russell McLean in and the Norwegian was also slow off the mark to close down the big forward after his initial effort was blocked by Brian McLean. The second attempt was curled into the far post past a diving Aidan McAdams to level the scores. And 20 minutes later, Montrose completed the turnaround, as Graham Webster got onto the end of a fine move to give them a lead at the halfway point in the tie. Whilst the performance was atrocious, Morton could take comfort in the narrow deficit going into the second leg at Cappielow three days later. To say that Gus McPherson shuffled the pack for the second leg would be the understatement of the season, with Chris Millar and the two Cammys- Blues and Salkeld, coming in from the cold for Morton's biggest match of the campaign. The changes were to prove pivotal, with Millar's magnificent performance in an unfamiliar right back position proving a real highlight on a nervy night at Cappielow. But for a while it didn't look like Morton would be in too much bother as they came flying out the traps immediately- again it was a fifth minute strike from Oliver that started us off, levelling the tie and handing Morton the momentum. Salkeld made it two from close range in the twentieth minute and by this point, the Ton could've been forgiven for thinking they were on easy street- but again, Mclean levelled the tie 10 minutes before the break, his strike eventually taking the tie to extra time. But as the game wore on, and into extra time, Morton's superior fitness began to tell as the part timers visibly tired. The introduction of Luca Colville, Nesbitt and Craig McGuffie gave us a greater attacking impetus as we began to pin Montrose further and further back, with penalties appearing to be their best option. Morton were spared a sixth shoot-out of the season in the nick of time though, and it was due to a piece of luck genius from substitute McGuffie. The ex-Ayr winger nutmegged Montrose forward Craig Johnston on the left-hand side and advanced towards goal, but with everyone inside the box expecting a cross, he clipped the ball over 'keeper Fleming's head and into the net at his far post. Oh, to have been in the Cowshed for that moment. Morton were through to the final after a hell of a scare, but there was to be plenty of drama in the other semi-final, too. Craig McGuffie's wonder strike sent Morton into the Play-Off Final in the most dramatic of fashions. (Photo- Gary Bradley) After a 1-1 stalemate in Aberdeen, Cove looked to have advanced to the final when Rory McAllister put the visitors 2-1 up at New Broomfield in the second minute of stoppage time. But Jack McKay took them to extra time a couple of minutes later (more of 94th minute goals in deepest, darkest Monklands to come) to change the course of the tie. Callum Gallagher settled it in the second period of extra time to take the Diamonds into a winner-takes-all double header with Morton. There's always a bit of needle attached to a game with Airdrie of course, but to add to the excitement, after 14 months locked out, both clubs were allowed 500 fans into their home legs. The scramble began- with around 460 season ticket holders, briefs were to be at a premium for the second leg, with no away fans allowed. Even with so few tickets left on sale though, Morton still managed to throw a couple of administrative errors into the mix, because, well, they're Morton, so where's the fun in doing things properly? The original batch were sold to season ticket holders in spite of not having been printed, and when it came to the public sale of the few leftovers, the advertised time of sale was put back before reverting again to the original time slot after folk who had swapped shifts rightly kicked up a stink. On a positive note though, the club did manage to get permission for another 100 to be seated in the Wee Dublin End. There was to be the return of some well-kent faces as 600 fans were allowed to attend the second leg of the Play-Off Final. (Photo- Gary Bradley) But the ticket sales were the least of Morton's worries. After not missing a minute of the season, Aidan McAdams finally succumbed to a hamstring injury, ruling him out of both legs of the final. With no fit senior keeper on the books, McPherson turned to Motherwell's Scott Fox, who came in on an emergency loan. To add to those woes, Kyle Jacobs' season came to an end in the first half when he fell awkwardly and had to be replaced by Reece Lyon. Even with these blows though, Airdrie weren't causing any real concerns to Morton, with the best chance of the half falling to Cammy Salkeld, who headed wide from close range. The Diamonds had one chance of note in the second half, McKay volleying wide from a corner. But as the game wore on, Morton began to turn the screw, and again the introduction of Nesbitt saw an added impetus to their play. Lyon was unlucky to strike the inside of Max Currie's post a few minutes from time, but it was deep into injury time that the breakthrough finally arrived. From a needlessly conceded corner, Blues played the ball short to Brain McLean. The captain clipped the ball into the box where Robbie Muirhead took advantage of a lapse in concentration in the home side's camp to give Morton a priceless winner. All of a sudden, after a season from hell, we were ninety minutes away from survival. Lyon might even have made it two before the final whistle were it not for a fine stop from the Airdrie custodian. Robbie Muirhead's late winner at Airdire secured a vital lead going into the second leg of the fianl at Cappielow. (Photo- Gary Bradley) Scottish football's biggest crowd of the season rolled up at Cappielow for the second leg, and whilst that might not quite be as big a boast as it would appear under normal circumstances, the excitement and anticipation was palpable. And what a treat Morton served up. Without having to chase the game, they played with a freedom that had been missing all season, and the tie was effectively over in the twelfth minute. Muirhead added to his first leg goal with a volley that will go down in the memory of a generation of fans the way Ritchie's goal against Aberdeen in 1981 and Templeman's against Kilmarnock in 2007 have. The crowd were in raptures and Morton sought to turn the screw, narrowly failing to increase their lead on a number of occasions before Oliver converted from close range after McGinn's effort had struck Currie's crossbar. There was to be no hiding place for Airdrie as their hopes of a return to the second tier after an eight-year sabbatical were to prove just too much of an ask. Nesbitt should've made it three from close range in the second half before Muirhead did put the cherry on the cake. As the final whistle went, the 600 inside the ground and the boisterous crowd on the car park celebrated like we'd actually won something. For a first trip back to the football in over a year, it couldn't have gone better- Morton were safe, and after a season of catastrophe, shooting themselves in the foot and being treated by our peers as a joke club, we'd come out it at the other end. Gary Oliver leads the celebrations after making it 2-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate to assure Morton of Championship football for another season. (Photo- Gary Bradley) But how do we conclude reviewing season 2020-21? Who were the heroes and the villains? Where do we go from here? For such a terrible season to end so spectacularly, we should of course be careful not to think that all is rosy in the world. This was a poorly assembled squad which did just enough to preserve their Championship status, and is already being dismantled by the man who assembled it, as he looks to get the gang back together down the coast. Gus McPherson staying on for another two years hasn't exactly got the juices flowing for everyone, but looking at the list of his most recent predecessors, I wouldn't be too upset about his appointment. There can surely be no complaints about the re-signing of Kyle Jacobs, who all the rumour-mongers had going to slum it in League One with Nesbitt at Falkirk; and McLean, who, in spite of his advancing years, had a good season for Morton last term. Credit has to go to the players for pulling Morton through what was an extremely difficult season though- a squad that was hamstrung every step of the way by a disinterested chairman, self-absorbed manager who made an absolute mess of his recruitment and a Chief Executive who couldn't organise a menage. Many of them were extremely limited, shouldn't have and won't ever play at such a high level again. Some of course, deserve more credit than others- when losing your captain for the play-offs is seen as a boost it tells you all you need to know about said captain. Not appointing a manager for three months and allowing McAlister to leave mid-contract were scandalous decisions, and indicative of just how little regard the chairman had for the club as we started to circle the drain. A more cynical man than myself might suggest that they were acts that looked to sabotage the club's Championship status. I'd prefer to consider them as mere a stupidity, based on a complacency in the boardroom as the arrivals of Messrs McPherson, Millen and McGinn sought to redress that initital folly, and eventually saved our bacon. A special mention has to go to Anton McElhone, who in spite of not being a qualified manager, and having no interest in being one, took the reins through that very difficult period and actually had the best record across regular league games of the three who took charge. Lang may yer lum reek, Anton! What is absolutely certain is that money is sure to be tight this year as well, so the same mistakes as last term cannot be made this time around. MCT have had a couple of directors in the inner sanctum of Cappielow for a while now- here's hoping they've taken onboard how not to run a football club.
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  17. (Photo- The Scotsman) MorTEN- Whatever Happened To the Likely Lads? by Russell Gordon Saturday sees Morton return to New Douglas Park, Hamilton on league duty for the first time in over seven years, with only a surprise, Ross Forbes-inspired Betfred Cup victory en route to a Hampden semi-final in 2016 since that previous visit. Never a happy hunting ground since it opened in 2001, with only a late Alex Williams winner in the 2003-04 collapse season, a victory on Valentine's Day 2012 that was somewhat overshadowed by other events in Scottish football that day, and a couple of draws to show for our troubles in South Lanarkshire. Added to that, our return visit in 2003-04 resulted in a 6-1 hammering as Hamilton hacked away at our lead before pipping us to the post for promotion on the final day. Another unhappy memory was the injustice of Chris Templeman's last minute equaliser in 2007 being overturned as the players lined up to restart the game when hapless linesman Ross Haswell convinced referee Craig Thompson to overturn the award of the goal under pressure from the Accies players, a decision that still rankles to this day with some (me, at least). Scene Setter But, for all those horror stories, nothing would compare to the abject misery, shame and embarrassment that befell Morton on the 3rd of May 2014, a day that would leave an indelible scar on the by then 140 year history of Morton. With Accies pushing for the title against their already relegated visitors, surprisingly enough, the travelling fans looked forward to the match with a degree of optimism. A victory against Hamilton's main challengers Dundee, and a draw with play-offs bound Falkirk, both at Cappielow on the previous two Saturdays, suggested that whilst the season from hell could not just be laughed off, there was reason to believe that Kenny Shiels was capable of turning Morton around in League One the following season. Whilst Accies needed to win by eight clear goals, they also required a favour from their conquerors of the penultimate weekend, Dumbarton. Having been on the wrong end of a 4-1 trouncing at The Rock, they'd given up pole position to the Dens Park side- who, the previous week thought they'd blown their chance in losing at Cappielow. All these circumstances combined to create the perfect storm, as a team that was already looking forward to their holidays and going through the motions faced up to a team that simply couldn't afford to take the foot off the gas. 2-0 down after 8 minutes, we were fighting a losing battle from the off, as Tony Andreu bagged a first half hat trick, with the only moment of respite being a stunning Dougie Imrie strike which reduced the arrears as Morton headed in facing a 5-1 deficit at the break. What was said in the away dressing room in that period is up for debate, but there have been a number of stories since that day of some very harsh words being spoken and perhaps a few fists flying. A brief point in the afternoon that the ball wasn't nestling in Nicolas Caraux's net. (Photo- Russell Gordon) The second half of course wasn't to get any better as the goals kept coming. Before taking up where they left off, Hamilton conceded a penalty as former 'Ton custodian Kevin Cuthbert felled Hamilton-bound Imrie in the box. Incredibly, the only Morton player to come out of the game with any sort of credit wasn't entrusted with the responsibility of taking the spot kick, and Rowan Vine's pathetic effort was comfortably stopped by Cuthbert. Sixth and seventh goals duly arrived before Imrie again got himself on the scoresheet, but the last 15 minutes were to really put Morton's name in the history books for all the wrong reasons, as Mikael Antoine-Curier added his final couple of strikes to help himself to a second half hat trick and a total of four for the day either side of an own goal from Stuart Findlay. It was to be a bittersweet afternoon for Hamilton however, as Dundee did enough to get over the line, but it was only to delay their joy, as they disposed of Falkirk before their dramatic victory that took them up at the expense of Hibs, only suffering relegation this summer. Of course though, such an unprecedented result in a match between two clubs of such similar stature was to result in conspiracy theories, allegations of corruption and finger pointing, particularly from Tayside. As we all know too well, this isn't the first time such allegations have been thrown at Morton, and Dundonians were quick to point to Morton's very good performance in beating the Dees only a fortnight previous. I'm more inclined to believe it was a concoction of circumstances that all came together, and would argue that had Dundee United needed to do similar when they took six off Morton in 2019, they would've done so without thinking twice. They didn't need to, whilst Hamilton did, hence you don't often see results such as this in games that don't involve Fort William. What was particularly galling to see was Morton players suited and booted, and enjoying themselves less than half a mile away from the scene of the crime at Hamilton Racecourse the following day on their various social media accounts. Footballers of course deserve their social lives, but having watched such an inept performance that we're still reminded about to this day, and will be continue to be reminded about for years to come, wasn't pleasant. So, what happened to the players from that day? Kenny Shiels (Manager) Shiels actually attended a meeting with supporters the evening before that defeat, outlining his plans for an immediate return to the Championship. Those plans were in tatters 24 hours later, as he brushed off the result, saying he was on the way to a funeral the next day, and some things were more important. He was of course correct, but there are times that saying nothing is better than opening your mouth. That wasn't advice that Shiels would often heed. He would go on to manage League of Ireland side Derry City before taking charge of the Northern Ireland Womens' team, who he led to the European Championship Finals, which are delayed until next summer. Nicolas Caraux A hero of Morton's victory at Celtic Park earlier that season, Caraux extended his deal by another year off the back of that momentous result. What a waste of money. He was to play only one more league match, a 3-1 defeat against Brechin at Glebe Park and a handful of cup appearances the following season. The Frenchman did manage to get himself into the celebration photos as Morton took the title in 2015, so fair play to him for the brass neck. Bizarrely, he wound up in the USA at Atlanta United's B Team, who play in the USL Championship. Now aged 30, he was last seen at his local team, FC Versailles 78, in the fourth tier of the French pyramid. Darren Cole Probably the worst player in a truly dreadful side- Cole was picked up after being freed by Rangers on disciplinary grounds, and had a bit of pedigree about himself. Capped at various age levels by Scotland, and with a Champions League appearance under his belt for the Ibrox side's previous incarnation, he was to prove an absolute disaster of a signing, of the sort that wakes you up in the middle of the night with a cold sweat from your nightmares. He was to go onto Livingston, who he captained to relegation in 2016, before joining Shiels at Derry City in 2017, scoring in their League Cup Final win in 2018. Never let anyone tell you the League of Ireland is remotely comparable to our Championship if that guy can continue to get a game over there after four years. Mark Russell Then only an 18-year-old rookie, it was difficult not to feel sorry for Russell to be thrown to the lions in such a rancid team. He was to go on to enjoy a successful season the following year, winning Young Player of the Year with most of the supporters' clubs as Morton came back up, then enjoyed a couple more fruitful years before regressing somewhat and deciding to move to Falkirk, a move which didn't work out too well, like many moves from Inverclyde to Grangemouth around that time. He would then cross the Irish Sea to sign for Finn Harps where he resurrected his career, playing further forward in midfield before returning to Cappielow this summer. Thomas O'Ware The man so many Morton fans love to hate nowadays, O'Ware was to stick around a few years, bagging a League One medal and establishing himself as a goalscoring centre back, thanks in no small part to Ross Forbes' wand of a left foot. There was a point that O'Ware stood beside Sergio Ramos as one of Europe's top scoring defenders, in 2016-17 season. Like Russell, things were to go stale and he got ideas above his station- moving onto supposedly bigger and better things at Partick Thistle- except, he was to suffer injury problems at Firhill as they narrowly avoided relegation at the expense of Falkirk. The following season was to provide Morton fans with yet more schadenfreude, as O'Ware's winning goal and rauchous celebrations at Cappielow were to prove irrelevant, with Partick not winning a league game for the rest of the season and going down with their usual class, decorum and dignity. They won last season's abridged League One, but he was released to pursue his career at League Two new boys Kelty Hearts, where I'm sure we all wish him well. Stuart Findlay Like Cole, a defender signed from one of Glasgow's big two, although only on loan. Unlike Cole, a guy who most look back on fondly. He was unfortunate to bag the ninth for Hamilton that day, but it was clear to see there was a good lad in there. Findlay impressed in a way that older Morton fans raved about Jim Duffy in our relegation year of 1985, and left with our best wishes. Loan spells at Dumbarton and Kilmarnock were to follow before he signed for Newcastle. He was to make only one FA Cup appearance for the Magpies before making a permanent move to Rugby Park, where he excelled under Steve Clarke, eventually being capped by Scotland and scoring on his international debut, a 6-0 Hampden win over San Marino. Now playing in the MLS with Philadelphia Union. Scott Taggart Taggart's Cappielow career fell off a cliff somewhat- after a fantastic first season at right back, he operated more as a sitting midfielder under Shiels, much to the fans' frustration. He would go onto Dumbarton and subsequently Alloa, where he's enjoyed a relatively successful career in the Championship and League One. One wonders what might've been for Scott had it not been for that horrendous season he and Morton endured. David Robertson Less said the better. Substituted just after half time after a completely inept performance, it was the last the Morton fans were to see of this chancer. He was to go onto Livingston, Ayr and Cowdenbeath, although his career was to come to an abrupt end after being cleared by a criminal court alongside former Dundee United teammate David Goodwillie but then being forced by the Court of Session in Edinburgh to pay £100,000 of damages to a woman that Judge Lord Armstrong ruled the pair had raped in 2011. Not heard of in a football context since, and unlikely to be. Barrie McKay Another Rangers loan signing who didn't set the heather alight- he was never as bad as many seem to remember him, but you could be forgiven for thinking that we got the crap twin brother of the guy the Daily Record talked up for multi-million pound transfers as Rangers reached the conclusion of "the journey". McKay would head to Raith Rovers on loan the following season, before playing an integral part in Rangers' promotion a year later, scoring a screamer in a Scottish Cup semi-final win over Celtic before they hilariously fell to Hibs in the final. A brief cameo for Scotland in a 3-0 friendly defeat to France in Metz would follow that summer, and he would eventually re-join former boss Mark Warburton at Nottingham Forest for £500,000 in 2017- a mere tenth of the Scottish media's valuation of him a couple of years before his move, if my memory serves me correctly. A year later he moved onto Swansea and subsequently Fleetwood on loan last season. Faoud Bachirou A fans' favourite in his time at Cappielow, this was to prove Bachirou's last appearance in a Morton jersey. He was one of the only two players to receive a rating higher than 1/10 in Jonathan Mitchell's match report in the Greenock Telegraph (he was rated 4/10 and Imrie rated 6/10), but was to leave under a cloud, amidst rumours that he went on strike in order to engineer a move whilst he still had a year remaining on his Cappielow contract. He was to eventually move onto Swedish side Östersunds, lifting the Swedish Cup and enjoying an excellent run in the Europa League, although he missed some of that run having moved on to Malmö during that season, bagging Morton a six figure sell on fee in the process. He would also feature for Malmö in Europe before moving onto Nottingham Forest in 2020. After a frustrating time at the City Ground, he has been told he's free to go, with Cypriot club Omonia Nicosia apparently chasing his signature. I think it would be fair to say he divides opinions amongst Morton fans, with many hero worshipping him, and others left with a sour taste in the mouth over his alleged conduct in negotiating his move. Rowan Vine Another loan signing, and that he couldn't get a game for Hibs that year tells you all you need to know. They were the only team that came close to us for comedy value in 2013-14. A man of many clubs, his league career was over after that day, with brief spells at clubs like Gosport Borough, Hartley Wintney and Southall becoming commonplace. He was last seen at Hemel Hempstead Town as a player coach. It's terrifying to think what Morton actually paid Vine (and fellow highly paid charlatans such as the long since departed by that point Nacho Novo, and Garry O'Connor, an unused sub on the day), such was the desperation to survive with the prospect of Rangers, Hearts and eventually Hibs bringing big crowds to the Championship the following season. Vine conceded a penalty a minute before the break that day as well as missing one a minute after. Very few tears were shed when he walked out the door never to return. Thankfully, he didn't let the door hit his arse. Dougie Imrie A pantomime villain to so many Scottish football fans, and the man who stood to gain the most from Morton's hammering that day, but no accusations could be thrown at Imrie for his performance. To be honest, the game was a microcosm of Imrie's season, with him charged with the thankless task of dragging his teammates through, but ultimately to no avail. Although he went onto sign for the Accies a few weeks later and became a legend there, his teammates could've taken a leaf from his book. He will of course go down in history for his role in a much happier occasion that season, but it was a sad consequence of Morton's relegation that he was to leave. He received a great reception the only time he would go on to play against Morton in that 2016 cup tie, in spite of giving Accies the lead from the spot in our 2-1 win. He's since retired and is now coaching at Livingston. Archie Campbell Campbell replaced Robertson in the second half, having little impact as Hamilton continued to plunder the Morton goal. Like Taggart, he had enjoyed a fruitful 2012-13 season before going off the rails to an extent. He would return to the Championship at Dumbarton before establishing himself in the juniors in his native Fife with the likes of Kelty Hearts (prior to their move to the seniors) and Dundonald Bluebell. The departures of Peter Weatherson and Peter MacDonald in the summer of 2013 as Morton sought to cut costs did little to help Campbell's development. The moment the most brutal of seasons reached the most brutal of climaxes. (Photo- Russell Gordon) What Happened Next? So, what of the fallout from that day? Morton had only lost ten goals twice previously, to Port Glasgow Athletic in 1894 and St. Bernard's in 1933, both games ending 10-1. It had never happened in the modern era. Only one Scottish League club have suffered a similar result in the league since- Hearts beat Cowdenbeath 10-0 in a league match the following season, but when you consider those two clubs' relative resources, it's far easier for the Fife club and their fans to mitigate for that result. MorTEN is a running joke that'll never go away, and nor will the allegations of corruption from Dundee fans, but it could be argued that it did move the board into action. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that Kenny Shiels wouldn't have taken Morton back up at all, never mind so quickly, and go on to re-establish them again as a Championship club the way Jim Duffy did. It would be remiss of us to suggest that a result like that will never happen again but I suspect the prospect of that is remote in our lifetimes, although Hopkin's charges of a year or two back might've threatened that assertion. I recall walking to the train station in Hamilton at full time that day, meeting a few mates, getting a train into Glasgow and sitting in complete silence, such was the shock at what had happened. Nobody could quite put their feelings to words. As the dust settled, it's a day I'd say I'm not glad happened, but one that I'm glad I witnessed. No Morton team or game before or since can ever be considered as "the worst ever". For all there are some we'll look back on more fondly than others, I certainly hope we never see their likes again. Thanks very much to Jonathan Mitchell for providing access to his match report, reaction and player ratings for research purposes, and for answering my questions as I tried to jog my memory on the events of that day and season.
    10 points
  18. At this point the fan backlash against MCT is wholly self-inflicted. As discussed after the Tele story with Crawford Rae, their communication with both their own members and the support continues to be reactive and only happens after people start asking questions of them, rather than appearing to have any kind of strategy to either keep people updated or more cynically to control the story. As we said then, it's entirely feasible that delays to the takeover are entirely outwith their control and can't be helped at their end. Considering that we're now less than two weeks from the league season starting and approaching two months overdue that would still set alarm bells ringing regardless, but what can be helped is communicating about it properly. They're not even attempting to do this. I saw on twitter that Graham Barr has a newborn baby (congratulations to him!) so understandably he's probably stepped away for at least a few days and no one could question not devoting much time to MCT as a result, but surely this is why you have a whole leadership team and a group of directors, so others can take over the communications side of things for however long he's away. At this point with such a massive delay and the impending start of the league season, we should be getting an absolute minimum of two updates a week on the takeover. If there are no new developments then fine, tell us there are no new developments. That might lead to negative comments and concern every time an update goes out, but it's better than having total silence until you're forced into saying something by a story in the Tele or so many fans complaining about being left in the dark, with resentment and cynicism building up in the vacuum of being told nothing. Tell us what you are doing aside from the ownership situation, because the continuous silence only creates an impression that absolutely nothing is going on or being done. I'm sure that's not the case and they are all working hard on various matters, but if none of us are told what's going on then thinking nothing is happening or that the silence is the product of arrogance or disinterest isn't only going to be widespread, it becomes the only rational conclusion with the information we have available. The silence until pressured to speak doesn't only apply to the takeover, answers about season tickets and direct debits only came after people kicking up a fuss on twitter as well. Perhaps these issues could have been addressed if they'd had someone ready to step into the General Manager role immediately from June 1st to manage things properly, but that level of planning just wasn't there. I said before that even if you want to give the benefit of doubt they're making it extremely difficult. I really do want to give them the benefit of the doubt; I don't want to naturally feel cynical about everything Morton's owners do having been forced into that attitude by 20 years of Golden Casket's mismanagement, I want this to be a great success, I've been a member and put my money in ever since the debt cancellation was announced because I do believe this simply has to succeed. However there's just nothing to cling to to give the benefit of the doubt. They're not running a primary school tuck shop where we can say they'll learn as they go and it doesn't matter if they spill the juice all over the floor at first because they'll get better at it, it's a professional football club and volunteers or not we need some sign of competence. There aren't any. It's simply not good enough and every single day of silence drains their credibility further in the weeks where MCT as an organisation can least afford to get things wrong. It's hard to imagine how this summer could possibly have been more shambolic or done more damage to confidence in their ability to run the club short of announcing that the takeover is cancelled. The first impression created this summer is critical to their success and getting more people on board, but there's nothing good to say about it.
    10 points
  19. (Photo- Gary Bradley) Chris Millar- A Tribute by Russell Gordon With another new season approaching, and the League Cup group stages taking on the role of the season's curtain raiser in recent years, Morton will welcome some unfamiliar guests next week in Lowland League "runners-up" East Kilbride. However, as we're well aware, their newly signed club captain certainly doesn't fit into such a category amongst the Cappielow faithful. This conveniently gives me a tenuous link to write a long overdue tribute to Chris Millar, which has been delayed due to certain unforeseen circumstances (Well, me spending most of my time watching Scotland competing in the Euros and everything that went along with that). Links Park, Montrose. A Third Division match on a cold Tuesday night in February 2003 in front of 343 hardy souls, which ended in an uneventful 0-0 draw. One of those games that I remember attending, but remember next to nothing of, such was the complete absence of any noteworthy events. I do however recall that Morton debuted a young Port Glasgow based midfielder who had been signed from Celtic. But not being local myself, I had no idea who the boy was and my pal telling me about Chris Millar as he took a corner in front of me and that sparse crowd watching Morton toil to a point that ultimately helped us over the line was about my only recollection of the evening. Within two and a half months, the now 20-year-old had made thirteen appearances, was ever present for the remainder of that season and picked up a Third Division Championship winner's medal as Morton embarked on that sensational run to the title. Not a bad way to get your career off and running. And the following season was to get off to an incredible start as that team of gallus young guys took the league by storm. Chris, along with John and Marco Maisano, Peter Weatherson and Alex Williams were having the time of their lives as John McCormack's Morton side took the approach of "if you score three, we'll score four". There's no point in delving too much into what happened as that season progressed, most of a certain vintage will have seen it with their own eyes and those younger will have had the story relayed to them as one of the less celebrated episodes in Morton's history. A young Chris Millar during his first spell at Cappielow. (Photo- www.tellhimhespele.com) For Chris himself, a return of three goals in 27 league games was perhaps disappointing, although two crucial goals against Stenhousemuir and Dumbarton in March helped keep Morton hang on into the race for promotion far longer than they deserved to. But he wasn't immune to the criticism that his teammates had to endure as the events of that season unfolded. As a local lad who was often seen in and around the town enjoying the team's early season success, he became a target for disgruntled fans along with his aforementioned mates. Around the time of turning the tender age of 21, it would've been no surprise to see some players' careers ruined by a season such as that. One could argue that's exactly what happened to Williams and the Maisano brothers, who went on a downward spiral from there on. That he and Peter Weatherson went on to have such stellar careers was a testament to both. The following season was a funny campaign. Under normal circumstances, Morton should've been clear favourites for the title, but the hangover from the trials and tribulations of the previous campaign just wouldn't clear. In the last season of two clubs automatically being promoted, Morton just about hung onto the coat-tails of eventual champions Brechin and runners-up Stranraer, before coming up just short in the end. Chris himself enjoyed a prolific season- starting 34 league games and scoring 11 goals. The only games he missed being the dead rubber win against Berwick on the final day and a harmful 0-0 draw at home to Dumbarton before our penultimate day visit to Stranraer that the final nail was put in Morton's coffin for another year. But there were two brilliant highlights of that season that I specifically recall- an incredible volley at Berwick over the festive period and a late, late header at Gayfield to sneak a 1-0 win, and the subsequent joyous pitch invasion. Of course, that late winner was to prove in vain, and Morton would have to face another season trying to get out of the third tier. Chris's fantastic strike against Berwick at Shielfield Park on Boxing Day 2004. (Video- Morton FC) However, there were a couple of caveats to deal with that third season- most notably the supposedly monied Gretna bludgeoning their way through the divisions with scant regard for their creditors, but also the rule change that meant that second place didn't now guarantee promotion, with the introduction of the play-offs. Of course, Gretna continued on their merry way, and won the league comfortably, qualified for the UEFA Cup and were only a penalty shoot-out defeat by Hearts away from lifting the Scottish Cup. Missing only one league game, and scoring five goals, the highlight was a double in a thoroughly satisfying 2-1 win against the champions-elect towards the end of the season as Morton cemented their place as the best-of-the-rest that season. There were however disappointments too- hitting the post in a penalty shoot-out defeat by St. Mirren in the Challenge Cup semi-final was gut-wrenching enough, but when we got to the play-offs, it was Chris's foul that was to prove pivotal as Morton fell at Balmoor to a Dougie Cameron penalty which saw third-placed Peterhead progress to the final where they lost to fourth placed Partick Thistle. Both clubs had finished the regular season 13 points behind Morton, who were left to lick their wounds as "Let's all laugh at Morton" reverberated around Balmoor following Partick's completely unmerited success. If it wasn't for bad luck back then, we'd have had no luck at all. But there were to be no mistakes the following season, as Morton came out the traps immediately and led the league from the first day to the last, claiming a Scottish Cup scalp of SPL Kilmarnock along the way. Chris returned five league goals from 30 games, including crucial goals against Forfar and Peterhead, and one of the nine in the late season rout of the Angus club as we returned to the second tier after a six-year hiatus. His first season of First Division football wasn't to be particularly enjoyable, owing mainly to the folly of Morton's hapless manager, Jim McInally at the time. Having signed a pre-contract agreement with promotion chasing St. Johnstone, and with Morton circling the drain at the bottom end of the table, McInally decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater and declared that Chris would never play for Morton again. It's funny how getting hammered 1-6 at Livingston without one of your best players can change a manager's stance on such things. Happily though, in spite of his imminent departure, he did outstay McInally, and played his part as new manager Davie Irons led Morton to safety by the skin of their teeth in that final day nail biter at Firhill. It was onto pastures new and McDiarmid Park then, and the full set of lower league title medals was completed within twelve months, Saints wrapping up the title with a 3-1 win over Morton on the penultimate day of the season. The next few years were to prove fruitful for the Perth Saints and for Chris, with European football becoming a regular occurrence, and notable scalps of Norwegian powerhouses Rosenborg and Swiss side FC Lucerne standing out. However, the crowning glory of Chris's career was to come a mere fortnight after the worst single match in Morton's history. As we were coming to terms with relegation and that 10-2 mauling at Hamilton, he was an integral part of the St. Johnstone team that took care of a Dundee United team that included the likes of Andy Robertson and Stuart Armstrong to lift the Scottish Cup- the first major trophy in their entire history. The Millar clan enjoy St. Johnstone's Scottish Cup success in 2014. (Photo- @MidgeyMillar, Twitter) But after ten years in the small farming community of Perth and a testimonial against Aberdeen, a return to the bright lights was too good an opportunity to resist, and Chris returned to Morton in 2018, signed as part of Raymond McKinnon's revolution. Two goals in a 2-0 win at Alloa were a good starter for ten, but as the season took a turn for the worse, he found himself helping John Sutton with coaching as McKinnon's successor was sourced, and joining Jim McAlister in picking the team for the final day win against Dundee United as Morton signed off a turbulent season as in a manner befitting of the campaign- having a bit of drama and a good laugh at Falkirk's expense. In truth, the curtailed 2019-20 season, and last season's difficult campaign were not to prove the most glorious of swansongs for Chris, as first team opportunities were to prove limited. That didn't however stop him from stepping up when he was needed most. After starting his Morton career in that away draw at Montrose over eighteen years previously, it was against the same opponents that he finished it. I doubt I've ever missed a game that Chris Millar played for Morton (before COVID hit, at least), but can't remember ever seeing him play at right back. Trailing 1-2 from the first leg, he put in a magnificent performance in his unfamiliar role as Morton scraped through to the final and ultimately survival for another year. A fine performance at right back in the play-off semi final second leg against Montrose was a fitting send off for Chris. (Photo- Gary Bradley) There's something that's quite disappointing about Morton that a player has to depart for another provincial club for ten years to enjoy success that they couldn't realistically expect with ourselves, but there was also a sense of satisfaction to be taken on how Chris closed the book on his Morton career. After 278 games, 39 goals, 5 yellow cards and two league titles, to see him come in from the cold in our hour of need and make such a telling contribution to our survival was great to see. It's now onwards to East Kilbride- my own local team, where he'll be looking to add a Lowland League title medal and pyramid play-off success to his glittering CV. Given their stance on the colt teams' introduction to the pyramid system, I struggle to wish "Kilby" well in anything they do, but with players of Chris's calibre in their squad, I expect that we'll be congratulating him on yet another piece of silverware sometime soon. Cheers Chris, it's been a privilege!
    10 points
  20. Newsflash to the MCT board: the meter on your credibility has been running constantly since last month. Every instance in which the club looks like the same fucking omnishambles under your supervision (if not formal; control) as under the Raes reflects very badly on you. The first month has not demonstrated progress over the things that you can control, such as effective communication.
    10 points
  21. I see CFB has chucked in his 'heartfelt' eulogy on Twitter, quoting Ewan's tweet. The very person who paved the way for his departure from the club by scabbing his role during the lockdown. Utterly shameless, narcissistic and vile behaviour from Callum. But we knew all of that already.
    10 points
  22. Coming soon - Panelists Dean McKinnon, Craig Dunning, Louise Rodgers, Evan McFarlane, Ewan Boyle and Cammy Middleton give their views on all things Morton. Keep your eyes peeled for match previews/reactions, feature topics and guest interviews.
    9 points
  23. Birthday card pish. Greenock Morton of course famously the only club in world football with annoyed supporters. Any semi-competent outfit should be able to look past the ‘noise’ of about the 3000 fans left in the support and just function. For 20 years we have been run like a circus, and we are still in a very precarious position with regards to the future of the club. Supporters have every right to scrutinise, and criticise when merited - and it has certainly been merited for much of this summer.
    9 points
  24. NB: The above isn't a criticism of those either in the playing squad or backroom staff at GMFC, who may have came down with the virus and shouldn't be working in any capacity until they make a full recovery. The club's collective attitude on the other hand over the past seven days has been a mixture of bizarre silences and enormous self-pity.The last week's official communications smack of the board as well as McPherson feeling sorry for themselves, rather than grasping the more relevant point that this unfortunate setback means they are falling even further behind in the attempted turnaround plan than before. It's time to step up to the plate. And if that's a harsh or entirely inaccurate interpretation of what's happening behind the scenes then it's only the outcome of the club's completely shambolic communication over the past week. We shouldn't need to act like Kremlinologists to interpret what the fuck is actually going on at a soon to be fan-owned club, that can't even get its story straight to the local newspaper. It has also pointlessly hamstrung itself by taking 'precautionary' measures that have no basis in reason or even current public health guidance. After all, it is GMFC who have now said that the ground isn't safe on public health grounds, so if there is ever another case of Covid again this season then the club is bound by its own logic to forfeit having crowds at an upcoming home match.
    9 points
  25. In the few days the forum was down alone we had: People who signed up to pay for season tickets by direct debit receiving notifications that their direct debits have been cancelled. In some cases people had already had one payment taken without having received any communication or confirmation of the season ticket being purchased in the first place. MCT's response was a simple "don't worry about it, we'll sort it" without expanding on when people will receive an update or apologising for it happening in the first place. A story in the Tele yesterday revealed that the takeover (scheduled date as announced by MCT: June 1st) won't go ahead before our first game on July 10th, meaning we will be starting the first season under fan ownership still owned by Golden Casket. We have no idea who among the MCT directors is running the club. An MCT statement on the matter was then released which did offer an apology and say the legalities are continuing, they'll update us soon both on the progress of this and on who board members will be. People's initial subscriptions to MCT began expiring, as the direct debits were always set up to run until this month initially. Prior to those notifications being received people had no communication on how to renew this, if we even could, or frankly why people should want to considering how well the summer is going. They then send an email after those notifications are received, saying that if people don't contact MCT to opt out payments will continue, despite already having been told they've stopped. This is what I mean about first impressions being important. There may be mitigating circumstances for any or all of these issues, some of them might be outwith MCT's control, but along with the lack of communication they combine to create a pretty terrible picture that makes it near enough impossible to give the benefit of the doubt even if we're desperately trying to find reasons to do so. Regardless of whether the issues themselves are down to third parties and outwith their control, communicating transparently about them isn't. They should be apologising for the season ticket issue and giving assurances it won't happen again. They should have frequent statements out regarding the now ridiculously long delay to the takeover (36 days and counting!) even if they've nothing to update on other than offering another apology, and they should be doing it off their own back rather than being bounced into it because the Tele are more concerned with updating fans than they are. They should have informed both their members and the wider support who's actually running the club long ago. They should have had information out before direct debits for members expired explaining how people could opt-in to renewing themselves, being clear that from that point it becomes open ended and rolls on, rather than taking the questionable decision of automatically changing it themselves. They need to fix these communication issues immediately before the bad first impression starts doing serious damage to their credibility, because this summer can only be described as shambolic so far.
    9 points
  26. Not arsed about the takeover, they are/have been in charge for awhile now so it will go through eventually. It's the lack of comms on everything and anything else which is pissing me off. Delay on season tickets, strips nowhere to be seen, still not confirmed any pre-season games, still not confirmed Colville is away. Where is Butler? Anton away? Delay in bringing in a general manager/CEO, the pathetic 2 minute interviews with Gus talking about nothing, brought in 1 new player in a month, website lacking updates all over the shop( have a look at the 1st team squad), the lack of excitement in anything we do, no teasers, no buzz on social media, the list goes on and on. Despite banging on about communication, they are just as bad, if not worse than the old regime. Don't need a takeover to go through to keep the fans, who are paying large sums into the club through MCT and season tickets, fully informed and up to date. I feel for Kingy who is trying his best to appease us the best he can. We should all be collectively buzzing about a new campaign under fan ownership, but instead most fans are absolutely scunnered already, classic bloody Morton.
    9 points
  27. (Photo-D Sargent, Ayr United FC) A Blast From The Past... by Russell Gordon With apathy and pessimism in plentiful supply ahead of Friday's winner-takes-all relegation showdown at Gayfield, someone has to look for some crumb of comfort heading into the game. So, whilst it may well be a case of clutching at straws, it should be noted that the weight of recent history is very much in Morton's favour. There's no point in pretending that we're not in a familiar position here, with the majority of our time since promotion in 2007 being spent towards the bottom end of the second tier and only one relegation in that period, in a season in which we didn't even get close enough to anyone to find ourelves in a real six-pointer all season. However, when the pressure's been on in that time, and Morton have needed a result, they've generally come up with the goods, and it's often been memorable. Partick Thistle 0-3 Morton, 26th April 2008 During a torrid first season back in the First Division after promotion back to the First Division for the first time in six years, Jim McInally's charges found themselves struggling towards the bottom end of the table after a winter of discontent which included McInally banishing Chris Millar to the sidelines for the heinous crime of signing a pre-contract agreement at divisional rivals St. Johnstone before embarrassingly u-turning on his decision when he realised he was cutting off his nose to spite his face, a 1-6 hosing at Livingston and the final straw of a 1-2 Cappielow defeat by our nearest rivals Clyde, from a 1-0 89th minute lead. Outgoing Gretna manager Davie Irons came in and took the reigns, with a significant number of his squad already having jumped ship to the 'Ton as our old friends' reckless spending finally caught up with them. Perhaps Irons' hapless predecessor's finest parting gift was the signing of Brian Wake from champions-elect Hamilton, however. Wake cut an awkward figure initially, with one particular miss in a home win against Stirling Albion marking his card in the eyes of this particular observer at the time. However, an unforeseen burst of form for Wake saw him start to rattle in the goals when he was needed most. With Clyde losing 2-0 at Accies on the penultimate day, Morton took full advantage by beating Dunfermline 3-0 at Cappielow, with Wake's second goal in consecutive weeks opening the floodgates before a Ryan Harding strike doubled the advantage and Kevin Finlayson's wonder goal put Morton in pole position, but by the narrowest of margins. We went into the final game against an already safe Partick Thistle having scored the exact same number of goals as Clyde, but having conceded one less. Only problem was, Clyde were at home to already relegated Stirling. Morton ran out infront of a raucous travelling support knowing that all they had to do was match the Bully Wee's result, and came out the traps flying, with Wake getting on the end of Iain Russell's knockdown to fire us into a lead in front of the travelling hoards. Wake was unlucky not to double Morton's lead with a stinging volley before Finlayson's rasping 30 yard strike on the cusp of half time put Morton on the brink of survival. With Clyde keeping their end of the bargain, Wake added a third in the second half and the final whistle saw an anxious wait for all as we awaited news from Broadwood. When the news came through, the relief and joy for all was palpable as Clyde failed to add to their 3-0 lead. Morton had survived by a single goal, and for the Bully Wee it was the play offs, where they'd go on to stage their own great escape, their last before a fall through the leagues and a decade-long spell in the basement division. For Morton though, this was a memorable victory. Not only for the drama involved, but the implications of an immediate relegation after years of trying to get into the First Division could've been terrible. We could now look forward and hope never to be in that position again... Morton 2-1 Ayr United, 1st May 2010 With Irons' tenure having met a controversial end earlier in the season, and a management team of James Grady and Allan McManus leading Morton for the majority of the season, we headed into a shoot out for a place in the division with Ayr United. With Airdrie also in the mix, the likelihood was that we'd survive with a win, head into the play offs with a draw and go down automatically if Ayr turned us over. Airdrie losing at home to Dunfermline spared any worries of going down automatically, but after a 1-4 hammering at Dunfermline the previous week and a soul destroying last minute midweek loss to cup finalists Ross County in Dingwall, concerns over Morton's bottle were legitimate. Just before the break, a mix up between Stewart Greacen, Erik Paartalu and Michael Tidser allowed Daniel McKay to strike low past Colin Stewart to give the Honest Man a first half lead. Another mix up, this time between Finlayson and Greacen, let in Junior Mendes to double their lead before the break, but the ex-St. Mirren striker fluffed his lines and his effort was batted out by Stewart for a corner. The second half wasn't pretty, with Ayr failing again to extend their lead and Morton resorting to launching balls on top of of Craig Samson and hoping for the best. Eventually it was Greacan who turned hero after his earlier lapses, as he tapped home on 77 minutes following a flap from the Ayr custodian let us in. As Samson berated referee Chrlie Richmond for allowing the goal, perhaps he'd have been better targeting his frustration at his teammate, Dean Matthew Keenan, who did his goalkeeper no favours whatsoever. With the draw good enough at this point, and Ayr now needing to grab a winner, they threw the kitchen sink at Morton, missing one glorious chance before their own defensive mix up four minutes from time allowed Finlayson to cross to Carlo Monti, who calmly slotted into Samson's bottom righthand corner and send three sides of Cappielow wild, and the other into a state of despair. The booking Monti collected for removing his shirt as he celebrated was of little concern to him and at the end, the Ayr players slumped in disbelief at their failure to win a game that they had in their grasp, and the consequences of that failure, whilst their fans took the defeat just as badly, with some running to the Cowshed to remonstrate with the home support. In truth, Morton should never have been in that position going into the final game, and once in that position were extremely lucky to win it, but it was an extremely satisfying outcome nevertheless, not least to see poor Dean Matthew in tears at the end of the game. Falkirk 0-2 Morton, 20th April 2019 Whilst there were two remaining games for both teams after this game, Morton's trip to Championship bottom dogs Falkirk caught the attention of most observers for a few weeks before the game. It stuck out as the pivotal game in a fascinating relegation dogfight, which also included Queen of the South and Partick Thistle. This was in no way a meeting of old friends- the two clubs had a dreadful relationship after Falkirk's illegal tapping of Morton boss Raymond McKinnon and McKinnon's decision to jump ship. After a promising start under McKinnon, Morton's form had nosedived under his successor Jonaton Johansson and in truth, the football was turgid and relegation concerns completely justified. There was another late goal against Highland opposition to break Morton's hearts the previous midweek as Inverness snatched a late equaliser in a 2-2 Cappielow draw where a win would've given us a welcome cushion going into the game. Falkirk on the other hand had always threatened to come good before suffering set back after set back and found themselves in the mire with games running out quickly. Any concerns that the lapse against Inverness would come back to haunt Morton were to prove unfounded. In a game in which midfielder Michael Tidser was a main focus of attention having signed a pre-contract agreement with the Bairns, he was one of many to produce a fine performance as Morton struck a brutal blow to Falkirk's hopes of survival, whilst almost guaranteeing our own safety at the same time. Whilst Morton were comfortable in the first period, with the best chance falling to Rangers loanee Andrew Dallas, it was in the second that we really turned the screw. Charlie Telfer skinned ex-St. Mirren haddie Ian McShane and set up Greg Kiltie to fire low into the corner and give us a deserved lead. Reece Lyon should've doubled Morton's lead, but shortly after, the lead was doubled in comical circumstances as Falkirk defenders William Edjenguele and Ciaran McKenna drew comparisons between themselves and Willie Miller and Alan Hansen for probably the only time in their careers. As we know however, the comparisons weren't favourable. Kiltie latched onto the mistake to return the favour to Telfer, who buried with aplomb. Falkirk were broken, and it was great to watch. The remainder of the game saw them trying to reduce the arrears, but in truth, Morton were never under any real pressure. Over the next fortnight, Morton eased to a sixth placed finish, and Falkirk went down to League One. Shadenfreude really is a wonderful thing. Arbroath v Morton, 30th April 2021 Who knows what Friday will bring? Hopes aren't high, but you never know. Morton have had a habit of rising to the occasion when they need to most, so not all hope is lost just yet. I hope to never have to write an article like this, in circumstances like this again, but if I do, I won't complain about having to include another entry into the list. Come on the 'Ton!!!
    9 points
  28. I do. For 20 years they’ve not bothered their arse with trying to maximise revenue through their commercial activities, and now they’re just about out the door, having set us an ultimatum about what they walk out with under their arm, they’re quite happy to put everything that’s left over on sale to the daft mugs that they should’ve been catering for a couple of decades back. They’ll be selling off the lightbulbs soon enough, but there have been times down the years you couldn’t even buy a key ring from them. Trying to punt off that old shite to make “money for old rope” when they never listened to us for years about what we actually wanted them to do just goes to show the contempt they have for us. It’s a brass neck.
    9 points
  29. Near enough 20 years of people asking for Morton beach towels and they finally release them during a global pandemic when no one's going on holiday. Absolutely tremendous. https://www.smithsofgreenock.co.uk/Morton-Beach-Towel-New-product-On-sale-soon-p283829720
    9 points
  30. That's not the point. If it's a full time job, which IMO it certainly is, give him a full time contract and reward him accordingly. Giving him a part-time contract and 'expecting' him to work full-time is not only immoral, it means if he's successful he'll be off like a shot at a first full-time opportunity that comes along.
    8 points
  31. I don’t feel it’s right that Andy Barrowman’s name gets mentioned on here without anyone pointing out that he was involved in the greatest swap deal in the history of football. Carry on.
    8 points
  32. Oh, and if one of you MCT Anons are attending this, your stance had better be, and remain, a hard GTF.
    8 points
  33. We don't need a daily update saying "there is no news" like a Fast Show sketch. We do need a hell of a lot more than a couple of updates amounting to 'no news yet, stick with us' over the course of three weeks. Your emphasis on three weeks seems to suggest it's an insignificant amount of time, as opposed to a massive chunk of the summer when football clubs should be generating excitement. It's considerably more important to get communication right over a summer where we transition to new ownership and first impressions are formed in the support. I can accept that the hold up with HMRC was genuinely unforeseen and for whatever reason can't be helped, and I'm sure the delay doesn't mean anyone is just sitting twiddling their thumbs waiting for things to be finalised. They must be carrying on with things and preparing for the season exactly as they would have been had it been finalised, but the fact is we're just having to guess that ourselves because by and large we haven't been told anything. Obviously they've set a budget for the manager and put season tickets on sale (with an excellent offer and incentive for membership in there which deserves praise), but we literally have no idea who's running the club. There's no good reason for that to be the case. The delay to the takeover is no reason not to give us more information and if anything it makes it more important to do so when a delay was always going to raise questions among the support. Graham Barr's interview was good but we're still lacking any real information. We know who the MCT leadership team are, but we have no idea who is going to be on the board of directors of GMFC. We need to be told that to have even a pretence of transparency or accountability, immediately. Nothing fancy, just a couple of a paragraphs telling us who they are and what their role is. I'm sure everyone involved is extremely busy but getting someone to prepare a brief summary like that, stick it on both the GMFC & MCT websites and tweet it out is not going to be time consuming and expecting it is not remotely unreasonable. It's genuinely ridiculous have a fans group taking over the club and said fans group not even telling their membership or the wider support who the Chairman's going to be. This is the point where the well meaning volunteer line needs to stop as well: they are running a professional football club, not a primary school tuck shop. There is a valid point here that the relationship between the club under Golden Casket and the support was toxic for so long that fans maybe do need to adjust away from assuming the worst of the club all the time as we have no reason to assume bad faith on MCT's part where we did with the Raes, so they should often be given the benefit of the doubt where the reflex might be to say something is typical Morton. I would say though that there's more than enough evidence the benefit of the doubt is being given with the support showing a significant amount of goodwill and patience in not losing the head about the lack of information right now. However, it simply won't do to have every question or criticism fobbed off with "they're just volunteers" or "they're only taking over the club this summer." Again, those facts make it much more important to get things right. If they follow up on a delay to the takeover going through far beyond their self-imposed date with a continued lack of transparency about who's actually on the board and making decisions at the football club, then the strips don't emerge for weeks etc, the fact they're volunteers and have just taken over doesn't give them a pass on getting those things wrong. Those are all things which are firmly in their control regardless of how long they've been running the club, as opposed to something like the online ticketing where you can't reasonably expect a replacement for Interstadia to be found in five minutes. If they demonstrate competence straight away then it goes a long way to establishing confidence in MCT. If their first summer sees them getting all these things wrong then the first impression the support get of their ownership makes fans question their competence, damages their credibility and some supporters will be sceptical whether they're the right people to be running the club.
    8 points
  34. (Photo- Gary Bradley) Storm Clouds are Gathering... A Review of Morton's 2020-21 Season, Part One. By Russell Gordon Well, that's it finished, then. Another season of struggle and a seventh consecutive season in the Championship awaits for Morton. When we look back in years to come, we'll see a ninth placed finish and a comfortable play off campaign that secured our Championship status with the minimum of fuss. But boy, that doesn't even scratch the surface of one of the most eventful and downright catastrophic seasons in the history of a club that does eventful and catastrophic like few others. We all know the backdrop- the planet was ravaged by COVID and football was no different- with last season abruptly and prematurely ended by the pandemic, we faced uncertainty over whether we'd see a ball kicked in 2020-21 right through the summer. Many of Morton's peers took the shut down as an opportunity to make the most of social media to promote themselves, seek new forms of sponsorship, get the begging bowl out and pull on the heart strings of their local communities. Raith Rovers and Dunfermline did extremely well in this regard and Arbroath's brick selling campaign worked a treat for them. Morton chairman Crawford Rae took a different approach. Everyone within the club apart from erstwhile CEO Dave MacKinnon was put on the government's furlough scheme and the club effectively ceased operating for the duration of the summer months. Poverty was pleaded, and "we're in the middle of a pandemic" was the answer to all the fans' concerns. That's not to say Morton did nothing right over the summer- they did vote to retain the current league structure instead of meddling with it in order to protect Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer, who saw the early end to the season as the perfect opportunity to spare themselves the ignominy and financial impact of what would've been inevitable relegations, given their form at the time of the season's curtailment. The SPFL pencilled in an October start, and a 27 game league campaign, with everyone facing up three times instead of the usual four. Given Morton's approach to the season, a struggle in the bottom half of the table was always on the cards, but boss David Hopkin eventually made moves to assemble a squad that he hoped would be able to do enough to survive but do little else in the division. As is always the case, some moved onto pastures new, with star man from the previous campaign Nicky Cadden, moving south to English League Two side Forest Green Rovers, where he would enjoy a fruitful season helping them into the play-offs before falling short in a dramatic semi-final against Newport. Perhaps most grating to the support was the loss of Reghan Tumilty to Raith Rovers. Whilst Tumilty had been sent to the purgatory of a loan spell at Dumbarton, he came back looking a more than accomplished attacking full back who could have a lot to offer. Morton however, couldn't, or didn't, offer him the terms or the length of contract that the more proactive Fifers did. Amazing what not sitting on your hands in a time of crisis does for you, eh? It would also be remiss of me not to note that our main source of goals over the previous couple of seasons, Bob McHugh, choosing to drop down to League Two, working under the man who so memorably took Falkirk down to League One, Raymond McKinnon (sorry, that couldn't go without a mention) was an indication of how attractive a proposition playing for Morton is in the current climate. The first two in the door were Rabin Omar of Elgin City, making the step up to full time football after a relatively successful period in League Two with the Highlanders and previously Annan, and the returning Gary Oliver, charged with the unenviable task of trying to fire in enough goals to keep our heads above water. Others soon followed, with the signing of some unfamiliar faces such as Ross County's James Wallace, who had impressed for Brora Rangers against the Ton in the cup the previous season, Sunderland defender Michael Ledger and former Celtic and Rangers youth keeper Aidan McAdams, who, with extremely limited first team experience was brought in as Morton's only senior goalkeeper. Hopkin did use the loan market to supplement his squad, with promising Rangers youth Josh McPake coming in alongside Motherwell striker Ross McIver. Centre back Markus Fjortoft from Hamilton was perhaps the highest profile signing, but that profile owed more to his famous father's stellar career in the English Premier League than to Fjortoft himself. He did however prove to be one of the relative success stories of the season, along with Ledger and McAdams. So, with a period without fans being allowed inside football grounds the world over ahead, clubs were hit with the dilemma of how to bridge the financial gap that this would clearly entail and the obvious solution for clubs in Scotland was to provide online streaming services, and Morton were no different. Except, they were a bit different. Different in that they just didn't heed any of the warnings that the fans gave them about their website's capacity and ability to cope with such traffic on a matchday. First of all, a commentary team were put in place, and who better than Morton legend and patter merchant extraordinaire Andy Ritchie and, err... local Celtic fan Gerry McDade? In fairness, the double act worked very well, with McDade providing a competent and fairly balanced commentary that was, whilst perhaps not lauded by fans of other clubs in the ultra-partisan world of Scottish football, was at least accepted as one of the better club productions. Ritchie would provide an informed analysis along with him, which was sprinkled with a bit of humour, allowing us to raise the odd smile through this most tortuous of campaigns. The stream itself debuted in our opening League Cup Group stage game, against familiar foes Queen of the South. The Ton had been placed in perhaps the toughest of groups, with the Doonhamers, local rivals St. Mirren, relegated Partick Thistle and the monied Queen's Park, providing plenty of grudge games given Partick's misplaced sense of injustice and Raymond's latest return visit to Cappielow. It was an inauspicious start on a couple of fronts though, with the stream, some might say predictably crashing before being transferred over to YouTube, and all those who stumped up being refunded for the inconvenience whilst the team were twice clawed back from a winning position to lose on penalties to a club we felt would be struggling alongside, if not below us in the league. There was however some cheer in the following fixture when Queen's Park came calling and a second half goal from Cameron Blues sent Raymond heading back down the road with his tail firmly between his legs. Again. And onwards it was to the league campaign, with Alloa the first visitors to the tail o' the bank and Morton enjoying a successful start that wasn't without it's scares. Cammy Salkeld's early goal was enough to separate the teams, but the Wasps could feel aggrieved not to at least have gotten a penalty, and may have felt worthy of a point from a match in which Josh McPake starred but was needlessly sent off for a couple of daft bookings. The Ton's first away trip was to Dens Park, where they fell to an early Jonathan Afolabi goal. Robbie Muirhead incurred the wrath of a number of those watching from home when he was stupidly sent off for two bookings- the second of which being for sarcastically applauding the referee as he issued his first. This prompted Hopkin to go on the offensive with the support, who he felt had gone way over the top with their criticisms, or in his view, abuse of Muirhead. The first signs of a fractious relationship between the club and support were to prove brief however, as October came to a close with the most entertaining match of the season. Ayr United came calling and, inspired by Cammy Smith, stormed into a two goal lead in spite of Morton's one man advantage after Aaron Muirhead did Aaron Muirhead things and was sent packing for scything down Aidan Nesbitt on the touchline. Morton were to stage a dramatic late comeback- Oliver calmly netting with seven minutes to go after Strapp's long ball into the danger zone caused chaos in the previously impregnable Ayr defence. Again, it was a long diagonal a couple of minutes later that led to Cammy Blues' equaliser as Ayr completely lost the plot and the same tactic worked a treat a further three minutes on, Lewis Strapp sealing the most dramatic of wins with a diving header which, had we been allowed inside, would have had Cappielow in raptures. All was well in the world. Lewis Stapp heads home Morton's dramatic late winner against Ayr. (Photo- Gary Bradley) But Morton being Morton, brought us back down to earth with an incredible bump. A visit to Kirkcaldy never seems to bring much joy, and with Raith enjoying a fine start to the season on their return to the division, they dished out a 5-0 hammering to the Ton in what was to prove our heaviest defeat of the campaign. It was Jim McAlister's turn to see red this time, but with the score line sitting at 2-0 at the time, the damage had already been done before the captain walked. The league campaign would take a back seat for a fortnight as international football took centre stage, but before that wonderful night in Belgrade that brought so much joy to the nation, there was the small matter for Morton of a Renfrewshire Derby at New St. Mirren Park in front of the cameras to negotiate, as our League Cup Group Stage campaign resumed. St. Mirren weren't without their own problems at the time, with COVID ravaging their squad and the SPFL hammering them for their own part in their internal outbreak, somewhat unjustly in my eyes. That's the last you'll hear anything sympathetic from me towards them though. Minus their suspended skipper, Morton set up defensively but St. Mirren took until 5 minutes before half time to open the scoring, a Jonathan Obika header finally breaking down our resistance, and a home win looked to be on the cards from there. But a completely different Morton side reappeared for the second half, with the introduction of Kyle Jacobs in midfield allowing us to get more of a grip on the game, and another substitution, that of Ross McIver on the hour, proving crucial. The on-loan Motherwell man netted within seconds of his introduction to secure a draw and head us towards another penalty shoot-out, in which the Saints prevailed en route to a semi-final defeat by Livingston. In a week of penalty shoot-outs, you'd perhaps have accepted Morton's misfortune just this once to see Scotland qualifying so dramatically out in Serbia, but the third penalty competition of the week followed a 0-0 draw in the final group stage game, by now effectively a dead rubber at Firhill. Morton lost their third penalty competition of the season. And so, it was back to league business, and a truly turgid 0-0 draw with Arbroath. Hopkin's negative tactics had been drawing widespread criticism from the club's fans but on this occasion, it was one of his peers, the Red Lichties' gaffer, Dick Campbell who was scathing in his assessment of how Hopkin had set up to stifle the game, and made very little attempt to win it. As the festive period approached, we welcomed Hearts to Cappielow for the first time in 33 years, and to be honest, there was no chance of Morton ever getting anything from the fixture. Two Jamie Walker goals either side of the break gave Hearts a win that would've been far more convincing had it not been for the performance of Ton custodian Aidan McAdams. Former Morton Manager, David Hopkin (Photo- Gary Bradley) There were no great surprises in losing to the Jambos, but a few days later, Cappielow was plunged into chaos as David Hopkin handed in his resignation as first team manager. This was portrayed by the club as a selfless act in order to protect the club in a period of uncertainty, but fooled nobody. Hopkin's incredibly unbalanced squad building, which by this point in the season still left us without a reserve goalkeeper, had come back to bite him. By all accounts, it appeared he had asked for more money to bring in a reserve keeper and been refused, before spitting the dummy and resigning in a fit of rage. It's difficult to pinpoint who is exactly responsible for this ridiculous situation arising, but the board placed their trust in the manager to work with a budget and he made a mess of it. Perhaps they should've been questioning the assembly of said squad, but ultimately the manager has to carry the can for such a shambles. Had they interfered, he would've had every right to point out that assembling the squad and picking the team was his responsibility. That it was, and as a result, his departure was mourned by very few. Hopkin had arrived with great fanfare, and as a Morton fan who had previously managed to bring success to a financially stricken Livingston, appeared the perfect fit to do likewise at his local team. It never happened though, and with the number of rumours of unrest in the background, and subsequent dirty laundry being aired in public, Hopkin's departure was probably good news for all concerned. There was to be no swift replacement, however. Assistant Manager Anton McElhone took the reins, with the help of senior players Jim McAlister, Chris Millar and Brian McLean. His tenure was to get off to an unexpectedly fantastic start. Under the backdrop of a takeover announcement from fans' group Morton Club Together, it was back to Fife for Morton, just over a month after their 0-5 trousering by Raith, and a completely unexpected 2-1 victory against a Dunfermline side that had recently defeated champions-elect Hearts and appeared nailed on for a play-off place. McAlister's final goal for Morton (more of that one later) and a Craig McGuffie strike sealed the three points in a game in which Morton also had a Kalvin Orsi goal controversially ruled out after it had clearly crossed the line, minutes before Declan McManus equalised from the spot for the Pars. Orsi was to prove the hero the following week, with a brace in a 2-0 home win over Queen of the South as Morton incredibly climbed to third in the table. With such momentum, it was perhaps a shame that the Boxing Day fixture with Inverness fell foul of the weather, and Morton brought 2020 to a close with a 1-1 draw at Somerset Park, which probably should've yielded three points. Aidan McAdams' uncharacteristic error allowed Luke McCowan to equalise after Nesbitt had converted from the spot to give us a first half lead. Cammy Salkeld and Kalvin Orsi hail Craig McGuffie's late winner at East End Park. (Photo- Gary Bradley) But a winter of severe discontent on and off the park was to follow. The terms of the takeover irked a large section of the support- specifically Crawford Rae's intention to retain ownership of Cappielow and the car park for his family and to charge a peppercorn rent. It raised comparisons between Rae and previous owner Hugh Scott and made the chairman public enemy number one in the eyes of the rank-and-file. The proposal also raised questions about the competence of MCT, who appeared far too content to just accept the first proposal Rae gave them in order to get their feet under the proverbial desk without offending the chairman. As 2020 ended and 2021 began, there were a lot of questions on the lips of Morton fans, and not very many answers coming from the powers that be...
    8 points
  35. (Photo- Gary Bradley) Departures, Defeats, Draws and Dismissals. A Review of Morton's 2020-21 Season, Part Two. By Russell Gordon As 2020 came to an end and 2021 began, Morton could actually look forward to the new year with a degree of optimism, in spite of all the uncertainty in the background. Sitting in a comfortable position in the table, and with a fixture list that looked quite favourable, even the most pessimistic of observers would've looked upon the month of January as an opportunity to create a bit of a gap between ourselves and the league's bottom feeders. It was struggling Alloa who we were to first foot on the 2nd of the month. Markus Fjortoft's first senior goal of his career- a near post header from a corner, looked to have secured the three points, but Robert Thomson came back to haunt his old employers with a late equaliser. It was most definitely a case of two points dropped. With all football out with the Premiership and Championship closed down by the Scottish Government due to the second wave of the pandemic, the cup tie against Dunfermline fell foul of the restrictions. But the Pars were due to visit on league business that same week, and in front of the BBC Scotland cameras. It would be fair to say there couldn't have been many outside the fans of the two clubs who managed to sit through the entirety of that turgid 0-0 draw on a glue pot pitch in what must've been Auntie's worst possible advert for their Championship coverage. With four points dropped that would've been more than useful, a trip to Palmerston all of a sudden held a bit more to fear than the home fixture against the same, but now resurgent opponents a month previous had. And justifiably so. First half goals from Ayo Obileye and Aidan Fitzpatrick, who waltzed through the Morton defence unchallenged to score, gave Queens a healthy lead before Kalvin Orsi halved the deficit in the second half. A horror late miss from Aidan Nesbitt was to prove crucial as Morton dropped more points. In midweek, Inverness came calling for the re-arranged Boxing Day fixture, and an improved performance saw ten-man Morton take and early lead before clawing back from 1-2 down through Cammy Blues' late equaliser after Rabin Omar's second yellow saw the Ton play for over an hour with ten men. But the next day, the drama really began to unfold as the second high profile resignation of the season saw CEO Dave MacKinnon walk, to the dismay of absolutely nobody. In spite of a £500,000 government grant to all Championship clubs, Crawford Rae had indicated that he wanted to see the wage bill cut in the January transfer window, and with the departure of Hopkin, loanees McPake and McIver, and now the club's CEO, he certainly got his wish. But there was more to come. Club captain Jim McAlister indicated that his time was up and the final match of his career would be the following Saturday against Arbroath as he had attained long term employment that would be more beneficial to him at such a stage of his career. Jim McAlister brought the curtain down on his playing career in the 0-1 defeat to Arbroath at Cappielow in January. (Photo- Gary Bradley) With his final appearance on the 31st of the month, just as the transfer window was closing, and without one signing in the door, Morton hosted Arbroath in another crucial game against a team in and around us, but enjoying a more fruitful run of form. To make the 0-1 defeat even more galling, with our deplorable record in front of goal, the scorer of Arbroath's winner at Cappielow was Livingston loanee Jack Hamilton, who would've been exactly what we could've done with. All of a sudden, Morton were in a relegation battle, and in it deep. Without a manager and without their club captain, who it turned out had taken a job as a kitman at Rangers. It was telling that the Chairman was prepared to allow his captain and most experienced player to walk in order to save a few quid, with scant regard for whether his departure endangered Morton's Championship status. As the transfer window closed however, Morton belatedly sprang into action and picked up a couple of frees in Justin Johnson, an ex-Hamilton winger whose contribution to the club was to prove so insignificant that I'm not even sure if he was still on the payroll by the season's end. He was joined by goalkeeper Jamie Butler, who contributed slightly more than Johnson. When I say slightly more, he's been injured since day one but has been seen cutting about the bench and was apparently involved in a bit of coaching. But the club whetted our appetites by hinting that they'd be bringing in a Champions League striker. Alas, Robert Lewandowski was too busy trying to break Gerd Muller's longstanding Bundesliga record, but Spurs striker Kaziah Sterling had been punted by Southend after doing nothing on loan at Roots Hall in the first half of the season, and he had made a 2-minute cameo appearance for Tottenham against APOEL three years previous. He was to debut from the bench in another insipid home defeat, this time by promotion chasing Raith Rovers as the winter of discontent plumbed new depths. With a first visit in a generation to Tynecastle looming, there weren't many grounds for optimism at all. But lo and behold, Morton rocked up in the capital and gave the league leaders an almighty scare, and it took a Jamie Walker header to spare the home side's blushes and rescue a point after Craig McGuffie's fine strike had given Morton a shock lead. McGuffie was to produce another howitzer the following week as we again picked up a point against promotion hopefuls, this time Dundee. But it felt more like two dropped rather than a point gained as the Tayside club twice hit back to nick a point. So, things were looking up, and a struggling Ayr side came calling for what was at this stage the biggest game of the season. What happened? Yes, Morton were rancid and lost 0-2, making it now 10 games without a win. Craig McGuffie celebrates giving The Ton a shock lead at Tynecastle. (Photo- Gary Bradley) So, a midweek trip to the Highlands for a re-arranged game wasn't one that many of us would've expected to yield too many points, but Morton burst a few coupons and came back down the road with three precious points, Aidan Nesbitt the hero with a fine second half strike. But it was to be the last match of Anton McElhone's tenure as Crawford Rae all of a sudden decided that after three months it was time to appoint a manager. Ex-Queen's Park and Queen of the South boss Gus McPherson came in, assisted by ex-Morton "favourite" Andy Millen. With fellow strugglers Ayr replacing Mark Kerr with Hopkin, many suspecting that Rae's hand was perhaps forced by Hopkin's intentions to be reunited with his former assistant, but that turned out not to be the case. A narrow defeat at East End Park was followed up by an encouraging home win over Queens, Aidan Nesbitt bizarrely netting directly from an out-swinging corner and Gary Oliver finishing the job as McPherson debuted former Sheffield United midfielder Stephen McGinn, who had come in on loan from Hibs. With restrictions easing, the lower leagues were allowed to resume, and along with it the Scottish Cup, which actually gave Morton fans a wee bit of pleasure. When Dunfermline eventually visited on cup duty, the game was to prove similar to the earlier Cappielow draw, before the Pars took their regular place back on our mantelpiece as Aidan McAdams celebrated his birthday in style, proving the hero as Morton won their first penalty shoot-out of the season at the fourth attempt. Happy days. After disposing of one Fife club, it was two road trips to the kingdom to follow- firstly to Kirkcaldy for a narrow defeat as James Gullan's late goal saw Raith complete a league whitewash on the Ton, and secondly to Methil in the next round of the cup. A quite dreadful performance saw Morton trail as the final whistle approached, but they were to get off the hook as a late, late Sean McGinty penalty forced extra time before Robbie Muirhead's extra time strike took us into a last sixteen tie at Fir Park. We were coming into the run in now, and every point would be a prisoner. So a midweek home hammering by Inverness, not out the woods themselves yet by this stage, was to prove most unwelcome. Morton were hosed 1-4, and to be honest, the result flattered us. But as was so often the case, an improved performance and a surprise point at Dens brought little cheer, but some scope for optimism. It took until late on for Dundee to rescue a point after Nesbitt had given Morton a shock lead in what was to prove Sterling's last appearance before he was told to pack his bags. If only we could've turned some of those single points over the course of the season into three, there would've been little to worry about. Again, Morton would excel themselves on the road as they travelled to Motherwell in the cup, holding the Premiership side comfortably for two hours before heartbreakingly, Scotland right back Stephen O'Donnell struck to settle the tie. Or so he thought, as Morton had other ideas. Substitute Lewis McGratten won a corner as the Ton made one last throw of the dice and Fjortoft dramatically headed home to take us to yet another penalty competition. Sadly, our luck was to desert us as Sean McGinty's tame penalty was smothered by Liam Kelly in an otherwise flawless shoot-out, and the Steelmen prevailed. Markus Fjortoft's late equaliser at Fir Park took Premiership Motherwell to penalties as Morton were unfortunate to bow out the Scottish Cup. (Photo- Gary Bradley) With champions Hearts visiting in midweek though, the performance was a good confidence boost to take into a game that was a bit of a free hit. Anything we could get was a bonus, and a point apiece it was, but it probably should've been more against a side that were half way to Magaluf by this stage of the season. Well, maybe not this year, but you catch the drift. Orsi hit the post in the first minute and Craig Gordon was to prove the difference between one point and three. Not to worry though- we had Alloa, already relegated, to come at Cappielow at the weekend. It was again a first minute chance for Orsi that was to prove the pivotal moment, as this time he collapsed on the ball when through on goal. Things didn't get any better as Morton huffed and puffed before falling behind to an Innes Cameron goal early in the second half. Again, it was Fjortoft who restored parity but a winning goal didn't arrive and we were up against it as we headed into a final day winner-takes-all decider against Arbroath at Gayfield. Off the park at least, things were looking up as MCT asked their members to approve a takeover proposal that involved the retention of the ground as the club's asset and the debt being expunged, whilst Golden Casket retained the car park. The proposal was approved almost unanimously and it's looking like Morton can look forward to a fan-owned future. But in what division? With Morton level on points with Ayr but with an inferior goal difference and a point behind the Red Lichties, we had to better Ayr's result or win the game to finish above Arbroath. What followed was an insipid draw in which Morton didn't get a shot on target, and didn't really threaten. With around 50 fans travelling to support the team in spite of having no chance of seeing the game, they were let down not only by the poor performance, but by the sheer folly of new club captain Sean McGinty. As news of what was to prove Ayr's crucial equaliser came from the bench, McGinty had a rush of blood to the head and his inexplicably late tackle on Abroath's Scott Stewart earned him a red card which ruled him out of the play-off semi-finals in the process. Having had the opportunity to meet the manager outside Gayfield that evening, I can testify that McPherson shared the fury of myself and the fans around me as we faced up to visiting the Last Chance Saloon. Captain Calamity Sean McGinty's horror tackle led to his red card and subsequent suspension for the play-offs which ultimately proved to be a blessing in disguise for Morton. (Photo- Gary Bradley) But there was to be one final twist before we faced up to our date with destiny. Any observers that are ignorant to the trials and tribulations of our club who stumbles across my musings could be forgiven for thinking that we're by far the biggest shambles of a club in the land, but it's always nice to know there's someone worse off than yourself. Especially when that someone is Falkirk. The Bairns had suffered an incredible collapse from the position of coasting towards the title to missing out on even making the play-offs in the final few minutes of the regular season, as Montrose's late winner against already promoted Partick Thistle, coincided with a couple of late Airdrie goals against Falkirk, propelled the Angus club into a play-off semi-final with Morton and left the greeting-faced Grangemouth Galoots licking their wounds, crying about the injustice of it all and slumming it in the third tier for another season. For Morton, it was another trip up the east coast.
    8 points
  36. Let's just assume for a minute that Crawford is genuine in trying to protect the long-term interest of GMFC by keeping ownership of Cappielow with GC, to prevent it from being a creditor asset if we go into administration at some point in the future. There are two big red flags in that argument that should concern us all. Firstly, Crawford himself won't be around forever and will not always have a controlling interest in GC (does he even have now?). This 'promise' is only valid while this is still the case. Secondly, it assumes GC themselves will never get into financial difficulties in the future. If they do, a 2m pound sleeping asset bringing them in 1 pound a week will surely be top of the list for selling-off. In fact, if they they needed that cash to stay afloat and keep the jobs in Fort Maltilda, it would be remiss of then not to do so. This is a route to perma-diddydome and Lowland League obscurity, with Ravenscraig as our home. The only question would be how long it would take us to get there. I'd say 10 years, 20 if we're very lucky.
    8 points
  37. I'd certainly like to have been present at this very serious business meeting, at which Crawford and the Rae hatchlings set out why investors should pay them precisely £2 million by pinning pictures of Chris 'Sanny the janny' Templeman and Iain 'no moniker applicable' Diack on a flip chart. To expand on my survey response this evening, as the club has not been developed as a capital asset by a single penny since the Rae family took ownership, then they should get absolutely nothing back for their patriarch's foolish, short-term spending. They didn't add a training complex, they didn't install office space to lease it out to businesses, they haven't added an all-weather pitch: they spunked it all on utter shite. They should be huckled out of the dingy Wee Dublin End turnstiles, taking their precious car park land as a blessing instead of trying to renege on their public commitments that the debt would be written off. By not doing so, there can be absolutely no basis for co-operation over the ground or anything else. What's to stop then breaking another pinky promise when it suits them? I'd like to think that they are chancing their arm and that a strong enough survey response will allow MCT to call their bluff on this and reach a much more realistic compromise. Neither option on the table is acceptable now. The past 12-24 months has used up any confidence that MCT or the wider fanbase should hold in GC's pledges. They can't even look after the interests of the club as majority shareholders right now: they are not going to generate a sudden deep-seated concern for GMFC in the years to come. While being prepared to walk away from the table carries its own significant risks and no guarantee of success, the two options currently on the table are as good as guaranteed paths to either East Stirling or Airdrie levels of permanent irrelevance. That is not a choice that we should actively make.
    8 points
  38. Sick of this. This IS Dougie's legacy.
    8 points
  39. This season just needs to be binned. We tried but it's time to call it. And if that means Hearts, Falkirk, Partick and Queens Park all have to stay down for another season that's just an unfortunate coincidence.
    8 points
  40. Fun career facts: the entire last decade of Scott McLaughlin's 'career' was spent yo-yoing between the third and fourth tiers of the seaside leagues, with the singular exception of 2011/12 in which he got relegated from the second tier with a hopeless Queen of the South outfit, who punted him in the summer and promptly went on to romp the Second Division. Since being rightly emptied from The Famous in 2008, McLaughlin got relegated in every season that he subsequently played in the second tier (Airdrie x2, Queen of the South), also got relegated from the third tier with Albion Rovers in 2018 and even contrived to bottle two further play-offs in the fourth tier with Peterhead and Clyde. We are truly losing a giant of the Scottish game: goodnight sweet prince. x
    8 points
  41. Johansson’s new charges lost 3-1 at home to FC Lahti in his first game. That’ll be Jean started blocking those Finnish Twitter accounts already, then.
    8 points
  42. How do walk-up fans/ticket card holders pay to attend Saturday's game? Where is the publication of this information, as well as marketing of the fact that live football is back at Cappielow without the vast majority of the daft restrictions imposed on previous matches? GMFC has lost the habitual custom of people attending its product in person for 18 months and I am not getting the complacency around attracting them back immediately. If the club does not make that pitch successfully now then a significant minority will find something else to do with their Saturday afternoon instead. It's finger out time.
    7 points
  43. Aye, signed off “MCT Team”, as usual. TRVMP made a point about how they’ll consider a lot of the comments as white noise and moaning for the sake of moaning, but these guys are doing less and less to inspire any confidence from me with every passing day. Blanking the concerns of those of us who are paying a beast’s wages out of our own pockets without any explanation whatsoever is of course the biggest slap on the face that MCT have given us, but continuing to just brush off the complaints about accountability shows me that they really couldn’t give a flying fuck about our opinions. I listened to part 3 of the podcast last night and was interested to hear Dean, Craig and Alan discuss customer service at the club. I had a number of issues with Gillian Donaldson and TOMB back in the day, and nowadays, dealing with Brendan and Lesley Anne is an absolute pleasure. Sadly, those above seem to be taking the approach that the fans are an inconvenience who should turn up, pay their money and shut up whilst they get on with the important business. The contempt that the Raes, Donaldsons, Hawkes and MacKinnons of this world showed to the Morton supporters in years gone by was one of Morton’s biggest own goals in the last 20 years- I really fear that the old boys network at the top of MCT are showing that same contempt for those whose money is putting them in their positions.
    7 points
  44. MCT can - and will - dismiss most feedback from this forum as "keyboard warriors" complaining for the sake of complaining, but I genuinely hope they read the two posts above with an open mind. So far the bunker mentality they have displayed is almost identical to that of the previous (well, current) regime and per these posts it is putting people off parting with their cash. The way to make subscription-based enterprises work long-term, after the hype wears off, is to get the little things right each and every time. MCT are falling massively short of doing that. That's not to say there aren't valid reasons to falter, even in the early days, but to do so and then hide behind anonymity, silence, and entitlement is a sure-fire path to disengagement and ultimately failure. Their last statement really isn't good enough, either. They keep harping on about having ~ChArTeReD aCcCoUnTaNtS~ (who is impressed by this credential) as if it matters. The budget structure was announced back in April; why are they still going on about it now? What are they actually doing beyond saying how massively qualified they are to be doing all the things that haven't happened yet, such as building a squad, releasing a kit, overhauling the commercial department, building the new structure between MCT and the Club and the property company... there's a lot of grandiose stuff in the April document and while much of it - most notably the stadium overhaul - should be measured in years and not months, where are the progress reports to the membership? Again, I'm personally far less concerned about knowing the exact composition of the incoming BoD than I am knowing that the roles so key to the delivery of the points above are filled effectively. There is no evidence that this is the case. I've swithered on joining MCT for a long time now but on the strength of its current performance there's no way I'm signing up. Eagerly awaiting the kit launch, though. Per the June 24th announcement that's coming next week (they termed it the kit launch, as opposed to the kit announcement, so I'm not sure what to expect by July 2nd, but I guess we'll find out.) If the kit's halfway decent I'll probably order both the home and the away.
    7 points
  45. MCT have credit in the bank, just as the Raes were afforded in the first few years of their tenure, but taking fans (and their money) for granted quickly loses you respect. Fans aren't stupid, as much as they would like to believe. The culture of contempt and the 'we're doing you a favour' attitude has to change within the club. MCT stepped up to the plate and took the mantle of responsibility, so they will become more accountable in the coming weeks/months. Positive fan engagement will get them off to a good start. Accentuating the negative aspects won't.
    7 points
  46. If only the club had promised some sort of Q&A with directors where questions could be submitted about some of these very concerns.
    7 points


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