Kate Beaton (blue) versus Alex Colville (red) on Google Trends. A is the release of Obatch! Lumpenpack in Germany. C is the opening of the Colville exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario. E: news of Colville's death.
Peterhead visit Cappielow in the last league game of 2014-15.
The situation: Morton occupy first place with 66 points and a goal difference of +23. Forfar are second, also with 66 points but with a GD of +20. Stranraer are third with 64 points and a GD of +19. Any one of the three can win the league title today. If Morton beat Peterhead, the Ton take the title, unless Forfar can beat Ayr by 4 goals plus Morton's margin of victory. If Morton lose or play to a draw, Forfar can take the title by beating Ayr by one goal. If Morton and Forfar both play to a draw, Stranraer can win the title by beating Brechin by 5 goals. If Morton and Forfar both lose, Stranraer can win the title by beating Brechin by one goal. If Morton, Forfar and Stranraer all win by a goal or two, or if all three draw, or if all three lose by a goal or two, Morton win the league.
Morton have beaten Peterhead twice this year with one loss. Forfar have beaten Ayr once with two losses. Stranraer have a win, a draw and a loss against Brechin.
The two clubs that don't win the title will face each other in the first round of the promotion playoffs. Brechin, who cannot finish better or worse than fourth, will face team #9 of the Championship. Who that will be will be determined today. Cowdenbeath, Livingston and Alloa are separated by one point and can finish in any order.
Coming into today's action Morton have 21 wins, one more than they earned in the season of 2012-13 when they finished second to Partick Thistle in the First Division.
Going into today's action only Falkirk, Raith and Dumbarton know they will be in next year's Championship; only Airdrieonians, Peterhead, Dunfermline and Albion Rovers know that they will be in next year's League One.
Playoff-bound clubs are fighting the SPFL head office over gate receipts. Motherwell and Rangers have taken the bargaining position that season ticket holders shouldn't have to pay to get in, potentially putting the as-yet-sponsorless league in a tight financial spot.
[Morton win 3 - 1. Goals by Miller, Russell and McManus. Morton win the league and are promoted to the 2015-16 Championship. Stranraer finish second, and Forfar third. They'll play each other in the playoffs, starting Wednesday. Brechin will face Alloa. Stenhousemuir will face East Fife. Cowdenbeath are relegated to League One.]
How did Morton fare against the other League One clubs this season?
Morton completely dominated the Pars this season. Contrast 2009-10 when Dunfermline took four wins from Morton. Where are the First Division clubs of 2009-10 now? In 2014-15 four were in the Premiership, four in League One, and only two (Queen of the South and Raith Rovers) in the Championship.
Last August I asked: Can you define the character of League One? Is it just a seaside league where small local clubs dwell and other larger clubs go for some time off from real competition? Given that Stranraer and Forfar traded the league lead between them for most of the year, outperformed the Pars and put the scare into Morton, it is probably better to think of League One as the Championship's lower division, with hungry clubs like Stranraer, Forfar and two years ago Alloa, ready to go up.
It's the second leg of the Highland/Lowland Leagues pyramid playoffs. Brora Rangers host Edinburgh City. [1 - 1 (2 - 2 on aggregate). Brora win on penalty kicks and advance to meet Montrose.]
On Tuesday the second Scottish Amateur Cup semifinal was played: Harestanes AFC 4 - 2 St. Patrick's FP AFC.
On Wednesday Montedio Yamagata visited Shimizu S-Pulse and played to a 3 - 3 draw. Today Montedio host Yokohama F. Marinos [and win 1 - 0. After nine games Montedio are 16th out of 18.]
Yesterday Greenock High School Former Pupils AFC won the West of Scotland Amateur Cup for the first time since 1937, beating Colville Park 1 - 2 at New Douglas Park in Hamilton.
Yesterday UCD visited Shelbourne at Tolka Park and won 0 - 2.
Today ninth-place Karşıyaka visit orange and green Alanyaspor, who are just outside the playoff zone in seventh. [Alanyaspor win 5 - 1.]
For their more positive approach to the game, Celtic thoroughly deserved to beat Aberdeen at Hampden Park, win the Scottish Cup for the nineteenth time, and thus equal the record of their arch-rivals, Rangers, in this competition.
Often in a cup final the stark prospect of defeat leads to over-anxiousness among the players and the game is dragged down to a moderate standard. Such was the case on Saturday when, because of Aberdeen's unrealistic dedication to caution, play rarely reached the level of entertainment and skill which the crowd of 126,102 had every reason to expect.
That the game was something of a disappointment was, however, no fault of Celtic, who played with a purpose and method to which Aberdeen, by withdrawing Smith and Melrose and undermanning their attack, voluntarily did not aspire. Celtic's forwards always looked likely to inflict more damage than Aberdeen' depleted attack, in which only Storrie, despite poor support, performed with any lasting effect.
And a confident Celtic defence -- under stress for only a short spell when Aberdeen, having lost the second goal, realised the folly of their defensive ways and contrived to get back into the game -- conceded nothing and ensured that their forwards received a plentiful supply of the ball.
Celtic's decisive tactic was to move Chalmers almost immediately the game started out to the right wing and play Johnstone as a double spearhead with Wallace. And right well did the three perform in those roles. Chalmers's turn of foot and determination repeatedly exposed the Aberdeen goal to danger, and Johnstone, as always, made space for himself and openings for his colleagues with intricate footwork and effective running. Wallace took both his goals with calm assurance and generally achieved something constructive every time he came in contact with the ball.
With Auld, the mainspring of an efficient mechanism, rapping passes to all points of the field with unerring accuracy and Lennox enjoying considerable success as his wing partner, Aberdeen's powers underwent such severe examination that by the end they had just to stand by and watch as Celtic, with almost nonchalant ease, retained possession of the ball with no apparent desire to add to their tally.
To be fair, Aberdeen were reasonably efficient themselves in defence -- but it was at the expense of an attack that could have had greater success with some worthwhile support.
This point was emphasised when they threw caution to the winds and abandoned their negative approach. First Storrie, after fine leading-up work by Munro and Smith, was denied a goal only by the brilliance of Simpson, who, twisting over in the air, stopped the centre forward's close-in shot on the line and allowed Chalmers to complete the clearance. Then, with only three minutes remaining for play, Wilson clipped the ball across to the far post, where Petersen stuck out a leg and diverted the ball goalwards. The ball was rolling over the line when Simpson, running across from the near post, kicked the ball to safety.
The game started, as it ended, with a disappointment for Aberdeen, whose manager, Mr E. Turnbull, was unable to attend because of illness. Had he been at the match he would doubtless have advised Aberdeen to change their tactics by the end of the first half-hour, by which time Celtic, despite having the wind in their faces, had established a clear superiority in midfield and were practically encamped in their opponents' half of the field.
In the face of so much pressure, Aberdeen's redoubt just had to fall, and it duly did in 43 minutes. Lennox pushed a short corner to Auld, who first feinted to cross and then slipped the ball back to the left winger at the corner of the penalty area. Lennox then cleverly evaded two tackles, made for the byeline, and crossed low into the middle, where Wallace jabbed the ball past Clark at the near post. It was not the most spectacular of goals, but the leading-up work could scarcely have been better.
Aberdeen no doubt received new instructions at the interval, but before they had the chance to put them into effect Celtic struck again. The move which led to the goal in 49 minutes began with Murdoch, was further developed by Chalmers and Johnstone, and finished off in fine style by Wallace, who unhesitatingly cracked Johnstone's cross high into the net. Thereafter, Celtic went close to scoring a third goal on several occasions, but they never needed fully to extend themselves and another score, welcome though it might have been, would have been superfluous. Aberdeen had long since been completely mastered.
Thus Celtic have moved yet [line missing] completion of the grand slam and Simpson, the oldest player afield on Saturday, has at last gained a Scottish Cup medal. To the youngest of the 22, Smith, went the unenviable distinction of being the only player the referee felt obliged to book -- for bringing Chalmers to earth in the first half when the ball was nowhere in their vicinity.
Aberdeen -- Clark; White and Shewan; Munro, McMillan, and Petersen; Wilson and Smith; Storrie; Melrose and Johnston. -- Substitute -- Taylor.
Celtic -- Simpson; Craig and Gemmell; Murdoch, McNeill, and Clark; Johnstone and Wallace; Chalmers; Auld and Lennox. Substitute -- Hughes.
Health officials maintain they could wipe out the smoking habit if tobacco companies were required to include a Greenock Morton card in every packet of cigarettes.
Morton visit Stranraer. In their three meetings to date Morton have taken two wins and Stranraer one. Today's match kicks off at 5:30 local time to accommodate BBC Alba. This is truly League One match of the week and deserves to be in Gaelic.
Here's the situation. If Morton win they will go into the final weekend holding first place, even if Forfar also win, unless Forfar can overcome a goal difference of 3. If Morton and Stran play to a draw, Forfar can take over first with a win. If Morton lose there's no way for them to win the title. Worse case scenario: Morton lose today and next week, Brechin win twice, causing Morton to finish fourth and face Alloa in the playoffs. Alloa cleaned their clocks last season.
Forfar visit Dunfermline. Brechin visit Stenny.
Neither Stranraer, Morton nor Forfar have played to a draw in the past ten weeks.
The set of possibilities at the top of League One is matched only by the bundle at the bottom of the Championship. Taken together there are eight teams that could be in or out of the Championship next year: Cowdenbeath, Alloa, Livingston, Stranraer, Morton, Forfar, Brechin and Airdrieonians. Today Cowden host Hearts, Alloa visit Hibs, and last-place Livi visit Raith Rovers.
This could be the decisive weekend at the bottom of League One. Ayr United host Stirling Albion (easy) while Stenny host Brechin (tough). [Ayr win, Stenny draw, so Ayr are two points up going into the final weekend.]
The name Stranraer, from the Gaelic An t-Sròn Reamhar, means "the fat nose." The town lent its name to the Supermarine Stranraer, a flying boat, most of which were built in Canada and flown in British Columbia. I wonder how the RAF and RCAF pronunciations compared.
On the topic of the English Canadian "a", I was going around saying Stirling Albion in the Canadian way until someone on Pie and Bovril rhymed it with LOLbion.
Does it seem to you that Morton only ever score in the second half? In 34 league games they have scored 17 times in the first half and 41 in the second half. In 2015 they have scored 5 goals before the interval.
In what years did Morton earn promotion by finishing in first place? 1950, 1964, 1967, 1978, 1984, 1987, 1995, 2003, 2007.
In what years did Morton earn promotion by finishing second? 1929, 1937.
When did Morton gain promotion through the expulsion of a higher-placed club? 1900. St. Bernard's. (For professionalism.)
What year did Morton gain promotion through the intervention of a world war? 1946.
When has Morton earned promotion by way of the play-offs? Not ever.
A different question: When did Stranraer last play in the second tier? 2005-06. Brechin? 2005-06. Forfar? 1991-92.
Today is Leg One of the first ever Highland League v Lowland League playoff. Edinburgh City host Brora Rangers. Speculation is that Brora will throw a game at some point in this process, because of statements made earlier that they would be happier to stay in the Highland League. But I think pride would at least demand that they beat City before lying down for Montrose. Edinburgh City and Brora Rangers met earlier this season in the Round Three of the Scottish Cup, when they were both trying to win, and Brora prevailed 3 - 2. [Today's final score: 1 - 1.]
Greenock HSFP AFC are out of the Scottish Amateur Cup, but they're still in the West of Scotland Cup and today's their semifinal against Hurlford Thistle. The High have won this cup three times, but not since the Nineteen Thirties. [Greenock win 0 - 1.]
SPFL last minute rule change meetings this week produced this rule change around insolvency: immediate 15-point deduction plus a five point deduction next season; if it's a club's second insolvency in five years, immediate 25-point deduction plus 15 next season.
On Monday one of the Scottish Amateur Cup semifinals took place: Broomhouse AFC 0 - 3 Craigshill Thistle AFC.
It was matchday #5 of the AFC Champions League group stage this week. Japanese results:
Kashiwa Reysol 3 - 2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Guangzhou R&F 0 - 5 Gamba Osaka
Urawa Red Diamonds 1 - 2 Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 - 2 Kashima Antlers
Urawa will not qualify for the knock-out stage.
Yesterday Karşıyaka visited Denizlispor and lost 2 - 0. The city of Denizli, southeast of Izmir, is an Anatolian Tiger.
Yesterday UCD played host to Cobh Ramblers. FT: 1 - 1.
Montedio Yamagata host FC Tokyo today [and lose 0 - 1.]
[Morton win 0 - 2. Goals by McManus. Morton take over first place with one week to go.]