RKO'sMary of Scotlandopened 80 years ago today on July 30th, 1936, and starred Katherine Hepburn as Mary, Frederic March as Bothwell, Florence Eldridge as Elizabeth, Douglas Walton as Darnley, John Carradine as Rizzio, and a tremendous cast of famous stars in other roles, including Robert Barrat as Morton.
Today it's Morton versus Berwick in the final match of the group stage.
Morton and Berwick last met in Round 2 of the 2014-15 Challenge Cup: Morton won. They have played 36 league games altogether since 1955, Morton taking 21 wins, Berwick 11, with 4 draws. They have been in the same division four times in this the four division epoch, always in the third tier. Morton are generally a second-tier club, Berwick a fourth-tier club. In League Cup play, Morton have 3 wins, Berwick 1, with 3 draws.
Berwick made the semi-finals of the 1963-63 League Cup, and quarter-finals of the 1981-82 cup. They are bottom club in Group H.
The situation: If Morton earn 3 or 2 points today, they win Group H and move on to the Round of 16. If they earn only 1 point, or 0, Kilmarnock can overtake them. If Morton finish second in the group there is still the chance that they will be one of the four best runners-up and advance. A first-place finish with 11 points will most likely make them one of the seeded teams in the draw for the next round, depending on how things go in the other groups.
So far in this tournament Morton have not allowed a goal, except in the shoot-out.
We're also watching:
Kilmarnock [0 - 0] Albion Rovers. Albion win on penalties.
Raith [0 - 1] Alloa
The result of the Raith/Alloa game will affect Morton's seeding.
On Wednesday in Group D, in what might be a foreshadowing of the pyramid playoffs next May, Cove Rangers defeated Montrose 3 - 0.
Thursday it was Largs Thistle 4 - 1 versus a Greenock Morton development squad.
Jamie Lindsay has signed with Morton, on loan from Celtic. He was with Dumbarton last year.
Nacho Novo has signed with Glentoran of the Northern Irish league.
[Morton win 2 - 0. Goals by Lindsay and Quitongo. Morton win Group H and advance. Final Group H standings:
Maribor knocked Celtic out of the Champions League playoff round in 2014. The club's full name is Nogometni Klub Maribor. Nogomet is the word for football in Slovenian and Croatian.
Celtic and Aberdeen need some wins to improve Scotland's country coefficient.
Scotland's country coefficient is a figure UEFA calculates annually based on the performance of Scottish clubs in the Champions League and Europa League. The higher the coefficient the more Scottish clubs get to enter the European competitions, and the later they get to join. Scotland's recent coefficients are:
The train hadn't been stopped two minutes when it departed again, before I was even able to store my luggage. While I was standing with my arms above my head, hands full of packages, the jolt caused me to lose my balance. I tumbled onto a fat territorial soldier, and almost knocked him out with my parcels. He was understanding. Instead of shouting, he laughed, and he said, "I'd rather have you fall on me than a 420mm shell."
But I was conscious of disaster. The basket containing Hindenburg had fallen between the soldier and me and broken open. We fixed it as well as we could with bits of string donated by the other passengers.
"This is serious," said Zidore. "This dog is such a tracker. It'll be awkward if he starts running around just when we're embarking. We have to be careful."
The repairs completed, Hindenburg climbed into the basket. He stayed there with his head out and his paws holding the brim. He was in a friendly mood and made doggy smiles. He's like that whenever he sees French soldiers. We recounted his history, which interested our fellow travellers. They petted him and gave him sweets.
It's not a great distance from BLANK to the seaport where we were to embark. Shortly before we arrived, Monsieur Bertrand opened the door of our compartment. Do you think we rushed to cover Hindenburg? We hadn't told our masters that we were bringing him.
Certainly, it was not good of us to hide this from them, but I didn't understand that until later. Monsieur summoned us into the corridor, where he gave us our safe-conducts. He reminded us to stay close to him and Madame once we got off the train, and to watch what we said, because the ports are full of spies.
"Especially you, Bécassine," he said. "Use caution. If a stranger asks you any questions, the best thing is to remain silent." I promised, and went back to gather my luggage.
We entered the station. I stepped lively and followed Monsieur and Madame. That wasn't easy. There was a crowd, I was tangled up in everything I was carrying, and the basket with the dog kept banging against my legs.
I found myself a bit behind when I got towhere I must hand over my ticket and show the safe-conduct to the guard. After that little ceremony was over I had to run, but just at that moment a doubtful individual approached and offered to be my guide. He asked a lot of nosy questions: Was I going to England? Was I accompanying an officer? I didn't say anything, but put on an air, in a word, the kind of air reserved for grand occasions.
Only, I wasn'r able to hold it for long, because Hindenberg gave a growl and began to thrash about. Suddenly he puched with all his might against the basket cover, and it burst open. He leapt out of the basket. I can't remember seeing him so ferocious. He flew at the man and bit the tail of his jacket.
The man was able to tear himself away. He ran for it, and the dog ran after.
Me, I ran after the dog.
I yelled at the top of my voice, "Hindenburg! Hindenburg! Stop, Hindenburg!" You can imagine the emotions that produced in that town where nobody thinks about anything but the war and the spies. The next thing, I saw the man on the ground and my dog leaping for his throat.
That alarmed me so considerably that I half-fainted. When I came back to my senses, there were two customs agents leading me away. One of them sad to his comrade, "That must be a police dog. The guy he brought down is a Boche we've been pursuing for a long time." The other one said, "We have to figure out if this woman is his accomplice." Their suspicion seemed terrible, but then I felt something cold on my fingers. I looked. It was Hindenberg, licking my hand. That restored my courage.
The agents conducted Bécassine to the police station. One of the two, who was smal, thin, jaundiced and ill-tempered, said, "If it turns out that you're in league with that Boche, it'll add up to a firing squad." And Bécassine felt faint again.
But the other one chewed out his partner: "That's a fine way to talk to a lady," he said. "Especially one with such a pleasant face." Reassured, Bécassine gave a look that showed that her heart was overflowing.
They arrived at the station. The accused and her guards followed a corridor and came to a door, on which there was a plaque that said: BUREAU OF SUSPECTS, Monsieur Proey-Minans, Director. "Proey-Minans!" thought Bécassine. "I know somebody with that name. Where have I met a Monsieur Proey-Minans?"
Suddenly the memories crowded back on her. She recalled that at the start of the war she had been taken to Paris in a car by Monsieur Proey-Minans, a man of great intellect who dedicated himself to the study of personality, based on the lumps of the head, very short-sighted, very absent-minded, very kind, and a great friend of Madame de Grand-Air.
Addressing herself to Hindenburg, who was sitting philosophically, she said, "If that's the same man, we won't be going in front of any firing squad."
At the sound of a discrete tap at the door by the fatter agent, a voice so soft that they had trouble hearing it asked them to enter. The man belonging to the voice was at work, half hidden by a stack of books on one side, and a phrenological bust on the other.
He asked, "You brought a suspect?" "A suspect," certified the fat agent. "Is she dangerous?" "As gentle as a newborn lamb." "If she would sit in this chair beside my desk, I will be with her in a moment." Bécassine sat.
Nevertheless our heroine leaned over to examine the man upon whom her fate rested. She had no trouble recognizing him. Confiding in Hindenburg, she said, "It's all right, that's my Monsieur."
No doubt the dog took these words as an order. With a bound he jumped into the basket in which, through thick and thin, he served his mistress. And he stood upright in his favourite pose. He set his paws on the edge of the desk, and his big head was nearly level with Bécassine's.
Monsieur Proey-Minans was writing all the while. From time to time he stood up to consult the phrenological bust, then he returned to his manuscript. Deep in scientific curiosity he extended his left hand in the direction that he expected to find the suspect's head.
It was the skull of Hindenburg that he encountered. He massaged it, little by little, with great concentration. Taking this for a caress, the dog issued a contented snuffle.
Monsieur Proey-Minans intensified his examination. His face bore an expression of immense interest. He arose, as solemnly as if he were addressing a learned audience, and said, "Phrenology, what an admirable science! You bring me a suspect. I neither look at her, nor examine her, yet I know that she is guilty. Her skull speaks for her. She is a Boche!"
He would undoubtedly have continued his seminar, but at that moment Hindenburg, who very much enjoyed having his head rubbed, jumped up on the desk, sat up, and with his very large tongue licked the savant's face.
"What is this?" cried Monsieur Proey-Minans, suffocating with indignation. "Guards, arrest this impertinent dog!" The guards approached, trying hard to maintain a serious expression, and delivered the savant from the effusions of Hindenburg.
Never had Bécassine been so foolishly ammused. With a fierce effort she controlled herself and, between bouts of laughter, exclaimed, "Excuse us, M'sieur! It's only a dog who wants to show you his respect."
"I know that voice," said the intellectual. He affixed his pince-nez, and adding his spectacles, gazed closely at Bécassine. He cried, "I know you. You're the maid of my very good friend Madame de Grand-Air. What are you doing here? What about this dog? Explain to me, I pray you, my child, this strange adventure."
Today is Morton's day off from League Cup group stage action, so the club have arranged a friendly against the Swansea City U21 squad at Cappielow.
Swansea City Association Football Club are a Welsh club currently playing in the English Premier League. They are nicknamed the Swans, and accordingly wear white. They have been members of the FA since the early 1920s, but their only spells in the top division were the early 1980s and now in the 2010s. They won the English League Cup in 2012-13, and have won the Welsh Cup ten times.
Of course, this is the U21 squad, not the senior squad, so Morton stand a chance. This game is interesting in the context of the new format Scottish Challenge Cup (a.k.a. Irn-Bru Cup) which will include Scottish Premiership U20 sides, and some Welsh and Northern Ireland clubs. It's also an opportunity for Jim Duffy to scout for a Swansea player to sign on loan, or to sell some academy players.
The academy is getting a lot of the credit for Saturday's win in Kilmarnock, especially Jai Quitongo.
Alex Samuel will be playing for Swansea. There's a goal for them.
All eyes will be on the out-of-town scoreboard. Morton enjoy a five-point lead in Group H, which Killie and Albion Rovers can each reduce to two today. Conversely, Morton are guaranteed first place if both Clyde and Berwick win in the shootout.
Morton [1 - 2] Swansea City U21
[Morton's goal came from Jon Scullion. Byers and Jones scored for Swansea. Attendance 377.]
Albion Rovers [1 - 2] Clyde
Berwick [2 - 3] Kilmarnock
[Group H now looks like this:
Clyde have played their four games, so only Kilmarnock can catch Morton now.]
Japan was built by volcanoes. The city of Kagoshima in southern Kyushu has an active volcano right in the middle of the harbour, which has erupted as recently as 2012. The inner harbour is one enormous caldera. Sakurajima means "Cherry-blossom Island". Source.
Morton visit Kilmarnock for the highlight match of Group H. These two clubs have not met since August 25th, 2009, when Killie knocked Morton out of the League Cup of that year.
Currently, Morton sit atop Group H. But that's just because they've played one more game than Kilmarnock, who are still favourites to win the group. Morton's job is to finish among the top four second-place clubs, which means scraping for every point. It would be good to get a point off Killie, to make up for the one Morton lost to Albion Rovers.
Morton wear blue and white hoops. Kilmarnock wear blue and white stripes. But it hasn't always been so. Sometimes Morton have worn stripes, and sometimes Killie have worn hoops. Have they ever shown up in the same kit? Sounds like a job for Historical Football Kits:
1887-1890 black and white stripes
1895-1904 blue and white stripes
1906-1961 blue and white hoops
1961-1962 blue and white stripes
1962-1963 blue and white hoops
1963-1972 blue and white stripes
1973-1977 white with three blue stripes
1977-1989 blue and white hoops
1989-1993 blue and white stripes
1994-1997 blue and white stripes
1998-today blue and white stripes
1874-1886 blue and white hoops
1886-1892 blue and white stripes
1896-1955 blue and white hoops
1963-1967 blue and white stripes
1969-1974 blue and white hoops
1974-1976 blue and white stripes
1977-1989 blue and white hoops
1989-1991 white with a blue diagonal
1991-1993 blue and white zigzags
1995-1996 blue and white stripes
1996-today blue and white hoops
1906-1955 both wore blue and white hoops
1963-1967 both wore blue and white stripes
1977-1989 both wore blue and white hoops
1995-1996 both wore blue and white stripes
How many of those years did Morton and Killie play in the same division? 42. They played 32 seasons together from 1906 to 1955 wearing hoops, two seasons together in the Sixties wearing stripes, and eight seasons together from 1977 to 1989 wearing hoops.
Which SPFL teams wear blue? Cowdenbeath, Dundee, Falkirk, Forfar, Morton, Inverness CT, Kilmarnock, Montrose, Peterhead, Queen of the South, Raith, Rangers, Ross County, St Johnstone, Stranraer. Which SPFL teams wear green? Celtic, Hibs. Which team has never worn green? Greenock.
What was Morton's worst showing in the League Cup? In the years when the League Cup was strictly a knockout tournament, a bad showing meant going out in Round One. But in the group stage era, it meant sticking around for as many as six losses. Did Morton ever do that? Yes, in 1959-60, Group 8. They lost to Alloa, Cowdenbeath, St Johnstone, then Alloa, Cowdenbeath, and St Johnstone again. They scored 6 goals, and allowed 17. And in the middle of that they played their first league match and lost 3 - 1 . . . to East Stirlingshire.
Declan McManus has signed with Raith Rovers.
[Morton win 0 - 2. Goals by Oliver and Quitongo. Group H now:
Morton have Tuesday off, which will allow the others to gain ground on them. But as Albion and Killie have yet to play each other, they cannot both finish with 9 points.]
In other competitions:
Cobh Ramblers [1 - 1] UCD
Tomorrow: TB [0 - 1] B36
Tomorrow: Tochigi [1 - 0] Blaublitz Akita
Day after tomorrow: Elfsborg vs Östersund
The International Champions Cup begins today. What is the International Champions Cup? It's a world tour of big European clubs looking to turn brand recognition into money, money, money. This is the third edition. Today Celtic play Leicester City in Glasgow. [1 - 1. Leicester win on penalty kicks.]