The office of First Minister of Scotland was created in 1999, and the first First Minister was Labourite Donald Dewar. He died unexpectedly in 2000, and this statue was cast in 2002. Photo by Nick Thompson.
Greenock Morton visit Stranraer. Morton have won their last four league matches and sit in first place. Stranraer are fourth, three points behind them in the table. If Stranraer win today they could take over first, depending on what Forfar and Dunfermline get up to.
Morton won their first meeting 4 - 0, the largest goal difference in The Ton's favour so far this season, excluding 13 - 1 over Viewfield Rovers in the Renfrewshire Cup semi-final.
Q: Gee, I wonder, how do you pronounce Stranraer?
A: It's a bit like Strong Tar.
Morton are still feeling the sting of their Scottish Cup elimination at the hands of Lowland League side Spartans FC. The life of a Morton supporter truly is a kaleidoscopic tilt-a-whirl. Last season Morton were at the bottom of the table but knocked Celtic out of the League Cup. This year they're in first place, but lose to Spartans. WFT!
So Spartans join the rank of clubs that have eliminated Morton from cup competition. Which club has done that the most times?* Rangers (12 times in the Scottish Cup + 2 in the League Cup = 14). Next is Celtic (11 Scottish Cup + 1 League Cup = 12), then Aberdeen (7 Scottish Cup + 3 League Cup = 10) and St Mirren (5 Scottish Cup + 3 League Cup + 2 Challenge Cup = 10).
*Counting Scottish Cup, Challenge Cup, and League Cup since 1984/85 when it became a knock-out competition.
[Stranraer win 2 - 0. Two Morton players are shown the red card. Forfar and Dunfermline also win, so Morton slide to fourth place, though still only two points out of first.]
On Wednesday Alloa beat Rangers 3 - 2 in their Challenge Cup semi-final. Ha ha! It was Alloa's first win against any Rangers** team ever. When did Morton last beat a club from Ibrox? April 9th, 1988.
**Treating Rangers FC and Sevco as the same thing.
Today is Round Four of the Scottish Amateur Cup. (I managed somehow to miss Round Three. And Round One.) Match of the day is:
Greenock HSFP AFC (CSAFL) versus Barnhill AFC.
Greenock HSFP AFC (CSAFL) stands for Greenock High School Former Pupils Amateur Football Club. (Central Scottish Amateur Football League). The High for short. Greenock HSFP play in the CSAFL Premier Division, where they are currently sixth out of twelve. They were founded in 1907 and won the Scottish Amateur Cup in 1922 and 1949, mirroring the Morton's Scottish Cup successes. They wear blue and white.
[GHSFP win 9 - 0.]
Twelve days after meeting in the Emperor's Cup semi-final (Montedio won that), Montedio Yamagata and JEF United Chiba meet tomorrow in the promotion playoffs to J1. Last weekend Montedio beat Júbilo Iwata to get to this game, the goalkeeper scoring the winner at 92 minutes. [Montedio win 1 - 0 and are promoted.]
A Cistercian lay brother of medieval Airdrie. The lands around Airdrie and Coatbridge made up an estate belonging to the Abbey of Newbattle forty miles away in Midlothian, and are still sometimes referred to as the Monklands. A match between Airdrieonians and Albion Rovers is the Monklands Derby. Learn about it.
Morton visit Excelsior Stadium to tangle with Airdrieonians in League One action. It is the third meeting between the Greenock and Airdrie clubs this month of November, and the second in five days.
The Ton have seven wins in league play so far, which is one more than they earned all of last season.
Morton enter today's play in third place, just one point out of first. If Morton win, Forfar and Dunfermline must also win to stay ahead of them. Forfar are away at Brechin, and Dunfermline are at Stenny.
[Morton win 0 - 1. Goal by Jamie McCluskey. Neither Forfar nor Dunfermline win, so Morton take over first place.]
Rangers meet Alloa in their Challenge Cup demi-final today. [Wrong! It's just a league game. The cup game is December 3rd.]
The final of the Scottish Women's Cup takes place tomorrow: Glasgow City [5 - 0] Spartans.
Greenock Morton have entered into a partnership with Greenock Hockey Club, becoming a multi-sport club, like AIK. Greenock HC (who play field hockey) end their relationship with Greenock Cricket Club, who were always a bit stuck up anyway.
Tomorrow Grulla Morioka visit Parciero Nagano. Parciero are angling for a promotion playoff spot. [Parciero win 3 - 0 and end the day in second place.]
UKube-1, Scotland's first satellite, built by Clyde Space and launched onboard a Soyuz rocket July 8th. Track it here. Cubesats are not very big. You could haul this one around in a grocery bag.
Morton travel to Dunfermine. The Pars are in second place a point behind Forfar. Morton are fourth behind Ayr. Forfar and Ayr could be the ones who get promoted in the end, you never know.
On Thursday Celtic hosted Astra Giurgiu and beat them 2 - 1 in Europa League action.
The League of Ireland title race wrapped up yesterday, Dundalk winning it. Add that to the League of Ireland Cup they won on September 19th. Our guys UCD AFC finished 11th and must meet Galway FC in a promotion/relegation playoff. The FAI Cup final goes next weekend between Derry City and St Patrick's.
[Morton win 1 - 2. Goals by O'Ware and McManus. A big win. Morton are in third place, four points out of first.]
Today is the second round of the Scottish Junior Cup. We are watching:
Pollok [4 - 0] Whitletts Victoria
Banks O'Dee [0 - 6] Auchinleck Talbot
Livingston United [1 - 5] Shotts Bon Accord
Haddington Athletic [0 - 3] Linlithgow Rose
Clydebank [7 - 0] Lossiemouth United
Greenock [0 - 4] Newtongrange Star
Largs Thistle [3 - 1] Sauchie
Rosyth [1 - 3] Hurlford United
Port Glasgow [6 - 0] Ballingry Rovers
Clyde FC is debt free. They nearly bankrupted themselves trying to reach the Premier League a decade ago. Now perhaps the three-time Scottish Cup winners can start to move up the pyramid from League Two.
Grulla Morioka try their typhoon-postponed match at Ryukyu again today. [1 - 1]
Partick Thistle visit Cappielow for the second round of the Scottish League Cup.
The last time these two clubs met was April 10th, 2013, at Firhill, when Thistle definitively ended Morton's First Division title run. It seems so long ago now.
2013-14 was a disastrous season for Morton -- all except the League Cup. The Ton made it to the quarterfinals, defeating Celtic along the way, their best showing since 1979-80 when they last made the semi-finals.
Apparently it's wrong to call Partick Thistle Partick, you must call them Thistle. ~Because there are so few Scottish clubs named Thistle, and so many from Partick.~
The Scottish League Cup is without a sponsor this year.
[Greenock Morton 0 - 1 Partick Thistle. Morton are out of the League Cup.]
[UEFA Champions League: Celtic 0 - 1 Maribor. Celtic are out of the Champions League.]
Morton travel to the northeasterly tip of Scotland to play Peterhead FC at Balmoor Stadium. The two clubs were last members of the same (Second) division in 2006-07, when Morton swept the four-game series, as they say in baseball. Subsequently Morton knocked Peterhead out of the 2007-08 Challenge Cup, and then Peterhead knocked Morton out of the 2008-09 Scottish Cup.
Officially Balmoor can accommodate 3,150 spectators, but they got 4,855 in there for Rangers two years ago. The nearest railway station is 32 miles away in Aberdeen, making it the longest hike from station to stadium in British senior football.
Peterhead FC was founded in 1891. The Blue Toon were five-time Highland League champions before joining the SFL in the year 2000. To date they have not been out of the bottom two divisions. Morton are more illustrious.
Coming into today's game Morton have a win and a loss, and are still alive in both the League Cup and the Challenge Cup. Peterhead have a win and a draw, are alive in the Challenge Cup but are out of the League Cup.
Q: Where are the 10,000+ stadiums in Scottish football today?
A: The Premiership has eight: Celtic Park, Pittodrie (Aberdeen), Rugby Park (Kilmarnock), Tannadice (Dundee United), Fir Park (Motherwell), Dens Park (Dundee), McDairmid Park (St Johnstone), Firhill (Partick). The Championship has three: Ibrox (Rangers), Easter Road (Hibs), Tynecastle (Hearts). League One has four: Cappielow (Morton), East End Park (Dunfermline), Somerset Park (Ayr United), Excelsior Stadium (Airdrieonians). League Two has one: Hampden (Queen's Park).
[Morton win 1 - 2. Goals by Milojevic and O'Ware. Morton are in second place behind Ayr United.]
[Inverness CT beat Celtic. Nice! The Tic only lost once in league play last year.] [Falkirk beat Hibs. Nice!]
The Emigrants, by David Shanks Ewart, housed at the McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock.
It's the first Saturday of the 2014-15 season and for everyone anything is possible. Morton find themselves in League One (i.e., the third tier, formerly known as the Second Division, just to avoid confusion) after a miserable 2013-14 season made all the more miserable by their brush with promotion in 2012-13.
Does League One have a personality of its own? This is the task for this season, to find League One's personality. The division does have a nickname of its own: the Seaside League.
This year's Seaside League can be divided into two groups: those clubs that have dropped down from the second tier: Greenock Morton (2014), Dunfermline (2013), Airdrieonians (2013), Ayr United (2012), Brechin (2006); and those that came up from the fourth tier: Stirling Albion (2014), Peterhead (2014), Stranraer (2012), Forfar (2010) and Stenhousemuir (2009). Brechin are the old man of the division, entering their ninth straight season. Dunfermline and Morton are the only fulltime clubs in League One and as such should be expected to finish first and second.
The three other divisions also start today.
How did Morton fare the last time they played in the third tier? 4th (2003-04), 3rd (2004-05), 2nd (2005-06), 1st (2006-07).
Today the Ton visit Ayr United. These two clubs have seen a lot of each other in recent years, the last time being March 24, 2012 in the First Division, when they played to a scoreless draw.
Today's starters: Gaston; Kilday, Crighton, Milojevic, Lamie; McKee, Pepper, Miller, Allan; J. McCluskey; McManus. Compare last year's opening game roster: Gaston, Taggart, Fitzpatrick, McLaughlin, McKee, Imrie, Campbell, Hands, Habai, Bachirou and Cham.
[Ayr win 1 - 0.]
This week in UEFA: Celtic 0 - 2 Legia Warsaw; Spartak Trnava 1 - 1 St Johnstone; Aberdeen 2 - 3 Real Sociedad. Aberdeen and St Johnstone are out. Legia are found to have fielded an ineligible player, so Celtic advance to the next Champions League round in their place.
It's the First Round of the 2014-15 Scottish League Cup. Berwick Rangers visit Cappielow.
Berwick Rangers were founded in 1881 or 1884, and despite being situated in England joined the SFA in 1905 and the SFL in 1951. They are a perennial member of either the bottom or second-to-bottom division. They wear black and gold. They have never won the Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup or Scottish Challenge Cup, and as such are an ideal opponent for the first round of any competition.
Morton and Berwick last played each other on the 7th of May, 2005 when both were members of Division Two (the present-day League One). Morton won. They last played each other in cup competition on the 31st of January, 1987, in the third round of the Scottish Cup. Morton won. Their last meeting in the League Cup was in two legs on August 15th and 29th, 1964. Morton won by scores of 5 - 0 and 5 - 2.
Berwick Rangers still talk about the time they knocked out Glasgow Rangers in the first round of the 1966-67 Scottish Cup. Morton knocked out Glasgow Rangers in the final of the 1921-22 Scottish Cup.
Morton are more illustrious.
Like most cup competitions the League Cup grants a bye to higher-up clubs. Some Premiership clubs join in the second round, and the remainder in the third round. The odd thing is that the byes are handed out according to last season's standings instead of this season's. So promoted sides Hamilton and Dundee must play in the first round, and relegated sides Hearts and Hibs don't enter till the second.
Morton are signing players to six-month contracts this year.
Morton Chairman Douglas Rae's house in Kilmacolm burned down on Friday, July 25th. Fire officials are blaming faulty electricals. Tellingly, the Greenock (daily) Telegraph sat on the story until Wednesday, July 30th.
This week in UEFA: Champions League: Legia Warsaw 4 - 1 Celtic. In the Europa League: St Johnstone 1 - 2 Spartak Trnava; Real Sociedad 2 - 0 Aberdeen.
The Highland and Lowland Leagues begin today.
[Morton win 2 - 1, both goals by McKee.]
Tomorrow FC Ryukyu travel up to Morioka. [Grulla win 2 - 1.]
This is Guy Clark, Lord- Lieutenant of Renfrewshire. In Canada you have a Governor General, who stands in for the Queen at national ceremonies, and ten Lieutenant Governors, who stand in at provincial government ceremonies. Mr Guy Clark stands in for the Queen inRenfrewshire. As Renfrewshire actually no longer exists except for ceremonial purposes you'd think that handing out the Renfrewshire Cup, emblematic of county football supremacy, would be at or near the top of Guy Clark's to do list. But can you see it in last year's itinerary?
St Mirren meet Greenock Morton at Cappielow today for the playing of the 2014 Renfrewshire Cup.
Morton advanced to the final by beating Viewfield 13 - 1 Monday. St Mirren appear thanks to their 10 - 0 victory over Port Glasgow Old Boys Union on Thursday. Morton -- and you don't hear this said very often -- are the current cup holders. [Morton 0 - 1 St Mirren.]
Two weeks ago Morton chairman Douglas Rae was quoted as saying Greenock Morton owe his holding company £1.8 million, but that the debt will never be called in as long as he lives. He is 83. The plan instead is to whittle away at the number by training and selling young talent. So now the purpose of the Morton academy is to service the debt rather than to build a winning team. Worked for the Montreal Expos.
The UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, first leg: Celtic 1 - 0 Icelandic champion KR.
And in the Europa League:
Motherwell 2 - 2 Stjarnan
Aberdeen 0 - 0 Groningen
Luzern 1 - 1 St Johnstone
J3 is back after the Emperor's Cup break. Tomorrow Grulla Morioka visit Fujieda MYFC, the club funded by online subscription. MYFC literally stands for My Football Club. Entering the second half of the schedule Grulla are mid-table with 7 wins, 3 draws and 7 losses. [MYFC 0 - 1 Grulla Morioka.]