The restoration of the King's Inner Hall at Stirling Castle in 2011 included the installation of replicas of the Stirling Heads, a group on oaken roundels depicting personages considered noteworthy in the time of James V. See here and here.
Morton travel to Inverness today for a Scottish Cup Fourth Round encounter with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
These two clubs last met February 5th, 2011, in the Fifth Round of that year's Scottish Cup. ICT won 5 - 1. ICT also knocked Morton out of the Third Round of the 2008-09 Scottish League Cup. The two clubs have played together in the First Division three seasons, 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2009-10, ICT winning 9 of 12 games. The last time Morton beat Inverness at all was thirteen years ago last week.
Inverness have been swapping second and third place with Aberdeen in the Premiership, and appear to be bound for European competition next year. So a Morton win today would come close to the thrill of knocking Celtic out of the League Cup in September. A draw would necessitate a replay at Cappielow in the coming weeks. A loss would make this Morton's briefest Scottish Cup run since 2008-09, when Peterhead knocked them out.
Which club has eliminated Morton from the Scottish Cup most often? Rangers. Which SPFL clubs have never eliminated Morton from the Scottish Cup? Ross County, Dumbarton, Cowdenbeath, Brechin, Annan, Elgin, Berwick, Albion Rovers.
By strange coincidence both teams are playing under interim managers. Terry Butcher, Caley's manager since 2009, signed a three year deal with Hibernian three weeks ago, counterintuitively jumping from the top to the bottom half of the Premiership. Morton, having sacked Allan Moore after last week's 5 - 1 thumping by Livingston, bring their new interim manager David Hopkin, who was interim manager once before under similar circumstances in 2003.
Fraserburgh are the only surviving nonleague team in the competition.
[Inverness win 4 - 0. Morton are out. Fraserburgh are out too. Motherwell are knocked out by Albion Rovers!]
Champions League Tuesday it was Celtic 0 - 3 Milan. Celtic cannot advance to the final 16, but they still have one more meaningless humiliating game to play in Group H.
Yesterday US Boulogne visited Amiens FC on Championnat National business. Amiens in Picardy is Boulogne's nearest divisional neighbour apart from Dunkerque. [0 - 0.]
Livingston, in West Lothian, was one of five new towns built following World War Two to spread out the overcrowded population of Glasgow. The others were Glenrothes, Irvine, East Kilbride and Cumbernauld. Greenock was already suffering an acute shortage of housing before the war (and through most of its history, to judge by James Dow's book), and this became more acute after the Blitz of May 1941, which took out about a 1,000 dwellings. So a plan was hatched to relocate a part of Greenock's population to a new town at Dunrod on the Inverkip Road. But it never happened.
Livingston visit Cappielow. [And win 1 - 5.] [Later that day: Allan Moore sacked.]
Today's match between Dumbarton and Alloa is postponed due to a frozen pitch, making today the official start of winter.
It's the Third Round of the Scottish Junior Cup. 64 clubs participate, including Largs Thistle who host Kilbirnie Ladeside, and last year's winner Auchinleck Talbot who visit Bo'ness United. Auckinleck regularly appear in both the Scottish Cup and the Scottish Junior Cup these days. They were narrowly eliminated by Stranraer in a Scottish Cup Round Three replay a couple of weeks ago. It's likely that Auchinleck Talbot were what the organizers of the Lowland League had in mind when they said they hoped to attract top junior clubs to the new league.
But the Match of the Day has to be the one between recent cup winners Linlithgow Rose (2010) and Shotts Bon Accord (2012).
[Largs advance. Auchinleck are out. Linlithgow Rose v Shotts Bon Accord postponed.]
What is a junior club, anyway? It's an amateur club. The senior clubs of the SPFL are either professional or part-time (or, as we say in North America, semi-professional)(except for Queen's Park). The senior/junior distinction has little to do with the age of the players. Senior clubs can field teenagers. Junior clubs can sign broken-down forty-year-olds.
The division of the national cup competition into Scottish Cup and Scottish Junior Cup is not paralleled in France, where thousands of clubs all compete for the Coupe de France.
Yesterday Boulogne hosted Luzenac AP from the Pyrenees near Andorra. Luzenac is the world capital of talcum powder production, so you can be sure they smell nice. [Luzenac win 0 - 2.]
The J-League Division 2 regular schedule wraps up today. Consadole Sapporo host 16th-place Giravanz Kitakyushu. Consadole enter today's play in seventh place, one spot out of a promotion playoff. If Consadole win today, and either JEF United Chiba or Tokushima Vortis lose, they're in. [But no. 0 - 0. Consadole finish in eighth place. Mito HollyHock finish 15th.]
Morton travel to Palmerston Park for ninety-odd minutes of association football against Queen of the South FC. If there were two permanent seats on the Scottish Championship they would have to go to Morton and Queen of the South, you'd think, though QoS dropped down for a season in 2012, and Morton could do the same in 2014.
So far this season Morton have scored 13 goals. QoS have scored 16. First-place Hamilton have scored 17. Maybe scoring isn't the main thing. What about goals allowed? Hamilton 5, QoS 17, Morton 24. There's your problem right there.
Former Morton striker has 8 goals to date for Dundee.
The Scottish national squad trained at Cappielow Thursday.
[Queen of the South win 2 - 0.]
US Boulogne face US Marquette in Round Seven of the Coupe de France. [Boulogne win 1 - 3 after extra time and advance to Round Eight.]
Consadole Sapporo visit FC Gifu tomorrow. It is said, "Control Gifu and you control Japan." [Consadole control Gifu, winning 0 - 3.]
This Brezhnev-era map of Гринок (Greenock) might have aided an invasion force, if the Soviet military hadn't already been tied up in Afghanistan. Source.
Dumbarton FC stage an amphibious landing at Cappielow today. Morton, you must win.
Morton's season has the appearance of Airdrie United's last year. They too held first place after the first weekend, but drifted down the table to finish tenth. They were relegated and are now in last place in League One. Another model might be Dumbarton's 2012-13 season. They began very poorly and seemed to have a lock on tenth place, but then they fired the manager and finished safely in seventh. Firing the manager is the key to that scenario. [But Moore has reportedly been given a new contract.]
How many wins does it take to finish eighth in the SPFL Championship? Drawing on the First Division standings for the 21st century the average is 9.6, with a high of 13 and a low of 7. Round it off to ten wins. Morton have one win, nearly a third of the way through the season.
[Morton win 2 - 0. Goals by McLaughlin and Peciar.]
UEFA Champions League Wednesday: Ajax 1 - 0 Celtic.
There's a nice piece at FWW about goalkeeper Albert Camus.
Yesterday US Boulougne visited Gazélec Football Club Ajaccio in Corsica. Did you know that Corsica was an independent republic from 1755 to 1769 and a kingdom under the British crown from 1794 to 1796? Well, now you do. [Boulogne won 0 - 1.]
A Comic Geographical Sketch of Scotland. Alloa is at the meeting point of the Scotsman's leg, kilt and sporran. Cumbernauld, home of Clyde FC, is between his thighs. Brora is about where his bonnet meets his forehead. Inverurie is abune thon fishwife's left shoulder. Source.
This weekend it's the Third Round of the Scottish Cup. Morton are idle, not because they're already out but because they were so good in the league last season that they don't have to enter the competition until the Fourth Round.
32 teams are in action. We're watching: Alloa versus Inverurie Loco Works; Clyde versus Brora Rangers. [Inverurie and Brora both lose.]
Has the Scottish Cup ever been won by a team not in the top division? Yes, twice. In 1893, Queen's Park beat Celtic 2 -1 in a replay, after the first match in which Celtic were winning was abandoned due to an unplayable pitch. Queen's Park were not yet members of the new ten-team SFL. It was their tenth and to date final Scottish Cup. In 1938, East Fife beat Kilmarnock 4 - 2 in a replay after the first game ended 1 - 1. East Fife finished that season sixth in Division Two, or 26th overall. If Rangers win the Cup before they get back to the Premiership they will become the third member of this exclusive club.
The domestic treble in Scotland is: win the Premiership, League Cup and Scottish Cup. Which clubs can still do that? In decreasing order of likelihood: Inverness, Aberdeen, St Johnstone, Hearts.
Yesterday Boulogne visited Lucon. [Lucon won 1 - 0.] Lucon is between the Nantes and Bourdeaux. Lucon is from the Latio Lucius meaning a northern pike.
Tomorrow Sapporo host JEF United Chiba. [Sapporo win 1 - 0.]
Tomorrow is the final of the FAI Cup in the Republic of Ireland. The two finalists are Drogheda United and Sligo Rovers. Drogheda have won it once, in 2005; Sligo four times, most recently in 2011. [Sligo!]
Scottish industry produced a prototype electric car in 1966, the Scottish Aviation Scamp. Only problem: it didn't work so well. What has it got to do with today's game? Absolutely nothing!
St Johnstone visit Cappielow today for a Scottish League Cup quarter-final match against the Ton. Morton are the last remaining Championship club in this competition, but they are the ones who knocked out Celtic, so they have to feel that anything is possible. They had better because if you look at it objectively they're prohibitive favourites to get creamed.
Morton and St Johnstone met July 13th in a friendly match at Cappielow, which the Perth men won 0 - 1. Prior to that was August 24th 2010 in the Second Round of the Scottish League Cup of that year, when St Johnstone won 2 - 0 in Perth. The clubs played together in the First Division in 2007-08 and 2008-09, but it was September 12th, 2006 that Morton last beat St Johnstone, winning 3 - 2 in the quarter final of the Challenge Cup.
Are there any former Morton players on the St Johnstone squad? Patrick Cregg and Chris Millar.
Rangers won their Challenge Cup semifinal against Stenhousemuir and will face Raith Rovers in the final half a year from now.
The Scotsman has a piece about Morton's League Cup run in that remarkable season 1963-64.
The inhabitants of 19th-century Kirkcaldy sent out whalers to hunt the behemoths of the deep, but this one came to them. Read about it here.
Today Greenock Morton visit Raith Rovers at Stark's Park, Kirkcaldy. Raith are in third place in the division, well placed to challenge for the top position. Morton are tenth. Dead Last. Three points out of ninth, with a much worse goal difference than Queen of the South. See above.
Last night the Premiership match between Inverness and Ross County was abandoned after the floodlights failed. This has got the historians at greenockmorton.org wondering when was a match last abandoned at Cappielow. The concensus is: Hallowe'en 1970, Morton versus Hibs.
[Raith 2, Morton 1. Greenock goal by Nacho Novo.]
Champions League Tuesday: Celtic 2 - 1 Ajax. Celtic are currently third in Group H. Only the top two finishers will advance.
The Airtricity League season has wrapped up in the Republic of Ireland. UCD finished in ninth place, avoiding a relegation playoff on the final day, as did tenth-place Bohemians, who have had a shitty season. St Patrick's Athletic won the league for the eighth time.
It's the Second Round of the Scottish Junior Cup. Among many other games, Largs Thistle host Oakley United; and Greenock Juniors entertain Royal Albert, winners of the Scottish Junior Cup in 1930 and 1940; and three-time Cup winners Irvine Meadow welcome Clydebank. Wait. Why mention the Clydebank game? Over the past week I've become all fascinated by the history of Clydebank is why. [Largs advance. Greenock Juniors and Clydebank are out.]
Tomorrow US Boulogne visit AS Bersée in the sixth round of the Coupe de France. Bersée is a village of 2,000 in the arrondisement of Lille in French Flanders. [Boulogne win 2 - 5.]
Tomorrow Sapporo go to Kyoto. I've been waiting to say that all season. [Kyoto win 2 - 0.]
Say you want to get from Port Glasgow to Greenock. You could take the A8, I suppose, but then you'd be missing out on the rustic vistas of Dougliehill Road.
Hamilton Academical visit Cappielow today. The Accies hold first place in the division; Morton last. The Ton are having such a weird season: they've beaten St Mirren and Celtic, but have only one win in the division. Maybe if they think of Hamilton as giants they can kill them. It all hinges on whether there are any former Morton players on the Accies roster. Uh oh, Kevin Cuthbert.
Morton's last win against Hamilton at Cappielow was February 20th, 1999.
Alloa's win last weekend was their first at Cappielow in league play since 1928.
If Morton win by five goals today they can move ahead of idle Livingston. [1 - 1. Morton goal by Habai.]
Tomorrow it's [one of] the Ramsdens Cup semifinals: Raith Rovers v Annan Athletic. [Stenhousemuir v Rangers goes October 29. ] Stenny are the only one of the semifinalists to have won this trophy before. [Raith win 3 - 0.]
It's the Cinquième Tour of the Coupe de France, the French equivalent of the Scottish Cup, the cup everyone gets to play for. But whereas in Scotland everyone means 82 teams, the Coupe de France starts out with 8,264. This round, the fifth, there are 596 teams in action, including the 20 of the Championat National. Boulogne face Avenir Olympique d'Hermies at Bapaume. Hermies and Bapaume are about 80 miles east of Boulogne at the inland end of the Pas-de-Calais. In the Coupe de France the underdog is given home field advantage if the other club is two or more leagues above them. [Boulogne win 0 - 7.]
This derelict workshop at the corner of Dellingburn and Hope Streets has the history of industrial Greenock built into its very stones. See a photo of it here, still functioning and intact, half a century ago.
Alloa Athletic return to Cappielow after an absence of six years. The two clubs competed regularly in the Second Division in the last decade, but have not met since 2007 when Morton were promoted, except for a League Cup match two years ago in Alloa, which the Greenockians won. [Alloa win 0 - 2. The game winning goal is scored by Graeme Holmes, a former Morton player. Morton remain in tenth place.]
Champions League Tuesday: Celtic 0 - 1 Barcelona.
Also Tuesday Young Celtic played Young Barcelona in the UEFA Youth League, at Cappielow. Barcelona won 2 - 1.
Yesterday Boulogne visited Vannes on the south coast of Brittany, to play Vannes Olympique Club. Vannes is the ancient capital of the Veneti of Julius Caesar fame. Like Boulogne, Vannes was the staging point for a French invasion of Britain, this time in 1759. Vannes OC wear white and black like everyone else in Brittany, including this weasel. [Vannes won 2 - 0.]
The Second Round of the Scottish Cup takes place today, with League Two clubs thrown into the mix. All of Plenty of Nothing's Round One picks advanced. How will they fare today? We're watching: Albion Rovers v Spartans; Brora Rangers v Cove Rangers; Dalbeattie Star v Montrose; East Stirlingshire v Threave Rovers (tomorrow); Formartine United v Inverurie Loco Works. [Spartans and Dalbeattie Star are out. Inverurie advance. Brora go to a replay.] [Threave are out.]
Tomorrow Sapporo host Gunma. [Consadole Sapporo 1 - 3 Thespakusatsu Gunma.]