An Imp Caledonian, built at the Linwood car assembly plant near Paisley. Source.
Morton visit The Paisley 2021 Stadium for a play date with St Mirren FC.
The situation: Both clubs have booked places in next year's Championship. The only thing now is to see if there are any bragging rights available in the Renfrewshire derby. So far St Mirren have the only win, with the two other games ending in a draw. Morton have four points more, but St Mirren are the only club lower than them in the table that Morton have not defeated this season.
Today's referee is Willie Collum.
Morton and St Mirren are long-standing and bitter rivals. But how did Morton fare against their ancient rival Port Glasgow Athletic, whose ground Clune Park was 3500 metres from Cappielow? They met in 30 SFL league matches from 1893 to 1910. Morton won 13, Port Glasgow won 14, and there were 3 draws. They also met in Round One of the 1888-89 Scottish Cup. Morton won 7-3.
And how did St Mirren fare against their ancient rival Abercorn? They played eight SFL matches, St Mirren winning four, Abercorn three, with one draw. They met twice in Scottish Cup play, each eliminating the other once.
Alright then, how did Port Glasgow fare against Abercorn? They played 18 SFL matches. Port Glasgow won 9, Abercorn 4, with 3 draws. They met in the Scottish Cup once. Port Glasgow advanced.
Whatever became of the Renfrewshire Cup? It was not played this year, which is a damned shame as county championships are one of the oldest aspects of organized football.
[St Mirren win 3 - 1. Morton goal by Johnstone.]
It's the Scottish Cup semi-finals this weekend.
Today: Hibs vs Dundee United. These two have met in a Scottish Cup semi-final once before, in 2004-05, when the Tangerines won. [Hibs win on penalty kicks.]
Tomorrow: Rangers vs Celtic. This is only the second meeting between these two since Rangers plummetted from Heaven, though come next season they'll be playing all the time. Celtic knocked Rangers out of last year's League Cup. If Rangers win the Scottish Cup, will they be eligible for the 2016-17 Europa League? Are they out of the UEFA doghouse yet? Yes.
Has any club won the Challenge Cup and the Scottish Cup the same season? No.
Prior to this season, Celtic and Rangers have met in Scottish Cup play 48 times in 39 years. Celtic have won 23, Rangers 16, with 9 draws. They have met in the Scottish Cup final 19 times in 15 years, with each winning 7 cups. 1908-09 did not produce a cup winner. After two draws the crowd rioted at the prospect of a third game, and the whole thing was called off. There have been three other draws.
How often have Celtic and Rangers met in the Scottish Cup semi-finals? Ten times in eight years. Celtic advanced three times, Rangers five. There were two draws.
Draws are no longer permitted in the semi-finals or finals; there's extra time, then penalty kicks.
Celtic have won the Scottish Cup 36 times, Rangers 33, Hibernian and Dundee United twice each. Considering that Celtic and Rangers are one league apart, and that Hibs have been hibsing it* for the last month and a half, the probable Scottish Cup final pairing is Celtic and Dundee United.
*Since Feb 24th Hibs have lost to Morton, Dumbarton, Queen of the South, Ross County, Raith and Alloa, and on Tuesday they collapsed against ten-man Falkirk.
All four possible Scottish Cup final pairings have happened before: Celtic/Hibs six times, Celtic/Dundee United four times, Rangers/Dundee United twice, and Rangers/Hibs once. A Rangers/Hibs final this year would be the first ever Scottish Cup final to feature two lower league clubs.
[Rangers win on penalty kicks. It will be a Rangers/Hibs final.]
Statue of poet Robert Fergusson, outside Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh. Source. Read some of his verses here.
Morton visit Easter Road to play the match rescheduled from January 30th. This is a Wednesday game instead of the usual Tuesday because Hibs played Sunday.
Morton enter today's game with 24 matches played. They have 28 points, putting them on track for 42 at season's end, which would have been good enough for 5.5th place in last year's Championship. If Morton lose today they cannot win the division.
This is the first of five away games in a row for Morton. The Ton are a liitle bit stronger away from home, but still there might not be a lot of points on this peregrination.
Morton visited Hibs on this date in 1979 and played to a 1 - 1 draw.
Hibs have played five cup matches against Premiership clubs this season and earned four wins and a draw. Dundee United, who play in the Premiership, but not for long, have four wins in Premiership play, plus four draws, and a cup win over Partick Thistle.
The AFC Champions League group stage started yesterday, with four Japanese clubs participating:
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2 - 1 FC Tokyo
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1 - 2 Shandong Luneng Taishan
Suwon Samsung Bluewings [0 - 0] Gamba Osaka
Urawa Red Diamonds [2 - 0] Sydney FC
[Morton win 0 - 3. Goals by O'Ware, Johnstone, and Forbes. Morton move into fifth place. This is their first victory against Hibs since 2008. Match report.]
If they ever misplace the Scottish Cup, this would do. Source.
Morton visit Livingston for a Scottish Cup Round Four encounter. This is a boring draw, since both clubs are in the Championship and see each other four times anyway. (Morton have also played Dumbarton and Queen of the South in the other cups this year.)
Morton and Livingston have met in the Scottish Cup five times before, Morton progressing four times to Livi's once. Morton's four victories came in the days when Livingston were called Meadowbank Thistle. Also, the four times they met in Round Four Morton prevailed. The one time that Livi won, in 2004-05, they were called Livingston, and it was Round Three.
So, in Morton's favour, it's Round Four; in Livi's favour, they have the lucky name Livingston. That's the kind of incisive analysis you can expect here at Plenty of Nothing.
To face a club from your own division in the Scottish Cup is no big thrill for either side's supporters, unless both clubs are near the top of the top division (see below). In Round Three Dumbarton played Alloa. Now the Sons face Queen of the South. Have Morton ever faced three opponents from their own division in the Scottish Cup? Yes. In 1988-89 they played Airdrieonians twice, then Meadowbank, then St Johnstone twice. All from Division One.
Livingston have got to the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup twice. In 2000-01 they were knocked out by Hibs; in 2003-04 by Celtic.
[Morton win 0 - 1. Goal by O'Ware.]
Some other games:
Motherwell [5 - 0] Cove Rangers. This is Cove Rangers' seventh Scottish Cup match for 2015-16. They have played Golspie Sutherland, St Cuthbert Wanderers, Banks O' Dee, Fort William, and Formartine United (twice).
East Kilbride [postponed] Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale. Thistle began the tournament in the second qualifying round, but because of a greater number of replays they have surpassed Cove Rangers in games played. This is game eight for Thistle. Their Scottish Cup opponents this year have been: Girvan (twice), Kelty Hearts, Montrose (twice), Huntly (twice). On non-Scottish-Cup weekends they play in the East of Scotland League.
Dumbarton [2 - 1] Queen of the South. In December three Championship clubs (Alloa, St MIrren, Livingston) fired their manager immediately after playing Dumbarton. And if QoS lose today?
Raith Rovers [0 - 2] Hibs. Another all-Championship match-up.
St Mirren 1 - 2 Partick. This match is notable not so much for the football as for the mixed fans stand.
Hearts [1 - 0] Aberdeen. This is the main event of Round Four. Hearts and Aberdeen are 3rd and 2nd in the Premiership.
It's the beginning of the I-League schedule in India. Indian football has developed a funny variant of the Apertura-Clausura system: there are two rival leagues: the Indian Super League plays in the autumn; the I-League plays in the spring. For sponsorship reasons the I-League is called the Hero I-League, and for once I'm happy to go along with it. I'll follow Mohun Bagan AC through this short (January to May) season to see what can be learned about Indian football, and India.
Here's a pair of faces that cry out to be set in a historical manga. Or maybe an NHK morning drama named Massan. Read their story, and about the founding of the Yoichi distillery, here. Read about the TV series here.
Inexpensive Scotland: Pay the £4.50 admission fee into Dumbarton Castle and watch today's match from the summit of Dumbarton Rock.*
Morton visit Dumbarton.
With their season one-third complete Morton are sixth with 13 points. At this pace they'll finish with 39, which in last year's Championship was good enough for 7.5th place. They just have to keep on beating the bottom clubs. Dumbarton are in eighth place, and are coming off a 5 - 0 thumping by Falkirk. Morton ought to win this one.
Rangers, with eleven wins in eleven games, already have enough points to avoid relegation in last year's Championship.
[Morton win 1 - 2. Goals by McKee and Johnstone.]
It's the final of the Nabisco J League Cup: Kashima Antlers [3 - 0] Gamba Osaka. "Gamba" is Italian for leg. [Antlers win for the sixth time. They are the Nabisco Cup experts.]
League of Ireland promotion playoff, second leg (in Italian, seconda tappa), was played yesterday: Finn Harps [2 - 1] UCD. That's the end of the season for UCD. They'll play in the First Division again next year.
Tomorrow is the last day ot the Scottish Women's Premier League schedule. Glasgow City have already secured the title, their ninth straight, but Hibs were a close second.
*Dumbarton play at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium, so they can't really complain.
Morton visit San Starko in the Kingdom of Fife for a 90-minute kickabout with Raith Rovers. Morton and Raith are old cronies, having played in the same division 17 out of the last 30 years, almost always in the First Division/Championship. That seems like home to both clubs.
When was the last time the four senior Fife clubs Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline Athletic, East Fife and Raith Rovers were all in the same division? 1947-48 they were all in Division B.
What was the last time there was a Fife club in each division? 2003-04. Dunfermline were in the Premier Division, Raith Rovers the First Division, East Fife the Second and Cowdenbeath the Third.
There are at present no Fife-based clubs in the Highland or Lowland Leagues. The most illustrious club outside the senior circuit is Burntisland Shipyard AFC, who play in the East of Scotland Football League First (meaning second) Division.* The top amateur league in Fife is the Kingdom Caledonian Amateur Football Association. Burntisland is pronounced Burnt Island, with ominous finality.
[*No, that was last year. For 2015-16 the EoSFL is one division of 15 teams.]
The local cup competition is the Fife Cup, which was first contested in 1882-83. These days it is usually competed for by the four SPFL clubs plus Shipyard.
Fife must not be confused with FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. But if EA Sports were to release Fife 16, based on the Fife Cup, I'd play that.
Fife is water on three sides (the Firth of Tay, the North Sea, and the Firth of Forth), with Clackmannanshire, and Perth and Kinross on the landward side. The Ochil Hills make up part of the boundary. If Fife were an independent country it would rank 182nd in population, between Belize and Maldives, and ahead of Iceland.
Morton have six matches this month due to there being five Saturdays this October plus a midweek League Cup fixture. The last time they had an October that busy was in 1994.
Raith Rovers have signed former Scottish international Scott Robertson. He's in today's lineup.
[Raith win 2 - 1. Morton goal by O'Ware.]
Scottish Cup First Round replays:
Auchinleck Talbot [5 - 0] BSC Glasgow
Whitehill Welfare [2 - 3] Wick Academy
Thursday it was Celtic 2 - 2 Fenerbahçe in Europa League play.
AFC Champions League: Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao 2 - 1 Gamba Osaka
These two clubs have not met since Round Two of the 2008-09 League Cup, when Morton won 4 - 3. They were last in the same division in 1998-99, in which year Hibernian took all available points. Morton's last win against Hibs in league competition came on December 1st, 1984 at Cappielow, and their last league win at Easter Road was October 2nd, 1982. (All statistics from fitbastats.com.)
Who are more illustrious, Morton or Hibs? Hibs have won the Scottish Cup twice to Morton's once, the Scottish league championship four times to Morton's never, the League Cup three times to Morton's no times. Neither club has touched that rare prize, the Challenge Cup. Hibs are more illustrious.
In the friendly pre-season, Hibs beat Berwick and Dunfermline, and played Ayr to a scoreless draw. Dumbarton beat Hibs last weekend in the season opener. (Morton and Hibernian have both fallen to Dumbarton in recent weeks.) Hibs lost four of their first six Championship matches last season.
Morton have signed 17-year-old winger Jai Quitongo.
[Hibs 1 - 0 Morton.]
The First Preliminary Round of the Scottish Cup takes place today. There are now two preliminary rounds owing to the increased number of non-league clubs with SFA membership. Counting the preliminary rounds 92 clubs are in competition for this year's Cup. It sounds like a lot, but compare France where 8,506 clubs compete for the Coupe de France.
Before 2007-08, non-league SFA clubs qualified for entry into the Scottish Cup by winning the Qualifying Cup. The Qualifying Cup began in 1895 and so has a large body of historical statistics. You can view a partial summary of Qualifying Cup play here. Which clubs were best at qualification? 1) Inverness Caledonian, 2) Gala Fairydean, 3) Elgin City.
The Lowland League clubs have already played four games, most of them, and Edinburgh City are on top with four wins, 10 goals for and 2 against.
Hearts are atop the Premiership.
In the UEFA Super Cup Tuesday it was Champions League winners Barcelona 5, Europa League winners Sevilla 4. These two clubs are both in La Liga and will meet again in league play on October 4th and February 28th. Proof that Spain has the best league in Europe.
Wednesday, Montedio Yamagata were away to Kawasaki Frontale. Final score 0 - 0. Tomorrow they're home to Sagan Tosu. [Tosu win 1 - 3. After seven games in Stage Two Montedio are in last place.]
Canadian Championship final, first leg: Montreal Impact 2 - 2 Vancouver Whitecaps.
Yesterday UCD hosted Cobh Ramblers and won 3 - 0. Monday they play Athlone Town at the UCD Bowl. [UCD win 3 - 1.] The Students are making up games they missed during their Europa League adventure.
Turkey's second flight Lig 1 starts tomorrow: Adana Demirspor [2 - 0] Karşıyaka.