Thursday 10 October 2013

Morton- past times

Unlike the old firm, Morton have faced Chelsea in European competition, back in 1968, in the Fairs Cities Cup, which was won that year by Newcastle, following a riotous semi final against Rangers. Chelsea had won the first leg 5-0 at Stamford Bridge, but still picked a strong line up for the return tie at Cappielow, which they won 4-3.

Their team included Bonetti, Harris, Webb, Hollins, Tambling, Osgood etc -  as well as a first ever selection of Alan Hudson as substitute. What the Kings Road superstars made of the Cappielow facilities is anyone's guess, unlike my own friends' opinions which have required not clarification but censorship.

I have to own up to a fondness for Cappielow, based partly on nascent luddite tendencies, and also  the fact that we hardly ever lose there. I remember bribing a woman to go to our 2-2 draw in January 2004. Primitive plumbing facilities required the toilets to be positioned beside the catering stalls, - you can imagine what happened next, and I recall Accies fans eying impassively the amber torrent flowing past the tea bar as they queued for their half time refreshments. I am still reminded of this by my companion, and not with any feelings of nostalgia either.

But Cappielow is a true old fashioned venue, with seats into which you have to be shoehorned, and a bar  on the corner of the ground which literally will  leave you rooted to the spot. I first went there in 1976, when we won 2-0, and our results have stood up pretty well ever since. Most supporters will recall another 2-0 win, in August 2007, when in Eric Morecambe style, Billy played all the right players, but not necessarily in the right order. If I remember correctly David Elebert was at right back, and Tom Parratt pushed into midfield.

Our return fixture later that year attracted controversy when Marko correctly overruled the referee's decision, and chalked off a Morton equaliser for a handling offence. Marko's decision  caused apoplexy among Morton supporters on a well known website, and for many years after this they appeared to harbour a fair amount of hatred for the big man, right up until he left us and joined ........Morton.

Finally, to Love Street and the venue for our B and Q Cup final victory in 1992. Opponents Morton included in their side current Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes,  but were unable to prevent Accies from retaining the cup with a 3-2 win, which included a rare goal from Chris Hillcoat.

To the surprise of most observers, Morton  have spent most of this season around the foot of the league table, and are currently stuck there in best Norseman style. However  they were the first visiting team to leave Parkhead with a victory this term, a feat from which Barcelona no doubt drew inspiration, albeit unlike Morton they didn't have to do it against 11 men. So a victory this Saturday cannot be taken for granted but is certainly achievable, even in the absence of Scotland pick, Stephen Hendrie


  1. My first visit to Cappielow was 1971. Accies had just signed the 3 Poles, Sygula, Strazalkowski and Olek at the start of what could be described as the renaissance of Accies under the chairmanship of Jan Stepek. My memory was that there was a hastily arranged mid week friendly against Morton to allow the players to acclimatise to Scottish football. Not being able to drive I badgered my father who wasn't much interested in football to take me. Don't think he was much amused as evenings after work were for putting your feet up and relaxing. I don't think the M8 was open then either so it must have involved a fair old drive via A roads. I remember being very impressed that Morton had floodlights but don't remember anything about the game. However I have consulted that book written by AC Dick and another and amazingly the fixture is listed. Played on the 9th November 1971, the full teams isnt listed but it does list Strazalkowski, Harper and Brand as playing with Accies winning 2 - 1 and said Harper and Brand scoring. Happy days but Im sorry it was a dump then and its a dump now!

  2. I remember that season well, Ian. Was it one point after 17 games in the bottom league ? I remember it seemed to turn around on Christmas day with a win over Forfar and a 1-0 win over Albion Rovers on New Year's day - still finished bottom mind. Remember going to Boghead for the Scottish cup match, we lost 2-0. Dumbarton had a cracking team then and won the Championship

  3. It was one point after 15 games and of course that run led to the famous worse team in Britain headline in the Express. I had that article in a scrapbook. Big picture of Ronnie Simpson and Jan Stepek who if I recall were both optimistic about the future. Wish Id kept it. The losing run was broken at home to Brechin City on the 27th of November 71 when we ran out 3 - 0 winners. I think the previous season and that one are why I tend to be somewhat relaxed about results. Unless you experienced it you will never know how good things are now football wise.

  4. I remember that season, too, as a 13 yo, who took serious offence to the article on the Express! I well remember the Brechin game (my memory is 3-1, but who knows?) and that did seem to help. The next few years were helped by the Poles, Arthur McMillan and then the great Neil Hood........

    Anyway, seems we got away with one today, although the BBC reckon that Novo was lucky to stay on the pitch, such was his diving skill. It seems to have been a back-to-the-wall performance, with Tony A's goal being one of the few chances we created. There was a spell of pressure in the 2nd half, with some corners, but I am content with a point. 20 points after 9 games - would have taken that at the start of the season...