Captain’s Log with Jim McAlister

Having been away from Scottish football for the past three years, I have really missed the Scottish Cup and the buzz about the games.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed playing in the FA Cup down south, but, for me, it just doesn’t rival the Scottish Cup, and this weekend’s third round tie against Peterhead has me reflecting on the past.

I have some great memories of playing for Morton in the competition, and there are probably two games that stand out above all others.

The first one, and most of you would have probably guessed this, was when we beat a very good Kilmarnock team 3-1 at Cappielow in 2007.

We went a goal down in the second half before big Chris Templeman scored twice – his second was an unbelievable finish – and wee Gowser made it three before the end to cap off a quite brilliant day.

The whole occasion and atmosphere that afternoon was brilliant. The ground was bouncing, and I’m sure that game brings back a lot of great memories for you fans too.

The second game was also played at Cappielow, against Gretna, who were competing in the top flight at the time and so had some talented players in their squad.

On this occasion we went two goals down against the run of play. But we dug deep with Kevin Finlayson scoring to bring us back into it before and I popped up with a rare goal to take the tie to a replay.

It really was the least we deserved, and we went on to comfortably win the return match, staged at Queen of the South’s Palmerston, by three goals to nil.

This Saturday we welcome one of my old gaffers back to Cappielow in Jim McInally. I thoroughly enjoyed playing under Jimmy and Clarky when they were in charge at the club and I look forward to seeing him.

I expect Peterhead to have a similar approach to Alloa in our recent league match, so we have to show that we have learned from that and avoid making the same mistakes.

I have to take the time to give Alloa a lot of credit, though, as they came with a good game plan, and everyone to a man for them executed it exactly as they had intended.

I know this to be the case because I spent the Saturday night picking the brain of my big mate Andy Graham, who just so happens to be the current Alloa captain.

From our point of view, we were slow and slightly complacent, and ultimately wasted a great opportunity to record our third win in a row, following two great results.

I’ve said it all along but it bears repeating: the team that strings together four or five victories on the bounce a few times over the season will not be far away come May.

Unfortunately for us, we don’t quite have that consistency yet but the gaffer and Housty and all the players are working extremely hard to find it.

One of the big positives so far this season has been that every time the team have taken a hit, we have responded well with a positive result and performance in the following game. That was certainly the case down at Somerset Park.

We owed it to the management and fans after the Alloa display, and the only thing that eluded us was the winning goal, which I felt we deserved.

Ayr are clear at the top, and deservedly so as they have been excellent this season, but we went down there and created the better chances, both before and after their red card.

In the first half, Bob went through one-on-one only to see his shot go inches wide. Gary Oliver then hit the post in the second half before big Bucky saw a header cleared off the line right at the end.

We came away from the game annoyed we had only picked up one point, but the pleasing aspect for me was that the squad again showed the character required to respond to a set-back.

The display was honest and hard working and we have to be just as organised and play with that the same aggression and tempo against Peterhead.

Hopefully in doing so we can make it through to the fourth round and create more great Scottish cup memories for you guys this season.

C’mon the Ton!



Image: David Bell