By Niall McGilp
When Morton and Queen of the South meet at Cappielow on Saturday evening, Gary Oliver, Andy Murdoch, Derek Lyle, and Lee Robinson will take to the field as current players to have represented both clubs.
However, there will also be a familiar face sat in the stand who has worn both jerseys with distinction in the shape of former Ton forward Rowan Alexander.
Hospitality guest of honour, Alexander, affectionately known as ‘Super Ro’, started his senior career at Palmerston in 1979, moved on to St Mirren in 1983 and then Brentford in 1984 before joining us at the beginning of 1986/87 season aged 25.
He was to have nine excellent seasons here, with his ability to hang in the air – unbelievable for a man of just 5ft 7in – and his trademark forward roll goal celebration appreciated by all who saw him.
Alexander, who had scored 79 times for Queens prior to his arrival in Greenock, enjoyed a very successful first season in which his 23 league goals pushed Morton to the Premier Division.
Although not quite as prolific thereafter, he was still the team’s top scorer in five out of the nine seasons he plied his trade on Sinclair Street.
In terms of highlights of his time in a Ton shirt, three magical moments stand out. The first is a fantastic strike from outside the box in the first televised game from St. Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park, in 1989, which became a feature in Sportscene’s title sequence.
There was a brilliant individual performance in the 1992/93 B&Q Cup final in which he was unfortunate to finish on the losing side after bagging a brace in a 3-2 to Hamilton Accies at Love Street.
Last but not least is the classic header he netted as Rangers came a cropper at Cappielow in April 1988 – the first home league win against the Ibrox side since Jimmy Gourlay scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory in 1918.
After receiving a testimonial against Falkirk in the summer of 1995, he moved on to manage Queen of the South and finally Gretna, for whom he scored in his final game, at the age of 42, reaching a career total of 218 goals.
He scored 122 of those over the course of his 358 Morton appearances, an average of around one every three games, and sits joint fourth in the list of our all-time leading marksmen alongside another ex-Doonhamer in Peter Weatherson.