Joe Harper joins the Greenock Morton Hall of Fame

Greenock Morton are delighted to announce the next member of the Greenock Morton Hall of Fame Class of 2024 is Joe Harper! Joe will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at our end of season Player of the Year and Hall of Fame dinner on Saturday 4th May.

Joe Harper bio by Niall McGilp

Born and bred in Greenock, Joe signed for Morton from Larkfield Boys Club, aged 15, on 4th October 1963. These were exciting times for Morton, with a replayed League Cup semi-final and a League Cup Final in the subsequent three weeks, and a near-perfect run to secure the Second Division Championship.

Ending the season, Morton took part in the newly established Summer Cup, and it was in that tournament on 9th May 1964 that Joe made a scoring debut for Morton at Firhill, netting the only goal of the game. He had featured a month earlier in a Renfrewshire Cup semi-final against Pressed Steel, Linwood, scoring a double, but the game against Partick Thistle was the real deal, with 11,673 attending.

Joe was already part of the Scotland Under-18 squad, playing in 7 Youth internationals, whilst gradually breaking into the Morton first team, playing 5 games in 1964/65 and 17 in 1965/66, when a Morton team, weakened by injuries and the transfer of key players, dropped down to the second tier. There, Joe at last gained a regular first-team slot, forming a tremendous partnership with new signing Joe Mason, the duo scoring 74 goals on the way to the 1966/67 title. Harper, still in his teens, scored 30 in 41 games, catching the attention of several clubs, including Huddersfield Town, who signed him for £35,000 in February 1967. Selected as part of the Scotland World Touring Party that summer, Joe played in 4 games in the Far East, New Zealand and Canada scoring 8 goals. The Canada game was recently upgraded to full international status, with Harper scoring 5 goals in what retrospectively became his first international (although some reports suggest he only netted 3 times).

His time in Yorkshire was less successful, and within 18 months he returned to his hometown club, now in Division One, for a fee of £15,000, carrying on where he left off with 27 goals in 43 games in the 1968/69 season. Morton had qualified for Europe the previous season, and Joe appeared in both ties against Chelsea. After netting 9 times in the first 15 games of the following season, it was inevitable he would move on again, and by October 1969, Joe was Pittodrie bound, Morton receiving a club record fee of £40,000. His Morton record was 75 goals in 122 appearances.

Over the next 12 years, Joe’s club career took him from Aberdeen to Everton, to Hibernian and finally back to Pittodrie. Over £350,000 changed hands in transfer fees. His club career yielded an incredible 337 goals in 590 appearances, 320 of those goals being scored for his 3 Scottish teams. He is Aberdeen’s record goalscorer with 199 goals in 300 appearances, and there he tasted real success winning the Scottish Cup (1969/70), the League Cup in 1976/77 and the Premier League in 1979/80. Whilst with Hibernian, he famously netted a hat-trick in the 1974 League Cup final against Celtic, who won the game 6-3.

Joe won 3 League and 4 more international Caps after leaving Morton for the second time; he scored 2 more international goals and made his final Scotland appearance, aged 30 at the 1978 World Cup coming on as a substitute against Iran.

Joe is a member of the Aberdeen Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Scotland Hall of Fame in 2019. His induction into Morton’s Hall of Fame, his boyhood club where his remarkable career began, is long overdue.

Book your space for the Player of the Year & Hall of Fame Dinner by contacting our Commercial Manager, Brian Main or our Commercial Executive, Mark Kelly at:
Alternatively, bookings can also be made over the phone by calling 01475 723571

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