Roy Baines Named First Hall of Fame Inductee of 2024

Greenock Morton are delighted to announce Roy Baines as the first member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2024 and he will be inducted at our end of season Player of the Year & Hall of Fame night on Saturday 4th May.

Signed from Hibernian in August 1972, goalkeeper Roy Baines went on to have two fantastic spells with Morton, during the 1970s and 1980s, punctuated by a two and a half year interlude at Parkhead, between October 1976 and March 1979, where he was one of Celtic’s first-team goalkeepers.

In total, his 335 appearances for Morton, place him second only to David Wylie in the all-time goalkeeping charts, as do his 90 clean-sheets over that period. Significantly 312 of those appearances for Morton were in either the “old” Division One (1972-1975) or the “new” Premier League (1979-1983), making him the Morton goalkeeper with the most top-flight appearances in the club’s 150-year history.

Roy Baines bio by Niall McGilp

Born in Derby, Roy joined Hibs as an 18-year-old in 1968 and played in some big games for the club including four European ties; at the time, Erik Sorensen was Morton’s number one, but coming towards the end of his career, and when Baines became available Morton stepped in to sign him in August 1972. His Cappielow debut on 12th August was disastrous, carried off injured in a League Cup opener against Stranraer, as Morton sunk to a 5-1 defeat. He was out of action until November, missing 15 games, but returned to play the remaining 25 games of the season plus two appearances in a successful Renfrewshire Cup Final against St Mirren.

Over the subsequent two seasons, Morton continued to fight their corner in Division One, with Baines, being coached by Sorensen throughout this time, a virtual ever-present; but a disappointing 17th place finish in 1975 meant that Morton missed the cut for the newly formed 10-team Premier League and instead endured a difficult season in the second tier in 1975/76. Roy paid great tribute to Erik’s coaching, acknowledging that those initial four years were the hardest but most rewarding of his football career.

Roy’s first spell with Morton came to an end in October 1976, after 156 games for the club; Celtic had expressed an interest in signing him, but Morton held out for an inflated transfer fee, which led to a stand-off which took three months to resolve. Roy moved to Parkhead and Andy Ritchie came to Morton, who also received a fee of £12,000. Over the subsequent period, Roy had limited opportunities to shine at Celtic Park, and in March 1979, Morton, now in the Premier League, brought him back to Cappielow for a reported fee of £10,000. Over the next four-plus seasons, Roy was simply outstanding, appearing in League Cup and Scottish Cup semi-finals, both lost in frustrating circumstances, being part of the team that topped the Premier League in the 1979/80 season, but eventually finishing 6th, just missing out on a European spot, but competing effectively with the “big boys” throughout that memorable five season Premier League spell.

He played 199 games for Morton in his second spell, which ended sadly with relegation at the end of 1982/83, and Roy’s subsequent move to St Johnstone, where he played on for 2 more seasons into his mid-30s.

Roy was an outstanding goalkeeper, he was brave and agile, great at dealing with cross balls and an excellent shot-stopper. He could be combative too, once famously spoken to by a Police Inspector in August 1981, for gesturing to the Rangers fans after an Alex Miller penalty ended up in the newly seated Wee Dublin End! Whilst the “Class of ‘79” was previously voted into the Morton Hall of Fame, it is entirely appropriate that Roy, one of Morton’s greatest-ever goalkeepers, should be inducted in his own right.

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