St Mirren (368) & Morton (369) – Saturday September 26th 2009

"organisers in disarray as no-one turns up to watch the World dwarf-wall building championships..."

"organisers in disarray as no-one turns up to watch the World dwarf-wall building championships..."

Wow – two MORE grounds for the price of one!

Just like two weeks ago when I got to see two Scottish games in one day, I can do it again today, and this time it’s even easier with both St Mirren and Greenock Morton easily reached by rail. I don’t bank, however, on a blocked line and a cancelled train at Glasgow Central which sets my schedule back by 25 minutes or so. Fortunately I bump into a fellow footie fan, an Irish guy called Ken who takes an interest in my ground-collecting passion and reckons he might know of my blog. He also points me in the right direction when I eventually get to Paisley.

This substitute train isn’t going to Paisley St James – the station right next to the new St Mirren Park – so I have a ten-minute power-walk to collect my ticket (which should have been mailed to me but the ticket office fouled up) before getting into the ground with ten minutes to spare. The stadium isn’t very interesting. It’s one of those grounds that – if you were buying from Stadiums-R-Us – it would be in the cut-price section. Four very square, very ordinary stands with no frills. No scoreboard or clock, no Big Screen, just a ground.

Before the game kicks off I check out the snack bar and am thinking about buying a cheese and onion pie when the shutters suddenly power down. People are in the process of being served, and stand there bemused as the serving staff – food and drink in hand – disappear from view.

The game kicks off and the Celtic fans – here in numbers – belt out a song which seems to incur the wrath of the home fans. No doubt it recalls some historic battle or other, long forgotten by most of the UK. The game is reasonably entertaining but you get the feeling that there will only be one winner. A cracking solo goal by Paddy McCourt sets the visitors on the way, and despite St Mirren upping the ante in the second half, a second by Moloney seals the points. I head out of the ground just in time to catch my train at Paisley St James.

Within 25 minutes I’m stepping out at Cartsdyke with a few minutes to spare until kick-off at Cappielow Park. I make the mistake of diving into the first set of turnstiles I come to and end up crammed into one corner of an ancient stand. Too late I realise I’ve gone into the away fans section, and am doomed to spend the whole match cramped into inadequate wooden seating, drooling at the site of the lovely terraces opposite, and behind one goal. Behind the other goal is a curious arrangements of what looks like rows and rows of concrete plinths designed to be sat on. Surely they can’t be comfortable! We’ll never know, because this end is roped off. Presumably only Celtic and Rangers ever get the pleasure.

There’s a mobile burger van just outside the stand and I run the gauntlet of the flesh-eating locals by asking if they’ve got anything without meat. Actually they have – the seemingly-popular Tatty Scones, which don’t look that appetising but are better than a kick up the botty.

This game between Morton and Airdrie – two struggling teams – looks on paper as if its going to be a non-event and for the first half and much of the second it is. The home team’s tactic seems to be use their long ball man and his mighty throws cause havoc amongst the visitors defenders. Unfortunately they also cause havoc amongst the home attackers, so no harm is done. I’m thinking of how I might sum up the game and the thought occurs to me that not only is there no end product, but there’s very little middle product either! Suddenly Morton score and we get ten minutes of urgency from the visitors, to no avail. I vacate my cramped seat, thinking if it had been on a plane I’d have had DVT before leaving UK airspace.

There’s only one place now to finish this latest trip north of the border. You guessed it, my customary pint in the Pot Still before the train journey home.

Programme: St Mirren – £2.50 good value – on sale right outside the ground. Morton (away end) – £2 a bit thin – on sale just inside the main stand

Floodlight pylons: St Mirren – a boring four. Morton – two pylons on one side and three gantries on the roof of the main stand opposite

Club Shop: St Mirren – Main stand, accessed from outside of the ground. Morton – couldn’t see (in the wrong bl**dy end!)

Toilets: St Mirren – underneath the stands. Morton (Away end) – just inside the turnstuiles

Tannoy music: St Mirren – stirring classic rock. Morton – some indie stuff which sounded good

Parakeets: not a sqwuark!

Players with the quirkiest names: St Mirren’s John ‘Harry’ Potter (had to be!)  & Morton’s Carlo ‘Monte Carlo’ Monti

Flo

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10 Responses to St Mirren (368) & Morton (369) – Saturday September 26th 2009

  1. Ken Dockery says:

    Glad you made it in time for the footie and enjoyed (well you know what I mean)it all.
    Did I mention that the two floodlight pylons now installed at Morton’s ground are actually from St Mirrens old Love Street and considering the ‘rivalry’ that exists between them they are not the Morton fan’s favourite piece of architecture. It will get worse though because one of the old Love street stands was also purchased by Morton and will shortly cover that ridiculous away end at Cappieow.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Harry Wragg says:

    “Behind the other goal is a curious arrangements of what looks like rows and rows of concrete plinths designed to be sat on. Surely they can’t be comfortable! We’ll never know, because this end is roped off. Presumably only Celtic and Rangers ever get the pleasure.”

    The concrete plinths do have a plank of wood on them, but no they ain’t that comfortable (but infintey better than the cramped main stand where your knees go into the back of the person in front, and worse the person behind you has their knees in your back).

    Oh, and it is also opened up when the likes of Partick Thistle (the REAL Glasgow football club) come calling.

    I also believe it is used when St Mirren play them.

    Great review otherwise of the Greenock and Paisley ‘match experiences’.

    Keep up the good work, great reads, respect.

  3. rusty nail (Kilmarnock fan) says:

    Out of the 2 grounds I much prefer a trip to Cappielow as it still retains a sense of atmosphere. The shed is class, I just wish it housed away fans also as it used to do, in full voice it can be quite impressive.
    The main stand is a joke though and the locals can be somewhat aggressive if you stray off the right path (don’t whatever you do wander into the scheme behind the ground to buy something at the shops, you may never be see again). Behind the goal was built for the wrong town, certainly not somewhere that rains constantly.

    St.Mirren new ground is woeful, I feel sorry for the good folk of Paisley who had a famous, old but atmospheric stadium. They had a shed similar to Mortons and the noise from that was equally impressive. Even when the seated behind the goals they managed to retain the feel of a football ground, now sadly gone forever.
    It also has the disadvantage of having no pubs near it, unlike Love Street which had a good choice pre-match.

  4. gmfc1874 says:

    The club shop at Cappielow actually takes the form of a big trailer thing on Sinclair Street, although if you entered from behind the “Wee Dublin End” (the bit with the benches), you probably wouldn’t have seen it. I’m not sure if the wee office that previously housed the shop still operates or not, but otherwise the shop is in Greenock town centre:)

  5. RoyGBiv (stirling albion) says:

    New St Mirren Park is a fantistic wee ground. It has all the expected Mod cons and more, even electronic ticketing. With part of the main stand still to be fitted out there will be improvement in the (near) future, possibly even a pub. St Mirren also own all the land between the away stand and the railway line, so room for the complex to expand. I think your “cut price section” comment is a bit harsh on a club who have a fully functional, modern, fit for purpose stadium. You seem to give these old dilapidated sheds and rustbuckets better reviews, but they hardly lend themselves to families with kids to watch the beautiful game from.

  6. rusty nail (Kilmarnock fan) says:

    RoyGBiv said:”New St Mirren Park is a fantistic wee ground. It has all the expected Mod cons and more, even electronic ticketing. With part of the main stand still to be fitted out there will be improvement in the (near) future, possibly even a pub. St Mirren also own all the land between the away stand and the railway line, so room for the complex to expand. I think your “cut price section” comment is a bit harsh on a club who have a fully functional, modern, fit for purpose stadium. You seem to give these old dilapidated sheds and rustbuckets better reviews, but they hardly lend themselves to families with kids to watch the beautiful game from”

    He probably gives better reviews to ‘old delapidated sheds and rustbuckets’ due to them actually being arenas for football, not souless life less stadiums.
    You can have all the mod cons you want but without character and atmosphere a ground is nothing, and I should know all about dead atmospheres frequenting Rugby Park. This move will result in one thing long term….lower crowds, once the novelty has gone you will realise you don’t want your day out akin to going to the pictures.

  7. gm7something says:

    Cappielow Park has something these soulless new all-seated LEGO stadiums will never have..an atmosphere !!!!!! you were unlucky in your choice of seating area, the previous comments condemning the Stand are true, it’s been built by and measured by micro sized people, the Cowshed is the place to be…terracing and not seats are the way forward, I hate those tinbox grounds……Cappielow may be old but it reeks of football and passion……plus we must have the best playing surface in Scotland bar none..

  8. RoyGBiv (stirling albion) says:

    There is one difference, New Love st isn’t a huge white elephant like Rugby Park, New Love St isn’t 6 times the size of the local fan base like Rugby Park is and the only reason it doesn’t have “character” is because it is new. This “character” you talk about takes time. But at least St Mirren are on a VERY sound financial footing, along with their new state of the art training complex, unlike most clubs. I would take that over “character” at Forthbank for my own club any day.

  9. Ken Dockery says:

    rusty. How did Killie ever envisage filling Rugby Park? Was it a ‘Fleeting’ pipe dream or what. Having said that, I’ve always enjoyed going to a game there especially for the European matches. Long time ago, I know!

  10. Ton1874 says:

    Please don’t use the term ‘Fleeting’, it reminds me that we have Colin Stewart in goals…

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