Renfrewshire Cup Final
Saturday 26th July, Kick-off 3pm
Cappielow Park, Greenock
From oohing and ahhing at Lionel Messi in Murrayfield, to dodging bottles and flying bricks at Cartsdyke railway station. As Alan Latchley once said, “Football is, is, she’s a cruel mistress. She’s…she’s more than a mistress. She’s a wife, she’s a mother, she’s a daughter, she’s an errant child. She’s a… she’s a… she can make you laugh, she make you cry. She can bring tears to me eyes.”
Thinking I might be late for the kick-off as I got the train I realised I certainly wouldn’t be the only one as the noise from the platform at Paisley Gilmour Street indicated that there were plenty of St. Mirren fans cutting it fine also. The noise transferred onto the train as the Buddies cheered their new ground as we passed Paisley St. James and the chanting turned into some light hearted banter as some Morton fans got on at Port Glasgow.
My intention for going to these games was always to go into the home end. I’m essentially a neutral for most games, but my assumption was always to sit with the home fans. However travelling to and from the game with a large number of St. Mirren fans I decide it’s probably a good idea to go into the away end today.
The Renfrewshire Cup is played out between Morton, St. Mirren and the two amateur teams who make the final of the Renfrewshire Victoria Cup. The two amateur sides each play one of the senior sides in the semi-finals. So more often than not it’s a formality that St. Mirren and Morton contest the final. This season Morton won their semi-final against Carlton YMCA 9-0.
It’s really just a glorified friendly, but the fact that these two teams play in different divisions means that it’s about the only chance the fans get to enjoy a local derby match. Both sets of supporters seemed well up for it, but I couldn’t help but feel that some of the supposed hatred is really a bit forced.
The opening goal for Morton was a weak one. A cross that should have been cut out was poked home from close range by Iain Russell. St. Mirren levelled things with a header from Marc McAusland a few minutes later just as the Morton fans were in full flow taunting their Paisley neighbours. That’s never a good moment for a supporter. Right in the middle of a song celebrating your superiority you’re made to look foolish and several hundred people immediately clam up.
The match was anything but a thriller. Although it had its moments it was mainly a midfield battle with the odd long ball thrown in. Both teams had their chances to wrap it up, but the game petered out to a draw, meaning that we went straight to penalty kicks.
Morton missed their first kick. All the others were scored until, on their fourth penalty, St. Mirren’s Tom Brighton also missed. Now we were into sudden death. On the sixth kick, needing it to level the tie, Morton’s Peter Weatherson saw his kick saved by Mark Howard.
So that was it, 5-4 to the men from Paisley. There was a brief presentation, then the team posed for photographs and sheepishly displayed the trophy to the fans a good twenty-five yards away.
So to the journey home and Cartsdyke train station. By the time I got there the platform for the Glasgow train was already full, but that didn’t stop more people pushing onto it. On the other side of the tracks a smaller number of Morton supporters had gathered awaiting the Gourock train.
There then followed quite a bit of taunting and singing. The police presence was then quite happy to look on as frequent bottles, bricks and rocks were hurled across the train lines at the huddled St. Mirren support.
“Is there no rocks this side of the platform?” a St. Mirren fan was heard to mutter as we all ducked for cover. When the train arrived the rock and bottle throwing increased as everyone attempted to push and shove our way on. I held my bag over my head as a makeshift hard-hat.
“Let the weans through!” shouted one self-appointed hero of the hour. “Let the weans through!” he cried again, this time forcefully pushing away a man attempting to usher his terrified young daughter onto the train.
“There’s weans here!” a woman shouted at him, in an attempt to get him to stop hindering the very people he was loudly proclaiming to help.
As it was we all got on to the cattle-truck-like conditions inside the train without further incident, although there was an unconfirmed report that a policeman had his walkie-talkie stolen by a St. Mirren fan.
There is a report of the game on the St. Mirren website.
I have some photographs here.
Down below there is some shaky footage of the penalty shoot-out complete with impromptu commentary, although the guy doing it sounds like he has the voice and the patter for it. If you look very closely you can see me pop up in the clip a couple of times. The screenshots are underneath.
Down below is some footage of the baiting at Cartsdyke station. It’s recorded by one of the boys on the Morton side of the tracks. You’ll notice that as soon as a missle hits his side of the platform the filming stops.
Morton: Stewart, McGuffie, Walker, Weatherson, Paartalu, Masterton, McAlister, Russell, Wake (Greacen 12), Newby, Finlayson. Subs Not Used: McAnespie, McGeoch, Mitchell.
Scorer: Russell (23)
St Mirren: Howard, Barron, Miranda (Brighton 75), Mason, Potter, McAusland, Murray (Brady 67), Dorman, Mehmet (Dargo 89), Wyness (Hamilton 67), McGinn. Subs Not Used: O’Donnell, Smith.
Scorer: McAusland (26)
Referee: Iain Brines