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Programme Review
by Eddie McDowell

On March 22nd 1969 Morton travelled to Hampden Park to take on a Celtic team which only two seasons before had lifted the European Cup. The occasion was the Semi-Final of the Scottish Cup but unlike 1922 there was to be no fairytale result for the 'Ton.

The match programme cost one Shilling (that's 5p for those of you born after 1971!) and contained only eight pages. A couple of pictures of the combatants in action in previous rounds, a brief "how they got here"-type article, a double-page spread containing the teams, a short profile of both managers including photographs. There was also a full-page advert encouraging supporters to fork out for tickets for the Scotland v West Germany match at Hampden the following month. Ticket prices ranged from a wallet-busting 30/- (£1.50) to wallow in luxury of the expensive seats in the South Stand to a paltry 6/- (30p) to stand in the pouring rain on the uncovered terracing.

As we now live in a footballing age when commercialism, advertising and sponsorship is God, it's strange to note that the only commercial advert in the whole programme was on the back page which boldly assured the reader that Wills Goldcrest cigarettes were "generous in size, generous in value" at only 4/6 (22p) for 20.

The Morton team listed in the programme was : Neilsen, Ferguson, Rankine (sic), Jensen, Gray, Strachan, Harper, Allan, Mason, G.Sweeney, Bartram and Coakley.

The Celtic team was quite a good one too: Fallon, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeill, Brogan, Johnstone, Chalmers, Wallace, Auld, Hughes, Clark and Callaghan.

The captains were Billy McNeil for Celtic and Billy Gray for Morton, while the teams were managed by two legends - Jock Stein and Hal Stewart.

Morton had reached the Semi-Final stage by defeating Falkirk (2-1), Stranraer (3-1) and Dundee United (3-2). All these matches were away draws for Morton with the Dundee United result being the most significant as it was the only time Morton were to beat the Arabs that season.

Although Celtic were to win the First Division championship for the fourth time in a row that year , Morton finished the season unbeaten by Celtic in the league. A 1-1 draw at Cappielow in October was to be followed up in April by Morton beating Celtic 4-2 at Parkhead with Per Bartram scoring a hat trick in seven minutes! The last time the clubs met in a Scottish Cup semi-final it was a good day for Morton as well - on March 27th 1948 Morton played Celtic at Ibrox and ran out winners thanks to an Eddie Murphy goal in extra-time.

With current form and recent history on their side Morton were promptly gubbed 4-1 on the day. Celtic met Rangers in the final and won 4-0 to win their twentieth Scottish Cup final.

 

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