There's something more appealing about replays being played in the following mid-week to the original tie. I don't know what it is, but the modern version of a ten day break just seems to take the thrill out of it, especially if there's a league game in between.
In fact, I'm still in favour of multiple, as-many-times-as-it-takes replays. Never mind this noncy extra time lark. Scottish Cup quarter final fifth replay: Morton 2-3 Motherwell, after 0-0, 1-1, 1-1 and 2-2 draws. That would have increased value for money in the cup video wouldn't it? The semi final in our '52 triumph started on March 29 and had replays on April 7 and 9. That would sort the men from the boys!
Anyway, all that stuff was long in the past and we travelled to Greenock knowing that by the end of the night we would either be in the semi or out the cup. After the dull start to the first game, we made the perfect beginning this time. Boydie ran half the length of the pitch before spraying the ball wide to Cooper. He beat his man and got the ball into the box while Boyd continued his run. When Morton finally managed to boot it clear, the ball met with Boyd's forehead and zipped into the net. I think it's safe to assume he didn't know much about it but who cares. The goal would settle nerves and our passage to the semi was now a mere formality.
Er…no. For the rest of the game, every player in a Morton shirt played above themselves and it was them who looked like the Premier side. Ally Maxwell did exceptionally well to hold onto two awkward shots as finger nails dwindled in the 'Well enclosure.
Despite not making too many clear cut chances, it seemed inevitable that Morton would equalise. When they did, it was not surprise who scored. John Gaughan had left Motherwell after ten seasons and was now playing for Morton. He was influential all the way through the replay and when Maxie could only palm a shot in the air (looking at it again, this was pitiful goalkeeping) and Johnny G arrived to slam the ball home.
At that point, all the money had to be on Morton to go on and win the game. Maybe in a parallel universe somewhere they did but thankfully in this one we got it together and held on for extra time.
Extra time was an instantly forgettable affair with both sides terrified of making a mistake and losing the game. The only notable incident was an amazing scramble in the Morton box which saw a shot cleared off the post via a foot on the goal line.
The full time whistle went and penalties were here. The 'Well fans who could remember back to the League Cup semi with Celtic a few years ago could scarcely watch. Young things like me loved it!
Derek McInnes scored the first one for Morton before Davie Cooper stuck away ours. Jock Brown had the cheek to call it "not too convincing"! as it rebounded from the corner of the net.
Then some guy called Pickering (Martin or Ally, I forget which) blasted the ball into the 'Well fans behind the goal and the semi was with sight. The next penalties from Iain Ferguson, Rowan Alexander, Stevie Kirk, Martin Doake, Bobby Russell and John Gaughan were textbook perfect. Anytime the team are liable to be involved in a shoot out, they should be made to watch this before hand. So, it all came down to one kick. Colin O'Neill v. David Wylie. Now Colin wasn't one for subtlety in his general play and he didn't hold back with his penalties either. He thumped it into the corner with such ferocity the net almost came off and sparked wild celebrations amongst the 'Well fans. His own celebratory gymnastics are now legendary but look closely at your video the next time you watch it. In an attempted hand spring he actually lands on his head. And you wonder why he was called Psycho?
A late night was had by all but 'Well fans staggered into work the next day tired but happy. Celtic? Bring them on!
|Cup Win 1991 Index|