Before each away game, Pars Review looks at the venue we will be travelling to: its history, with rare photos showing changes to the opposition club's stadium over the years, and how it looks now. On Saturday we travel to Cappielow Park, home of Greenock Morton.
Morton Football Club (in 1994 they officially renamed themselves Greenock Morton) was formed in 1874. In 1879 they moved to their current location, Cappielow Park. The stadium was situated opposite the industrial dockyards in Greenock, with the River Clyde in the background. The current main stand was built in 1931, and had wooden bench seats that were eventually replaced by plastic seating in 1998. The photo below shows Cappielow in the 1950s, overlooking the back of the main stand, with the ground's only covered terracing on the opposite side. The flood lights on the main stand and enclosure roofs were new when this photo was taken, having been installed in 1958. The right side of the photo shows the home supporters end terrace, and behind the left goal is the away terrace.
The stadium had very few alterations over several decades. Another view of the covered terracing and part of the away supporters end terracing can be seen in the photo below, taken in 1968, showing Morton (in white) celebrating a goal in the Scottish Cup v Elgin City.
Supporters stand in the away end terracing in the photo below, from the late 1960s, when Cappielow hosted what is believed to be a Scotland v Northern Ireland game (no details of age group). Note the corrugated iron panels laying on the track behind the goal.
In 1978, Morton were promoted to the Premier Division, and for the first time in many tears, part of the stadium was redeveloped, when the away end terracing was replaced with bench seating, which remains to this day. The club's greatest ever player, Andy Ritchie, is seen in the photo below playing against Celtic in 1979, with the away end of the stadium in the background, and part of the main stand to the left.
Below: The stadium today: the home end entrance; and the away end, with the benched embankment visible over the stadium wall.
Two more photos from the current Cappielow: the view from the covered enclosure, with the home end terracing to the left; and the main stand.
Comparing the black and white photo at the beginning of this article, with the picture below, the stadium today (with the exception of the changes noted above) is still recognisable. It has served Greenock for well over 100 years. Minor alterations to modernise certain areas have not greatly altered the stadium's appearance, one of Scottish football's best known venues, and a throwback to how stadiums looked in the past.
Seats are still available on the Dunfermline Athletic Supporters Club bus going to the match at Morton on Saturday. To book, please phone Ruth on 01383 738957 or 07816771219.