Greenock - Cappielow

East Hamilton Street : PA15 2UA Greenock - Cappielow : Map credit National Library of Scotland Greenock - Cappielow : Image credit Anent Scottish Running
Cappielow is a football stadium, it has been the home ground of Greenock Morton since 1879. The stadium had a banked cinder track around the football pitch that was used for running and cycling. From 1881, the Morton held their annual sports at Cappielow and from 1887 these included bicycle races.

The Morton sports usually included running and bicycle races in conjunction with a league football match. In the 1888 sports, the Octavia Bicycle Club ran a two miles race for their new championship cup.

The Morton sports held on April 25th 1891 attracted a crowd of 3,000 people. The event started with a 2 miles handicap race confined to Greenock riders. This was followed by a football match between Morton and Port Glasgow Athletic. After this, the racing resumed with a 1 mile solid tyre safety handicap and a three miles pneumatic tyre handicap race. The 3 mile event was won by Robert A Vogt, the Glasgow crack, in 9 min 36 sec.

The Greenock Telegraph of August 19th 1892 reported on the Morton sports meeting which included a two miles bicycle handicap race for the Championship of the Octavia BC. The sports the following week also included bicycle race events over one, three and five miles. The newspaper commented that Morton "are to be congratulated for the commendable efforts which they have made to improve the banking of their track. The corners are now much safer and easier negotiated than formerly."

The Scottish Referee of April 17th 1893 reported, with criticism, that Celtic FC had changed the date of their sports to clash with the popular Morton sports.

The Octavia BC promoted a three miles handicap race on May 3rd 1899 and this was the club's last bicycle race event at Cappielow.

The Greenock Police Athletics Club held their annual sports at Cappielow from 1900 which included bicycle racing events. Also from 1900, the Abstainers Bicycle Club held evening race meets at the track. By the mid 1900's Morton had dropped bicycle races from their annual sports. The Greenock Telegraph of December 20th 1900 carried a strange announcement that "Messrs Fletcher and Roy have obtained a lease of the premises formerly occupied by Morton Football Club where they intend to open a branch hiring and repairing establishment. A start was made yesterday to fit up the rooms. The same firm has also arranged for sole use of the club's track for cycle learners." Fletcher and Roy were local cycle merchants at 1 Inverkip Road, Greenock.

In 1900 Morton Football Club were elected to Division One of the Scottish League and built a new pavilion and members' enclosure. This may have made bicycle racing unattractive to the club.

In 1901 the Police sports omitted bicycle races owing to the state of the track. The Abstainers held their club sports at Celtic from 1901, which would seem to indicate that the track at Cappielow was not available.

There seems to have been no bicycle racing at Cappielow in the later 1900's until the 1920's when Highland Games were held which included a bicycle race. It is probable that the games used a grass track at Cappielow.


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Photos : Anent Scottish Running
Maps    : National Library of Scotland