Ayr United versus MORTON
Saturday 10 September 2016
Somerset Park, Ayr
Morton return to league duty tomorrow and face off against Ayr United at Somerset Park with both clubs looking to claim their first three points of the Ladbrokes Championship campaign.
Jim Duffy’s men suffered a disappointing Irn-Bru Challenge Cup exit at the hands of League One Queen’s Park last weekend and will be looking for a significant improvement in their performance.
The Honest Men fared better in their own third round tie, managing to squeeze past Airdrie in extra-time thanks to a 97th-minute winner from new signing Conrad Balatoni.
Ayr are yet to translate their cup form to the league and currently prop up the table having taken one point from their first four fixtures, so both they and the Ton will view this fixture as an opportunity to kickstart their respective Championship campaigns.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “When we started the season well and we’ve had really good results, like down at Kilmarnock or away to Hamilton, I haven’t been singing from the rooftops.
“So when we have a poor result or poor performance like last week then I’m not going to just slaughter them. They were disappointed, we were disappointed, but we just have to better against Ayr United.
“First of all we have to get the tempo and urgency back that we showed in the first seven or eight games. We’ve got to get that back again, and if we get that back I think we can give anyone a game.
“But we have definitely missed that wee bit of urgency in the last couple of games and that’s something we’ve got to find again, and quickly. Last week, we allowed Queen’s Park to fall back into position quite easily really.
“We just weren’t quick enough and the game was a bit flat. We were too pedestrian so we’ve got to do things a lot quicker and a lot sharper. When we play at a higher tempo we’re a better side.
“When we’ve had good results and had good performances this year it’s been when we’ve been playing at a higher tempo and that’s what we’ve got to get back to doing.
“There are no guarantees of winning, but what we should be doing is guaranteeing making it difficult for the opposition.”
Winger Aidan Nesbitt is available again after returning from Irn-Bru Cup duty with Celtic, but Conor Pepper remains sidelined and there are doubts over Derek Gaston and Michael Tidser, who has been unable to train this week due to a knee injury.
Defender Ricki Lamie was able to join in with the development squad on Thursday, though, as he is eased back into full training and has an outside chance of making the matchday squad against Ayr.
Ayr gaffer Ian McCall was manager here at Cappielow at the turn of the millennium, taking charge during a turbulent period from January 2000 to May 2000.
Sat 9 Aug 2014: Ayr United 1-0 Morton (League One)
Sat 18 Oct 2014: Morton 0-1 Ayr United (League One)
Sat 17 Jan 2015: Ayr United 1-1 Morton (League One)
Sat 21 Mar 2015: Morton 2-1 Ayr United (League One)
Last Time Out
Morton staged a miraculous, Houdini-like escape in the closing stages at Cappielow in March 2015 to put their League One title challenge back on track when the clubs last faced off.
Jim Duffy’s men were trailing to a Jon-Paul McGovern free-kick when, with just one second left on the clock, Declan McManus nodded into the net to level things up before Ross Forbes curled a low shot beyond David Hutton to spark bedlam as the Ton snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Referee: John McKendrick
Assistant one: Willie Conquer
Assistant two: Stephen Graham
Entry is pay at the gate and admission prices are:
Adult – £17
Concession – £10
Children Under-16 – £5
Images: David Bell