Falkirk versus MORTON
Saturday 18 March 2017
The Falkirk Stadium, Falkirk
Morton travel to through to the Forth Valley to meet Falkirk in another massive Ladbrokes Championship match selected for live television coverage by BBC Alba.
Second and third face off in a 5.15pm kick-off that could potentially see Jim Duffy’s men pull level with the Bairns on points should they come out on top at the Falkirk Stadium.
Although it is unlikely considering the previous results this term – three draws and a Ton win in the Scottish Cup – a four-goal margin of victory would see the visitors move into the runner-up spot.
But with the Greenock outfit holding two games in hand, Peter Houston’s side will be intent on picking up the three points on home turf in order to establish a significant gap on their opponents.
A draw, on the other hand, would certainly suit fourth-placed Dundee United as they seek to recover ground at Raith Rovers earlier in the day, as well as table-toppers Hibernian.
And if last month’s meeting between the clubs at Cappielow is anything to by, this latest meeting should provide both those in attendance and the television audience at home 90 minutes of footballing theatre.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “The games all have an extra degree of importance now. Every point is vital at this stage of the season, and we want to finish as high as we can.
“We have been consistent, Falkirk have been consistent, and the games between us have been very close – evenly matched – and all good games. I think all the games have been decent.
“We’ve played them four times already, with the leagues games and the cup game, and I don’t think it will be too much different tomorrow.
“It’s very familiar and it’s very difficult to come up with anything difference because we know each other so well. It’s just about on the day and who performs.
“It’s also about concentration. I mean, if there’s a lapse in concentration in these sorts of games it can often be the difference between winning and losing the match.
“Obviously the 3G pitch can have a bit of a bearing on circumstances, as can the elements as well, because the forecast’s now great.
“So that might play a part, but if we go there with the same attitude as we’ve had all season then we can make it difficult for Falkirk.
“Falkirk have established themselves as one of the main players in this division. They just fell at the final hurdle last year [in their attempt] to get promotion and will obviously be looking to go one better.
“We’re competing up at the top end of the league, but to continue that we need to go to places like Falkirk and perform. So that’s the next challenge ahead of the players.”
Besides long-term absentees Conor Pepper and Jai Quitongo, manager Jim Duffy expects to have full squad to choose from tomorrow.
Kudus Oyenuga has recovered from a dead leg suffered against Queen of the South last weekend, while Gary Oliver honed his match sharpness with an appearance for the Under-20s on Tuesday night.
Left-back Mark Russell had to settle for a place on the bench against the Doonhamers after a late fitness test, but he has recovered from the back problem after a few days rest and should be back in contention.
Falkirk’s Canadian central defender Luca Gasparotto spent last season on loan at the Ton from parent club Rangers and was a standout performer in his 23 starts and two substitute appearances.
Former midfielder Joe McKee signed for the Bairns until the end of the campaign following his release by Carlisle United but missed the 2-2 draw here at Cappielow last month.
Current Ton assistant manager Craig McPherson played for the Bairns between 2002 and 2006, finishing his career there and enjoying a stint as academy director before returning home to Cappielow as Jim Duffy’s number two.
Sat 13 Aug 2016: Morton 1-1 Falkirk (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 5 Nov 2016: Falkirk 1-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 21 Jan 2017: Morton 2-0 Falkirk (William Hill Scottish Cup)
Sat 18 Feb 2017: Morton 2-2 Falkirk (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton and Falkirk shared the spoils at Cappielow back on Saturday 18 February in an action-packed Ladbrokes Championship encounter that had four goals and plethora of talking points.
For the hosts, Thomas O’Ware took his season’s tally into double figures with partner in crime Ross Forbes now on 17 assists and 11 goals after his finding the defender with a free-kick and netting to earn his side the point.
Forbes also struck with the bar with another set-piece, both teams had goals disallowed for handball, three bookings apiece, and the visitors were awarded a second-half penalty over 90 minutes to remember.
Referee: Alan Muir
Assistant one: Alan Mulvanny
Assistant two: Calum Spence
Fourth official: Mike Roncone
Entry is pay at the gate and admission prices are:£18 for adults, £12 for concessions (proof required), £6 for under-18s, and free for under 12s.
Adult – £18
Concession – £12
Under-18s – £6
Child under 12 accompanied by an adult – Free
Image: David Bell