MORTON versus St Mirren
Saturday 12 August 2017
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Morton welcome rivals St Mirren to Cappielow this afternoon for what is both our first home Ladbrokes Championship fixture of the 2017/18 season and the opening installment of four Renfrewshire derbies.
Jim Duffy’s side come into the clash off the back of a 0-0 draw with Dumbarton, while Jack Ross’s Saints recorded a 3-1 win over a fancied Falkirk side.
However, what might be more meaningful here is results between the sides last season. In the most recent county clash, back in April, St Mirren ran out emphatic 4-1 winners in Greenock.
Despite finishing three places above their foes and reaching the promotion play-offs, midfielder Ross Forbes has admitted that it is a result that still rankles and something this Ton team want to put right.
Forbes was amongst the side that recorded the first competitive derby victory in 17 years when they marched to a 3-1 win last November, and he and everyone associated with the club will be hoping to savour the sweet taste of success again today.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “It’s a terrific game to look forward to. We had a tough task at Dumbarton last week, but when you get a home game against St Mirren with the crowd and the atmosphere, it really tells you that the season is up and running.
“It is a game that always brings a level of adrenaline to the players and excitement amongst the supporters. Those are the games you always look forward to more than anything else.
“You don’t need to psych the players up, you don’t need to talk to them about commitment or concentration or any of these sorts of things. The game itself impacts upon that.
“If anything, you have to make sure that they stay focused and disciplined because they can get caught up in the occasion at times. So, we know it’s a different proposition this afternoon.
“Jack Ross has, quite rightly, got a lot of plaudits for the way St Mirren have been revamped since he has come in. They’ve got a lot of talent at their disposal this season, a really strong squad.
“We’ve had a number of injuries but we’re getting there. The defence is an area that we’ve been decimated. Despite that, the players have worked hard to do the best they can in the circumstances, and they have kept three cleansheets in five matches.
“Ricki Lamie came back in last week, Gary Harkins is back available again after suspension, Gary Oliver is still not 100 per cent but he’ll certainly be involved in the squad, as will Thomas O’Ware.
“Having Thomas and the two Garys back available again and in the squad gives us more strength in depth and that’s important for us.
“As I said earlier, this is the game that brings home that this is the new season up and running – and the players have to give it everything they’ve got to see whether it’s good enough to get the points.”
Defenders Lee Kilday and Darren Barr miss out, but Thomas O’Ware and Gary Oliver are available for selection following spells on the sidelines. Gary Harkins is also back in the frame after serving a two-match suspension.
Development squad goalkeeper Jamie McGowan came through the Saints youth ranks while Mark Russell and Scott Tiffoney started out at St Mirren Boys’ Club.
Summer signing Gary Harkins spent the 2013/14 season on St Mirren’s books, making 17 appearances and scoring two goals before spending the second half of the campaign on loan at English League One outfit Oldham Athletic.
Sat 6 Aug 2016: St Mirren 1-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Tue 1 Nov 2016: Morton 3-1 St Mirren (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 31 Dec 2016: St Mirren 1-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Tue 11 Apr 2017: Morton 1-4 St Mirren (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton slipped down to fourth in the Ladbrokes Championship back in April after a hugely disappointing derby defeat in which they lost 4-1 at home to arch-rivals St Mirren.
Both sides came into the fourth and final county clash of the campaign looking for maximum points in order to meet aspirations that have been shaped by the way the season has unfolded.
For the Ton, that meant picking up the win in order to move above Falkirk into second place as they looked to finish as high as possible as well as ultimately nailing down a promotion play-off place.
The Paisley outfit, on the other hand, were battling to stay in the division down at the bottom, and a victory on enemy territory proved priceless in that bid, moving up to eighth with an emphatic triumph.
Referee: Willie Collum
Assistant one: Ralph Gordon
Assistant two: Alan Macfadyen
We would like to urge all supporters to please come along to the ground to purchase or collect match tickets as early as possible this afternoon.
Any fixture against our local rivals is guaranteed to be busy, but with a larger than usual crowd anticipated combined with the issues we have experienced with our season cards and fan cards, this advice takes on more significance.
Fans arriving early will reduce queues both at the ticket office and the turnstiles and ensure speedier entry to the ground for everyone ahead of kick off.
To aid in this, our Sinclair Street ticket office has been open since 11am. Meanwhile, match tickets are also available from the following outlets today:
Smiths of Greenock – Adult tickets only, until 1pm today.
Fans who purchase tickets prior to 1pm today will enjoy a freeze upon last year’s pay-at-the-gate prices and these will be priced at:
Adults – £18
Concessions – £15
Children aged 12-16 – £5
Adult tickets purchased between 1pm and 3pm today and are subject to an additional £2 charge and this will be invested directly into our own youth development programme.
Adults – £20
Concessions – £15
Children aged 12-16 – £5
We are aware that Interstadia’s dedicated club webpage (www.gmfctickets.co.uk) is not fully functional at present and that supporters have been unable to register for a fan card, or apply tomorrow’s derby match to their existing card.
This information has been fed back to our supplier and we have been assured their technicians are working to identify and resolve the issue.
In the meantime, we ask supporters to purchase a match ticket in place of uploading the game to their fan card. Anyone who has already purchased the match via their fan card, however, will be able to use it to gain entry.
Can we please reiterate that there is no cash entry for St Mirren supporters on the day based on advice from our security team, Police Scotland and the Transport Police. This is an all-ticket match.
Image: David Bell