Betfred Cup, semi-final
MORTON versus ABERDEEN
Saturday 22 October 2016
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Kick-off 12.15pm | Live on BT Sport 1
Over 35 years have come and gone since Morton last competed in a national cup semi-final against Rangers at Celtic Park in 1981 and a further two years since contesting a final-four tie at Hampden, which was also, coincidentally, against tomorrow’s opponents, Aberdeen.
All roads lead to Hampden and Jim Duffy’s side head to the national stadium in fine fettle, having won four of their last five matches including last Saturday’s 5-0 demolition of league leaders Queen of the South.
However, despite a historical hoodoo over the Dons during Sir Alex Ferguson’s Pittodrie reign, the Cappielow club are without a win against them in 18 years and 21 attempts and so will have to upset the odds to reach what would be the club’s first national final since 1963.
Former Sinclair Street star Derek McInnes leads his side south from the Granite City on the back of a five-match winning streak and as strong favourites to reach their first final since winning the competition in season 2013/14.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “Reaching the semi-final has been a surprise, obviously a very pleasant surprise because it’s happened so rarely. There are a whole generation of fans who haven’t experienced Morton getting to this stage in a major cup tournament.
“With all due respect, there have probably been better Morton teams in the past that haven’t achieved it, and in a more level playing field. Now with the way the leagues are and finances are for clubs, it’s very difficult for clubs to compete with the bigger clubs, but we’re there to try and do that and will be the ultimate challenge.#
“The gulf in class is enormous between us and Aberdeen and for us to be in the semi-final will be a fantastic day for our supporters. But the most important thing from my point of view is that the players perform.
“You know if Aberdeen turn up and their ‘A’ game is there – and maybe even their ‘B’ game – then fair enough, but we have to perform and that’s my emphasis.
“We have been playing well this last wee while. The last five or six weeks or so. I wouldn’t be foolish to see we could see last Saturday’s result coming, because we couldn’t.
“I could foresee a win – but the manner of the performance, the level of the performance, was exceptional. There is no question about that, and hopefully leading up to this semi-final that will give the players a belief and confidence and spring in their step in the lead up to the game.
“No disrespect to Queen of the South, we know Aberdeen are a different proposition, but our players know if everybody performs at their very best, and show that same composure in front of goal, there’s a chance we might spring on Saturday.”
In a major blow, influential midfielder Ross Forbes misses out through a suspension incurred due to two bookings picked up in the knock-out stages, while striker Thomas Orr is cup tied due to appearing in the competition while on loan at Livingston.
Long-term injury victims Conor Pepper and Michael Tidser both remain sidelined but defenders Gavin Gunning, Lee Kilday and Ricki Lamie are all back in contention after recovering from injury.
Teenage Morton striker Jai Quitongo, who has helped fire his side to this stage of the competition with goals against Kilmarnock, Berwick Rangers, Hamilton Accies and Dundee United, spent one season at Pittodrie as a youth player before leaving due to homesickness.
By contrast, Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes spent nine seasons with the Ton as a player between 1987 and 1995 and made over 250 appearances in all competitions before moving to Rangers.
Tue 23 Aug 1988: Morton 1-2 Aberdeen (League Cup, third round)
Sat 24 Feb 1990: Aberdeen 2-1 Morton (Scottish Cup, fourth round)
Tue 3 May 1996: Morton 3-7 Aberdeen [AET] (League Cup, third round)
Wed 22 Aug 2012: Morton 0-2 Aberdeen [AET] (League Cup, second round)
Last Time Out
Morton and Aberdeen faced off at Cappielow in the second round of the same competition back in August 2012. After a spirited and goalless 90 minutes, Allan Moore’s Ton side lost out in extra-time due to goals from Gavin Rae and Scott Vernon.
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Assistant one: Alastair Mather
Assistant two: Gordon Crawford
Fourth official: Euan Anderson
Entry is all ticket and these are priced at:
Prices are as follows:
South Stand Lower Section J1
South Stand Lower Section I6
North Stand Section D
East Stand Section F1 & F2
North Stand Wheelchair Users
South Stand Wheelchair Users