MORTON versus Ayr United
Saturday 29 October 2016
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Morton start the second quarter of the league campaign tomorrow looking to avenge their 2-1 loss to Ayr United at Somerset Park on 10 September.
It was an inauspicious afternoon down in Ayrshire and the Ton’s third consecutive defeat in competitive matches, following reverses at Hibs and Queen’s Park, and their fifth without victory.
However, since then there has been a significant turnaround in the team’s fortunes having won four of their last six outings and reaching a Betfred Cup semi-final.
They may have lost 2-0 to Aberdeen in last week’s final-four fixture after conceding two second-half goals, but the players did the club proud with their efforts against a top Premiership outfit.
And when you consider they registered a sensational 5-0 win away at then-league leaders Queen of the South in their last league outing, Jim Duffy’s men have plenty of cause for optimism ahead of tomorrow’s Cappielow clash.
So too do Ian McCall’s men, though, as a side that have won their last three, are unbeaten in four and without conceding a goal, and so promise to be as tough a test as they were last time out.
Ayr lie sixth in the table one place ahead of the Ton, and the Greenock men will be out to collect the three points that would see them leapfrog their opponents in the table.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “When you have a lot of games they come thick and fast and it gives you the impression it only feels like a few weeks ago that we played Ayr last.
“But in a footballing aspect, there have been a lot of games played since then and Ayr United have been very consistent this year, grown in confidence in the league and shown they are more than capable of holding their own.
“They are very difficult to score against, make few errors, and are a very good side in all departments: solid defensively, really good midfield, and they’ve got talented players in the frontline. All that makes a good team.
“But in saying that I think we’re playing well at the same time. We’ve been consistent in our performances. The Queen of the South result and performance was terrific but was overshadowed by the semi-final a little bit.
“This week is much more low key than the semi. There isn’t the publicity, the interviews, the TV, and the preparation all leading into the game.
“It’s natural for this to be lower in profile, but this is what we’re used to normally and is more familiar and I don’t think last week will affect our players in any shape or form.
“If anything, the display we had against Aberdeen should encourage them to keep wanting to maintain that high level of performance, and hopefully that will be the case.
“I think tomorrow will be another tight match and it will be up to us to see whether we can find enough to win and collect the three points on the day. We’ve got to be ready for the challenge and earn the right.”
Influential midfielder Ross Forbes and striker Thomas Orr are both available after serving a suspension and being cup tied respectively.
There has been positive news on the injury front of late with Lee Kilday, Ricki Lamie and Michael Tidser all seeing game time at Under-20 level and available for selection.
However, Gavin Gunning is struggling with the hamstring problem that saw him substituted against Raith and then suffering towards the end of the Betfred Cup semi against the Dons. Long-term injury victim Conor Pepper remains sidelined
Ayr manager Ian McCall was gaffer here in Greenock at the turn of the millennium, taking charge during a turbulent period from January 2000 to May 2000 and finishing eighth in the First Division.
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)
Sat 10 Sep 2016: Ayr United 2-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton’s search for their first Ladbrokes Championship win of the campaign went on after losing 2-1 to Ayr United at Somerset Park back on Saturday 10 September.
Goals from Paul Cairney and Alan Forrest gave the Honest Men a 2-0 lead that proved enough to claim all three points despite Ross Forbes giving 10-man Ton, who saw Mark Russell sent off, hope by pulling one back late on.
It was the Ton’s third consecutive defeat in competitive matches following reverses at Hibs and Queen’s Park, but was addressed the following weekend with a 2-1 win over Dunfermline Athletic.
Referee: Mat Northcroft
Assistant one: Andy Milne
Assistant two: Paul O’Neill
Entry is pay at the gate and admission prices are:
Adult – £18
Concession – £15
Parent and child under 16 – £18
Child aged 12 to 16 – £5
Child under 12 accompanied by an adult – Free
Image: David Bell