Ayr United versus MORTON
Saturday 28 January 2017
Somerset Park, Ayr
Kick-off 5.15pm, Live on BBC Alba
After booking a William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round tie against Rangers with their 2-0 home win over Falkirk last Saturday, Morton turn their attentions back to the bread and butter of the Ladbrokes Championship.
They do so with a match against Ayr United at Somerset Park in a fixture that will kick off at the later time of 5.15pm due to the fact the 90 minutes will be beamed out live across the country by BBC Alba.
Jim Duffy’s side are in fine form, having won their last three outings to stretch their unbeaten run to six fixtures. They have lost just one of their last 13 in all competitions – a run that has seen them climb to third in the table.
This evening’s Ayr, on the other hand, are sat in ninth place, with their last league win coming at home to Queen of the South back on 22 October.
However, the Ton will not be taking the Honest Men lightly after losing 2-1 at Somerset back in September before requiring two late goals to take all three points at Cappielow at the end of October.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “Like all the matches, we know it’s going to be very tight, very difficult and very competitive. We’ve got to go down there with that mindset and make sure that we’re ready for the challenge.
“And it will be a challenge. They had a terrific result in midweek there in the cup, albeit it was on penalties. But it doesn’t matter, when you win in the cup and get a good draw at home in the next round, it gives you a lift.
“That will make it that little bit more difficult because it keeps that optimism up. They’ve had a few draws recently and they’re a side that always makes it difficult for the opposition. That tells you that on their day they’re as good a team as anybody.
“Our two games against them, the away game and the home game, were both very difficult. They were both extremely tight and tough. No one has taken advantage of Ayr – no one has given them a doing or run over the top of them.
“That tells you they’re organised and have good players, so we’ll see how we go. But we’re playing well and we want to try and keep it going for as long as we possibly can. To do that we need to see if we can get another positive result.
“We’re away today after some positive home results, but to be honest, our mentality is just the same: we’ll go and try and play the game that suits us.
“We’re not a team that likes to sit back and absorb pressure; we try and compete evenly with the opposition and if we can play to our best, we are confident we can get a good result.”
There is good news and bad news on the availability front, with midfielder Jamie Lindsay out due to a one-match suspension picked up after an accumulation of six league bookings.
Loan striker Lawrence Shankland, on the other hand, is back in contention after sitting out last weekend’s match with Falkirk due to being cup tied.
Everyone else is expected to be fit and healthy with the exception of long-term absentees Conor Pepper, Jai Quitongo and Kudus Oyenuga.
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 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)
Sat 29 Oct 2016: Morton 2-1 Ayr United (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
A dramatic last-minute winner from Gary Oliver saw Morton come from behind to beat Ayr United 2-1 at Cappielow in October and leapfrog their opponents into sixth place in the process.
Partick Thistle loan striker Kevin Nisbet gave the Honest Men the lead shortly before the break but Jim Duffy’s men showed tremendous character over the course of a scintillating second half.
Despite suffering the sting of seeing a sensational Aidan Nesbitt strike ruled out for a harsh offside, the Sinclair Street side still had the fortitude to score twice in final 17 minutes through Thomas O’Ware and then Oliver to claim all three points.
Referee: Don Robertson
Assistant one: Brian Templeton
Assistant two: Garry Farmer
Fourth official: Steven Kirkland
Entry is pay at the gate and admission prices are:
All – £5
Image: David Bell