Dundee United versus MORTON
Friday 12 May 2017
Tannadice Park, Dundee
Morton and Dundee United do it again at Tannadice tonight in the second leg of the Premiership promotion play-off quarter-final to decide who will face Falkirk next week.
The Ton travel north knowing what they have to do and that is win on the night after losing the first leg 2-1 at Cappielow on Tuesday.
Jim Duffy’s side took the game by the scruff of the neck right from kick-off and went in at the break leading 1-0 thanks to defender Thomas O’Ware’s early header.
The Tangerines, however, responded in kind after the break and turned the tie in their favour with second-half strikes from Simon Murray and Blair Spittal.
It meant that Ray McKinnon’s men host the Ton tonight with a slender advantage – but one that the Cappielow club will believe they are capable of turning back in their favour with maximum effort.
Although the hosts levelled late on to snatch a share of the spoils in a league fixture back at the end of February, Morton proved what they are capable of at Tannadice. A similar performance tonight might well prove good enough.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “We’re going to go up there positive and give it a real go. Obviously we’ve spoken to the players about that.
“We gave everything in the first half on Tuesday, and played very well in the first half, and I think that part was forgotten about to an extent. It was a game of two halves, and it wasn’t as though they dominated 90 minutes.
“For me, we did very, very well in the first half, and therefore if we can emulate that or close to that performance then we are capable of turning it around.
“The mood is good amongst the players. You obviously get the immediate disappointment because we were in the lead and lost that.
“But the next day we came in and Jamie McDonagh had just celebrated his 21st birthday a couple of days previously, and when it’s a significant birthday, they’ve got to sing.
“So Jamie had his One Direction moment and the boys joined in. That livened the place up a little bit and we got the smiles back again.
“And that’s what you’ve got to do at this time of the season: it’s not about frowns, it’s about staying relaxed and going up there with a determination to try and achieve the desired result.
“We understand they’ll come out the traps and try and put the game to bed, but we’ve got to go up there ready for it and give it everything.
“There’s a terrific togetherness in this squad. There has been from day one and it’s still there, so the guys will regroup, roll their sleeves up, and I’m absolutely positive they’ll give a good account of themselves.”
Long-term absentees Jai Quitongo and Conor Pepper remain sidelined as does skipper Lee Kilday (ankle). Goalkeeper Bryn Halliwell (thigh) is also expected to miss out.
Aidan Nesbitt, however, is fit again. The Celtic loanee missed Tuesday’s first leg due to a chest infection, but he was able to train on Thursday and is available for selection.
Striker Kudus Oyenuga spent two seasons at Tannadice between 2013 and 2015, making one first-team appearance for Dundee United before going out on loan to Boreham Wood and Cowdenbeath.
Sat 19 Nov 2016: Morton 0-0 Dundee United (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 25 Feb 2017: Dundee United 1-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 6 May 2017: Morton 1-1 Dundee United (Ladbrokes Championship)
Tue 9 May 2017: Morton 1-2 Dundee United (Ladbrokes Premiership promotion play-off, first leg)
Last Time Out
Morton lost 2-1 to Dundee United in the first leg of the Premiership promotion play-off in a real game of two halves at Cappielow on Tuesday.
The Ton stormed out of the blocks and took an early lead through prolific defender Thomas O’Ware, but the Tangerines responded in kind after the break.
Goals from Simon Murray and Blair Spittal turned the game entirely on its head and left Jim Duffy’s men requiring a win at Tannadice in tonight’s return leg.
Referee: Andrew Dallas
Assistant one: Jordan Stokoe
Assistant two: John McCrossan
Fourth official: Greg Aitken
Entry is pay at the gate and admission prices are:
Concessions (Over 65, Under 18, full-time student with valid card): £6
Image: David Bell