Betfred Cup, quarter-final
MORTON versus Dundee United
Tuesday 20 September 2016
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Over 35 years have come and gone since Morton last competed in a national cup semi-final against Rangers in 1981 but the current team have earned themselves a crack at ending that long wait at Cappielow tonight.
Jim Duffy’s men host fellow Championship club Dundee United as they bid to book their place in last four, and they received a timely boost ahead of the highly-anticipated final eight tie having beaten Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 on Saturday.
Goals from Gary Oliver and Jai Quitongo saw the end of a sequence of three successive defeats in all competitions, while there were contrasting fortunes for the Arabs as their four-game unbeaten run was halted by a 3-1 loss away at Falkirk.
Dundee United have history on their side, though, having not lost a match against the Sinclair Street side since suffering a 1-0 defeat here at Cappielow on 30 January 1982, meaning the Ton will have to end two long-standing hoodoos to make it to the national stadium.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “What’s happened in the past and what the history is not something we can affect; all we can do is try and win the match tonight. It’s for the historians and the media to look at what it means or what it doesn’t mean.
“For me, it’s about trying to build confidence and gain a bit of consistency. These are the things that if you manage to get a result then that will help towards that.
“It has been very frustrating for us at this moment in time because we have can’t get consistency in the team selection because of injuries. It’s one significant injury in one specfic key area, which is defensively.
“When you lose the like of Lee Kilday, Ricki Lamie, Michael Tidser, Conor Pepper, and Derek Gaston … these are very, very important players for us. To have them all missing at the one time is such a stretch on our resources.
“On Saturday, we had Jamie McDonagh playing as a right-back, Michael Doyle playing as a left-back, and Gavin Gunning making his debut – so that’s the reason why I thought Saturday’s performance and result was absolutely terrific.
“If we can get that type of appetite, spirit and quality again then I’m sure it will be a keenly contested cup tie and there’s every chance we can win the match.”
Club captain Lee Kilday is looking at a number of weeks out after suffering ankle ligament damage in Saturday’s win over Dunfermline Athletic at Cappielow and joins fellow defender Ricki Lamie and Michael Tidser on the sidelines.
Although Conor Pepper is working towards his comeback, he is still short of being ready to return to action. Derek Gaston, though, is closer and has an outside chance of being involved in tonight’s quarter-final.
Left-back Mark Russell is back in contention after completing his one-match suspension on Saturday while new signing Gavin Gunning is available to play against his former club.
Prior to signing with the club last week, defender Gavin Gunning was most recently on the books at Dundee United, making 22 appearances in the Premiership last term in what was his second spell at Tannadice.
Striker Kudus Oyenuga signed a three-year deal with the Tangerines after impressing on trial in 2013 and made one first-team appearance as well as spending time out on loan at Boreham Wood and Cowdenbeath.
Sat 16 Dec 1995: Morton 1-2 Dundee United (First Division)
Tue 27 Feb 1996: Dundee United 4-0 Morton (First Division)
Sat 4 May 1996: Morton 2-2 Dundee United (First Division)
Tue 23 Sep 2003: Dundee United 3-1 Morton (League Cup, second round)
Last Time Out
It is over 12 years since the two clubs met and, by coincidence, that clash was also a League Cup tie, albeit one staged at Tannadice rather than Cappielow. Despite a spirited Morton performance in which midfielder John Maisano stood out in midfield, the Tangerines progressedwith a 3-1 win.
Peter Weatherson scored for the visitors but goals from Andy McLaren, who would later play for the Ton, and a Jim McIntyre double were enough to see Ian McCall’s men through to the third round.
Referee: Andrew Dallas
Assistant one: David McGeachie
Assistant two: Sean Carr
Fourth official: Stephen Finnie
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
As per our news item last week, we are also further trialing our new ticketing system during tonight’s game. For full details see here.