MORTON versus Dunfermline Athletic
Saturday 17 September 2016
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Following a month-long absence, Morton are back at Cappielow for a home double-header against Dunfermline Athletic and Dundee United and looking to turn around their fortunes following a run of three successive defeats.
Jim Duffy’s men saw an eight-game unbeaten run ended by Hibs at Easter Road before suffering an Irn-Bru Cup exit at the hands of Queen’s Park and then last week’s 2-1 reverse against Ayr United at Somerset Park.
Matters have not been helped by a catalogue of injuries to key players but the midweek addition of former Dundee United defender Gavin Gunning on a short-term deal is a timely boost ahead of the Pars’ visit to Greenock.
Allan Johnston’s side, meanwhile, have lost four league matches in a row, the latest of which came about in remarkable fashion after they missed three first-half penalties in a 3-1 home defeat against 10-man Dundee United.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “We’re looking forward to it. All the games in this division are highly competitive, and Dunfermline lost to Dundee United in unusual circumstances last weekend. It’s rare that you get three penalties, but to miss them all in one half as well, I’ve never heard of it before.
“But they did play very well and other than some fantastic goalkeeping from Cammy Bell then they would have probably won the match, so it shows they are a good side. They are strong up front with Nicky Clark, Gavin Reilly and players like that. They have some talent.
“For us, I want to try and get back playing to the level I know we can play at. We’ve been off the pace a little bit in the last couple of weeks. I think first half last week we were okay; we competed well and worked hard.
“But losing a goal early on in the second half made it difficult. When you’re not playing as well the confidence can seep away quite quickly in football.
“If you lose goals at key teams in football, the opposition get an extra yard and you lose that wee spark. All of a sudden the game turns on its head.
“So that’s something we’ve got to work at and we’ll keep working hard at that. The attitude of the players has always been really good, they have a real desire to do try and do well, and we’ll see if we can get back on track.
“We’re at home again and it helps if you get that backing. If you get that encouragement even if players do make mistakes then they will be encouraged to try and do it again and do it better, but if there’s a criticism sometimes that means that they get edgy and a bit uptight and rush things and make mistakes.
“It’s about working together. Everybody wants the same thing and we all want to do as well as we possibly can. I think I have some talented young players here, and they will make some mistakes at times, but what they wont do is give up the fight. That’s something that’s been evident right through the time we’ve been here – and it will continue to be evident.”
Ricki Lamie is looking at a longer spell on the sidelines after suffering an injury setback against Ayr United last weekend. The defender was subbed off in the first half at Somerset after aggravating the hamstring problem that has plagued him in recent weeks.
Mark Russell is suspended following his dismissal against the Honest Men, Conor Pepper is on the road to recovery but remains sidelined while Derek Gaston (thigh) and Michael Tidser (knee) are still rated doubtful and likely to miss out.
New signing Gavin Gunning will go straight into the matchday squad.
Midfield playmaker Ross Forbes made the switch from East End Park to Cappielow midway through the 2014/15 season in a deal that saw striker Andy Barrowman move in the opposite direction.
Amongst the Dunfermline ranks are Paul McMullan and David Hutton; the former spent the final two months of last term on loan here at Cappielow from Celtic, while the latter served as back-up goalkeeper to Derek Gaston during season 2012/13.
Sat 20 Sep 2014: Morton 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic (League One)
Sat 25 Oct 2014: Dunfermline Athletic 1-2 Morton (League One)
Sat 24 Jan 2015: Morton 2-0 Dunfermline Athletic (League One)
Sat 28 Mar 2015: Dunfermline Athletic 0-4 Morton (League One)
Last Time Out
Morton recorded a memorable 4-0 win at East End Park on 28 March 2015 to complete a clean sweep of four victories out of four against fellow full-timers Dunfermline in the League One title-winning season of 2014/15.
It took until the final minute of the first half for Stefan McCluskey to break the deadlock, but second-half strikes from Lee Kilday, Declan McManus and Mark Russell saw a rampant Ton surge to a comprehensive victory.
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Assistant one: Paul O’Neill
Assistant two: Craig King
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