MORTON versus Falkirk
Saturday 18 February 2017
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Familiar foes Morton and Falkirk face off at Cappielow tomorrow in what will be the second meeting between the clubs inside the space of a month and the fourth in all competitions this term.
After Ladbrokes Championship draws on Sinclair Street and the Falkirk Stadium, the Ton triumphed 2-0 in here a Scottish Cup tie in January with an impressive performance.
Since then the Bairns have won all three subsequent fixtures and head to Greenock on a real high after beating promotion play-off rivals Dundee United 3-0 on home turf.
Jim Duffy’s men, meanwhile, have had mixed fortunes, beating Ayr United 4-1 and Raith Rovers 1-0 as well as losing 3-0 away at Queen of the South and 2-1 at Rangers in the Scottish Cup.
However, besides the Doonhamers defeat, it has largely been a positive period for the Ton and they also go into tomorrow’s encounter in confident mood.
Just as it was when the sides met in the cup a month ago, the clubs are sat handily placed in third and fourth in the league, and both have an extra incentive of being able to climb ahead of Dundee United into second place should they claim the victory.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “Last Sunday we played Rangers at Ibrox in the Scottish Cup and eventually went out of the competition following a narrow 2-1 loss.
“We took the result as a disappointment but if you look at the performance over the 90 minutes I think we gave an outstanding account of ourselves. We put so much into the game and played well.
“We turn our attentions back to league duty and a match against Falkirk, who we played as recently as a few weeks ago. We’re very familiar with each other so there shouldn’t be anything too unexpected as both groups of players will know each other very well.
“They have been very tight matches over the last couple of seasons and I would anticipate similar. Since we beat them in the cup they’ve won every game, a really terrific run of form since that cup tie, including a convincing 3-0 win against Dundee United.
“So Falkirk are in outstanding form and it’s going to be extremely difficult for us, but I think it’s a really good game to look forward to after playing Rangers last weekend.
“For that we had the big build up, the crowd and the spotlight, and so I always think that it’s a positive to have another important game ahead of you.
“That’s because you can sometimes be a wee bit flat if you don’t have that – but it will certainly not be the case. It is a really exciting match in prospect.
“We play a team that is next to us in the league – third versus fourth – and I think that tells its own story in terms of where we are.
Both teams will be right up for the challenge and I think that makes for a really exciting match in prospect.
“We had a terrific support at Ibrox and if they can give the players the same backing and encouragement, even if things aren’t go so well, I think they csn have a big part to play.”
Long-term absentees Conor Pepper, Jai Quitongo, Gary Oliver are all out, while Thomas O’Ware (ankle), Jamie Lindsay (calf), and Michael Doyle (ankle) are rated doubtful.
However, Lawrence Shankland, who was cup-tied, for last week’s match versus Rangers, is available for selection again.
Falkirk’s Canadian central defender Luca Gasparotto spent last season on loan at the Ton from parent club Rangers and was a standout performer in his 23 starts and two substitute appearances.
Since our last meeting, former Cappielow midfielder Joe McKee – one of our standout performers in the Championship last term in what was his third full season for the club – signed for the Bairns until the end of the campaign following his release by Carlisle United.
Current Ton assistant manager Craig McPherson played for the Bairns between 2002 and 2006, finishing his career there and enjoying a stint as academy director before returning home to Cappielow as Jim Duffy’s number two.
Sun 1 May 2016: Falkirk 1-0 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 13 Aug 2016: Morton 1-1 Falkirk (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 5 Nov 2016: Falkirk 1-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 21 Jan 2017: Morton 2-0 Falkirk (William Hill Scottish Cup)
Last Time Out
Morton booked their place in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup with an extremely impressive 2-0 win over Falkirk at Cappielow last month.
The victory stretched the Ton’s stunning home record to 17 matches undefeated on home turf, two of which include matches against the Bairns.
It was the first time the sides sat third and fourth in the Championship were separated on the day, though, with goals from Jamie Lindsay and Ross Forbes securing a fifth-round tie against Rangers.
Referee: Greg Aitken
Assistant one: David Roome
Assistant two: Daniel McFarlane
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