MORTON versus Falkirk
Saturday 30 September 2017
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Morton welcome managerless Falkirk to Cappielow tomorrow on matchday eight of the Ladbrokes Championship campaign for what promises to be a fascinating tussle.
The Bairns’ early-season struggles – they sit ninth in the table without a league win – has been one of the major surprised thus far this term, and Peter Houston paid for that slow start with his job on Sunday.
Technical director Alex Smith will be in charge this weekend after taking over in the interim and will be assisted by senior players Mark Kerr and Lee Miller and academy director Michael McArdle.
Often in these instances, a group of players will be re-energised by a change of management and Jim Duffy has warned that will make Falkirk dangerous opponents despite their position.
The Ton, on the other hand, have been in positive form of late having enjoyed impressive back-to-back wins against Dunfermline Athletic and Queen of the South.
Although his side lost 2-1 at Dundee United last weekend, the Ton boss was pleased with the overall display and believes a similar performance could be enough to claim maximum points on Sinclair Street tomorrow.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “I thought the players performed well at Dundee United last weekend. It wasn’t exceptional, but they gave absolutely everything to try and get the points.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t come back from Tannadice with anything to show for those efforts, which I felt was harsh.
“But if we can reproduce that commitment and concentrate a little bit more at both ends of the pitch then that will give us a platform and I don’t think we’ll be too far away tomorrow.
“Falkirk haven’t started the season as well as they would have hoped, but I was really disappointed to see Peter Houston losing his job.
“It just shows how precarious a line of work that football management is these days. Peter has done a phenomenal job there over the last few years.
“But sometimes when a manager loses his job, players, for one reason or another, maybe responding to a new face and voice, seem to find an extra wee spark.
“Invariably, they find something that may have been missing previously. That might well be the case again and we’ll just have to wait and see.
“Whether it is a temporary or interim situation or there is a permanent manager in charge, there will still be a wee bit of the unknown.
“It is difficult to know how Falkirk will shape up and how they’ll play, but their players, we know. We know them well enough individually.
“We haven’t reached the first quarter yet and, if you look at their squad of players, I’d be surprised if they’re not up there challenging come the end of the season.
“We know it will be tough. Every game between us over the last few years has been very close, very evenly contested, so hopefully we can perform well enough to get the three points today.”
Besides long-term absentee Lee Kilday, manager Jim Duffy says there are also doubts over Jai Quitongo and Michael Tidser.
Striker Quitongo was forced off at Dundee United with a hamstring injury and has been unable to train this week, while midfielder Tidser had been unwell and could miss out.
Ricki Lamie and Thomas O’Ware also missed a couple of days training, Lamie with a back spasm and O’Ware with a groin injury he has been playing through and the pair will be monitored ahead of tomorrow’s match.
Falkirk’s Canadian central defender Luca Gasparotto spent the 2015/16 season on loan at the Ton from parent club Rangers and was a standout performer in his 23 starts and two substitute appearances.
Former midfielder Joe McKee signed for the Bairns following his release by Carlisle United before penning a two-year extension at the end of last term.
Curren Ton top scorer Bob McHugh swapped the Forth Valley for Greenock this summer after two successful seasons at the Falkirk Stadium, where Player-Under-20s boss Darren Barr began his career
Current Cappielow assistant manager Craig McPherson played for the Bairns between 2002 and 2006, finishing his career there and enjoying a stint as academy director.
Manager Jim Duffy was given his managerial break at Brockville when he was handed the reins back in 1988 at just 29 years old.
Sat 5 Nov 2016: Falkirk 1-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 21 Jan 2017: Morton 2-0 Falkirk (William Hill Scottish Cup)
Sat 18 Feb 2017: Morton 2-2 Falkirk (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 18 Mar 2017: Falkirk 0-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Birthday boy Kudus Oyenuga fired Morton to a massive 1-0 away win at Falkirk in front of the BBC Alba cameras back in the middle of March.
Super sub Kudus came off the bench to head home with just over 10 minutes remaining and move his side level with the Bairns on 48 points, and to within seven of league leaders Hibs while holding a game in hand.
Referee: John McKendrick
Assistant one: Kylie Cockburn
Assistant two: David Dunne
See here for tomorrow’s entry arrangements.
Admission prices are as follows:
Adults – £18
Concessions – £15
Children aged 12-16 – £5
Children under 12 (Must be accompanied by an adult) – Free
Image: David Bell