MORTON versus Hibernian
Saturday 17 December 2016
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Kick-off 5.15pm, Live on BBC Alba
Morton host league leaders Hibernian at Cappielow this evening in a highly-anticipated Ladbrokes Championship fixture that will be screened live on BBC Alba.
Neil Lennon’s outfit made a statement of intent ahead of the clash by bringing in Celtic star Kris Commons on an emergency loan until 15 January 2017.
The Ton, on the other hand, are missing two key players in injured duo Jai Quitongo and Jamie Lindsay after the pair suffered injuries away at Dunfermline last week.
However, Jim Duffy’s men are undefeated in Greenock since 26 March and will be looking to preserve their strong home record, which includes a 0-0 draw with the Easter Road outfit here in April, against fancied opponents.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “This is a game you always look forward to. Hibs carry a good travelling support, so that helps create atmosphere, and football is about atmosphere and about playing the bigger teams.
“You always aspire to get to that level. Hibs have, for most of the season, been the benchmark for most teams, so it’s going to be extremely tough.
“They have a phenomenal defensive record and have some top-class players at the top end of the pitch as well. I mean, if you can even target players of Kris Commons’ quality then it shows the club’s standing.
“It’s a club that shouldn’t really be in the Championship; it should be in the top division, but I concern myself with how we play and how we approach the game, and how our players look to challenge Hibs.
“They should thrive on that challenge and make it as uncomfortable an evening as possible. I’m looking for my players to the play to the levels I know they can, with the determination and real positive attitude we’ve had all season.”
Jamie Lindsay (ankle) and Jai Quitongo (knee) both picked up injuries at Dunfermline Athletic last week and are ruled out. Quitongo underwent a scan yesterday but the results are not yet known.
Conor Pepper and Thomas Orr also remain sidelined with knee injuries and are the only other players expected to miss out against Hibs, although winger Caolan McAleer was yesterday allowed to leave the club.
Morton boss Jim Duffy was in charge at Easter Road between December 1996 and February 1998, while goalkeeper Andy McNeil started his senior career at Hibs and made 40 appearances for his local club.
Recent Hibs signing Brian Graham came through the youth ranks with us here at Cappielow and went on to net 17 goals over 40 starts and 44 sub appearances, finishing as top scorer in 2010/11 with 11 in all competitions.
Tue 5 Feb 2016: Morton 0-1 Hibernian (Ladbrokes Championship)
Wed 25 Feb 2016: Hibernian 0-3 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 23 Apr 2016: Morton 0-0 Hibernian (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 27 Aug 2016: Hibernian 4-0 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton’s unbeaten start to the season came to a shuddering halt away at Hibernian back in August as the Edinburgh outfit ran out comfortable 4-0 victors in the capital.
The Greenock men had not lost in eight competitive fixtures despite facing the likes of Premiership clubs Kilmarnock and Hamilton Accies in the Betfred Cup and St Mirren and Falkirk on Championship duty.
But Neil Lennon’s side proved a step up in quality and eased to victory to maintain their own impressive start to the campaign, which saw them top the table after winning all of their four opening fixtures.
Referee: Steven McLean
Assistant one: David McGeachie
Assistant two: Simon MacLean
Fourth official: Colin Steven
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
A collection for the rehabilitation and future needs of firefighter Andy Adams, a lifelong Morton fan who suffered life-changing injuries at an operational incident in July, will be held at Saturday’s match.
Supporters have contacted the club to make us aware of a planned one-minute applause in the 49th minute – Andy is 49 years old – of the game in tribute to his bravery.
Image: David Bell