MORTON versus Livingston
Tuesday 27 February 2018
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Morton and Livingston face off at Cappielow tonight in a massive third-versus-second Ladbrokes Championship clash that has survived the Siberian blast.
The Greenock ground passed a 1pm pitch inspection after some sterling work from head groundsman Mark Farrell and his pitch covers.
Jim Duffy’s side come into the game in a rich vein of form, having gone seven games undefeated in all competitions, with six victories and one draw.
That run of results has seen them climb to within one place of tonight’s opponents – a side also riding the crest of a wave that has seen them enjoy back-to-back victories over promotion rivals St Mirren and Dundee United.
A win either way could prove significant, with the Ton moving within two points of their David Hopkin’s side or the West Lothian outfit pushing eight points clear in the runners-up position.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “Obviously we’ve had a very hectic schedule over the last few weeks, including an awful lot of very difficult away games.
“We’ve managed to do well in them and the attitude and desire of the players has been exceptional. Each game has been extremely difficult, but we’ve put in some terrific displays and picked up some terrific results.
“I thought it was a really good performance up at Inverness on Saturday. In the first half, we were really in control of the game, and in the second half, we defended well and always looked a threat.
“You would expect Inverness to throw everything at us, and they did, but we had one or two breaks – you need that in any game – and, over the 90 minutes, I still felt we deserved to win.
“It was a fantastic three points for us, especially going up to a side with their experience in terms of game knowledge and the amount of injuries we have at the moment.
“We are back at Cappielow tonight, and we’re looking forward to the challenge. Livingston have had an outstanding season under David Hopkin.
“To most people they are the division’s surprise package. I don’t think they’re the surprise package, because I saw them earlier on in the season and I thought they would be there or thereabouts.
“They haven’t given me any reason to change my mind with their performances, and their last two matches have emphasised that: beating St Mirren comprehensively and then Dundee United.
“So it’s another extremely difficult match for us, but it’s one I’m sure the players will relish again – and we know we’re going to have to be at our best.”
Lee Kilday, Jamie McGowan, Ross Forbes, Robert Thomson, Jai Quitongo, Jack Iredale, and Luca Gasparotto are all expected to remain sidelined. However, John Baird’s loan has been registered and he makes his debut.
Livingston gaffer David Hopkin is a well-known face here at Cappielow having started and finished his playing career with the club, as well as serving on the coaching staff as Under-20s boss, assistant manager, and interim manager.
Sat 9 Apr 2016: Morton 2-1 Livingston (Ladbrokes Championship)
Tue 5 July 2016: Livingston 2-2 Morton (Pre-season Friendly)
Tue 15 Aug 2017: Morton 0-2 Livingston (Irn-Bru Cup, first round)
Sat 26 Aug 2017: Morton 0-1 Livingston (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton were unable to prevent lightning striking twice at Cappielow back in August as Livingston followed up their Irn-Bru Cup success with a 1-0 win on Ladbrokes Championship duty.
David Hopkin’s side returned to Greenock for the second time in the space of 11 days and emerged victorious again thanks to Danny Mullen’s second-half strike.
Referee: Euan Anderson
Assistant one: Ivan Stankovic
Assistant two: Colin McAlpine
Image: Gary Bradley