MORTON versus Livingston
Tuesday 15 August 2017
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Morton supporters will still be on cloud nine following Saturday’s 4-1 derby win, but the team must quickly refocus as they turn their attentions to the Irn-Bru Cup tonight with a first round tie against fellow Championship club Livingston.
Manager Jim Duffy’s thoughts had already switched to tonight’s encounter before he had left Cappielow at the weekend, and he will be making changes to his line-up following a sapping 90 minutes against rivals St Mirren.
Opponents Livi have made a bright start to the season, with popular former Ton player and coach David Hopkin steering his side to first place in Betfred Cup Group H and unbeaten run of seven matches in all competitions.
The Challenge Cup is not a tournament that the Greenock men have fared well in recent years, exiting at the first hurdle in each of the last two seasons, and they will be hoping to be in the hat for the next stage come Thursday’s second round draw.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “Livingston have made a fantastic start to the campaign, finishing top of their group in the Betfred Cup as they continued where they left off last year.
“They had a magnificent season under Davie, who has done an outstanding job there, and they are a club that I have no doubt will do well again this year.
“The Irn-Bru Cup is always a tricky competition because there are so many games to play if you are to be successful. To draw a fellow Championship side in the first round is very difficult. The draw could have certainly been a lot kinder to us.
“However, we should be going into the game confident on the back of Saturday’s league result against St Mirren. We were outstanding and the players deserve an enormous amount of credit for winning in such a comprehensive manner.
“I felt going in 1-1 at half-time was harsh on us, but we managed to settle down in the second half, and the penalty and red card was obviously instrumental in the game.
“But I have seen many, many games where that doesn’t affect the outcome quite the same – so for us to capitalise on the space and take advantage of the extra man was really pleasing.
“Overall, it was a top-class performance from the team. You don’t get too many days like that, so we enjoyed it and hopefully the fans did as well.
“After playing a pressure game like the derby at the weekend, we have got to look at the amount of work the players put in and also consider Saturday’s game against Inverness.
“So, there will be one or two changes tonight. There won’t be a huge amount, but there will certainly be a couple to make sure everybody is competing for a place.
“The players will want to get a bit of rhythm to their play. The best way to do that is to win football matches, and we’ll be giving it everything we can to make it through to the next round.”
Defenders Lee Kilday and Darren Barr are still out. Michael Doyle was substituted in Saturday’s Renfrewshire derby as a precautionary measure after feeling a tightness in his calf and a decision will be made on the right-back today.
Livingston gaffer David Hopkin is a well known face here at Cappielow having started and finished his career with the club, as well as serving on the coaching staff as Under-20s boss, assistant manager, and caretaker manager.
Sat 9 Jan 2016: Livingston 0-1 Morton (William Hill Scottish Cup)
Tue 1 Mar 2016: Livingston 0-0 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 9 Apr 2016: Morton 2-1 Livingston (Ladbrokes Championship)
Tue 5 July 2016: Livingston 2-2 Morton (Pre-season Friendly)
Last Time Out
Teenage winger Scott Tiffoney marked his first senior start with a brace as Morton shared a 2-2 draw with Livingston in a pre-season friendly at the Tony Macaroni Arena last July.
In what was the Ton’s first public friendly following a number of closed-doors matches, manager Jim Duffy utilised the club’s development squad to plug gaps in his incomplete senior squad.
The Ton boss’s roster is still very much a work in progress, and with the likes of Ross Forbes, Conor Pepper and Mark Russell also absent through injur,y it meant opportunities for the Under-20s.
Tiffoney was selected to start on the left and played in front of Dunoon-born full-back Lewis Strapp in a 4-4-2 formation. Ruaridh Langan, meanwhile, was deployed wide on the right.
There were debuts for new signings Michael Doyle and Gary Oliver, while Jamie McDonagh was listed as a trialist due to the fact the paperwork had not yet been completed on his one-year deal.
Livingston also had a number of trialists of their own, one of whom was Kudus Oyenuga. The striker opened the scoring on the night and later signed for the Ton.
Referee: Colin Steven
Assistant one: Stephen Mitchell
Assistant two: Scott Love
Supporters are advised that they will be required to purchase a match ticket for this fixture and we would ask all fans to please come along to the ground as early as possible.
Admission prices have been set at:
Concession (Over 65, Under 16, and students with a valid matriculation card): £6
Tickets are available from the following outlets:
Sinclair Street ticket office – From 5.30pm to 7.45pm.
Livingston supporters will be seated in sections F and G of the main stand and will also be required to purchase a ticket at our Sinclair Street ticket office prior to entering at the turnstiles.
Image: David Bell