MORTON versus Queen of the South
Saturday 11 March 2017
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Kick-off 5.15pm, Live on BBC Alba
After a one-week hiatus, Morton return to action tomorrow evening when they host Queen of the South at Cappielow in a Championship fixture that will be screened live by BBC Alba and could prove significant in terms of the promotion play-offs.
Jim Duffy’s men currently occupy fourth place in the table seven points ahead of the fifth-placed Doonhamers with two games in hand.
A victory for the Ton would see them stretch their lead to 10 points and really strengthen their hold on the final play-off place as well as potentially move them above Dundee United and Falkirk, dependent on their own results.
Queens, on the other hand, head north to Greenock for the BBC Alba clash intent on closing the gap to four points by walking away from the evening kick-off with a win.
They will be buoyed by their 3-0 triumph in the most recent meeting between the sides, at Palmerston back at the beginning of February.
However, the Ton hold the upper hand in the head-to-head record this term having recorded a thumping 5-0 win in Dumfries in October before following up with a 1-0 victory on Christmas Eve, and will be aiming for a third success tomorrow.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “We had a free Saturday last weekend with our match against Hibs having to be rearranged, but I’d actually have preferred to play, without a doubt.
“Of course when you’ve got one or two injuries that can give you a bit of time for them to settle down, but ideally players like to play week in, week out.
“I would’ve been the same because you want to keep that rhythm of playing, but it wasn’t to be and it gave us a wee chance to recharge the batteries and hopefully the players will be at again tomorrow night.
“We welcome Gary Naysmith and his Queen of the South team to Cappielow and like all the games in the final quarter or so, it will be a really difficult, competitive match.
“Now is the key stage in the season, and we have to try and maintain the consistency we have shown, and perhaps even find a wee bit more if we can, because every team is fighting for something.
“Queen of the South have definitely improved over the last couple of months. Gary took a couple of weeks to find his feet then changed things round and got them back on track again.
“Like all the sides in the division, on their day they can be very difficult opponents, and they have goals in them with Stephen Dobbie and Derek Lyle real attacking threats.
“I expect it to be a match in which the two teams will play a very positive style of football and I think it will make for quite an open 90 minutes.
“From our point of view, we want to try and play to our maximum level, and if we do that and stay concentrated there’s every chance we can get a positive result.”
Long-term absentees Conor Pepper and Jai Quitongo remain sidelined but Gary Oliver, Michael Doyle, and Jamie Lindsay are all expected to be available for selection after spells on the sidelines.
Forward Oliver is back in contention after suffering a knee injury away at Queen of the South on 4 February that initially had him fearing his season was over, while midfielder Lindsay is fighting fit after recovering from a calf problem.
Cappielow stars Gary Oliver and Andy Murdoch both started against Morton in Queen of the South colours last season, with midfielder Murdoch playing in the final meeting of the campaign here in Greenock back in March.
Forward Oliver found the net for the Doonhamers in that particular clash but found himself on the losing side after the Ton ran out 3-2 winners and also featured in two other meetings between the sides last term.
Amongst the Queens ranks are former Ton keeper Lee Robinson, who spent the 2007/08 season on loan from Rangers, and ex-striker Derek Lyle, who scored five goals in 17 starts and four sub appearances in 2010/11.
Tue 15 Mar 2016: Morton 3-2 Queen of the South (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 15 Oct 2016: Queen of the South 0-5 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 24 Dec 2016: Morton 1-0 Queen of the South (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 4 Feb 2017: Queen of the South 3-0 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton saw a seven-game unbeaten run end away to Queen of the South at the beginning of February as they suffered a 3-0 defeat at Palmerston Park.
On what was a rare off-day for the Ton this term, the Doonhamers ran out deserved winners thanks to second-half goals from Derek Lyle, Kyle Jacobs and Joe Thomson.
Referee: Craig Charleston
Assistant one: Alastair Mather
Assistant two: Kevin McElhinney
Fourth official: David Munro
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
Image: David Bell