Queen of the South versus Morton
Saturday 15 October 2016
Palmerston Park, Dumfries
After a Saturday in cold storage due to the combination of the international break and being out of the Irn-Bru Cup, Morton return to action with an away match against league leaders Queen of the South.
The Ton are just a week away from a historic Betfred Cup semi-final but manager Jim Duffy and his squad will have their focus firmly fixed on the task at hand tomorrow.
And with a Stephen Dobbie-inspired Queens side currently sitting proudly atop the Ladbrokes Championship summit one point clear of title favourites Hibs with eight games played there will be no way they can take their eye off the ball.
The Greenock men, though, are also in fine fettle having picked up three points in their last outing at home to Raith Rovers, and despite suffering something approaching an injury crisis, to take their recent run to three wins in their last four matches.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “The hype can be what it is [regarding the semi-final], there is nothing we can do about that, but as a player and as a manager that is a million miles away in essence in football terms.
“We are playing the league leaders tomorrow away from home, so we’ve got to make sure we go down there and make it as competitive as we possibly can for Queen of the South.
“We know they’re flying at this moment in time and have had some great results, like last week against Linfield in the Irn-Bru Cup, so there’s plenty of confidence in them just now. So, it would be a real test for anybody who goes there, including us.
“Every team has injuries to certain players and it’s very frustrating no matter what club you’re at, but from our point I think we’ve had it a wee bit harsher than most.
“For us to still to be competing as well as we have done is testament to the attitude and spirit of the players, because we’re asking them to move around and change positions and play in unfamiliar roles and they’re doing it to the best of their ability.
“To get a clean sheet against a team like Raith Rovers with the quality they have and the problems we had, was terrific. I’m fully aware we can’t do that all the time and keep patching the team and hoping everything will click into place.
“With Gaving [Gunning] going off and Andy McNeil going off, it certainly tested the character of the players, but they rose to that challenge and fair play to them,
“We are going to have shuffle the pack again and go down to a very difficult environment and venue with an awful lot of players missing, but as I said before we have to have that same togetherness, and if we do that we’ll give Queen of the South a difficult game.”
Lee Kilday (ankle ligaments), Ricki Lamie (hamstring), Conor Pepper (knee), Michael Tidser (knee) and Caolan McAleer (knee) all remain sidelined and should be joined by fresh injury victim Gavin Gunning after breaking down with a hamstring problem against Raith Rovers.
Forward Kudus Oyenuga could be set for a return to action after two weeks out while Andy McNeil is expected to be fine despite the facial injury that forced him off against the Kirkcaldy club.
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 25 Aug 2015: Queen of the South 0-1 Morton (League Cup)
Sat 19 Sep 2015: Queen of the South 2-2 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 10 Oct 2015: Queen of the South 1-0 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 14 Nov 2016: Morton 2-0 Queen of the South (Ladbrokes Championship)
Tue 15 Mar 2016: Morton 3-2 Queen of the South (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton defeated Queen of the South 3-2 at Cappielow back in March to leapfrog their opponents into fifth in the Championship table.
The Ton made heavy weather of claiming the victory, though, almost allowing a 3-0 lead to slip by way of a ropey second half in which they conceded twice.
Although they had made it harder for themselves than they should have, the Greenock men had still walked away with the three points thanks to Denny Johnstone’s double and Celtic loanee Paul McMullan’s only goal for the club.
Referee: Steven Kirkland
Assistant one: Joseph Lawson
Assistant two: Alan Facfadyen
Entry is by ticket and these can be purchased from the ticket office next to the stand and admission prices are:
Adult – £16
Concession – £9
Child under 16 – £5
Image: David Bell