Match Preview: Raith Rovers

Ladbrokes Championship

MORTON versus Raith Rovers

Saturday 1 October 2016

Cappielow Park, Greenock

Kick-off 3pm

Match Preview

Morton host Raith Rovers at Cappielow tomorrow in a Ladbrokes Championship fixture replete with subplots when viewed in a wider context than simply this season.

Firstly, there is the return of two former players who were integral to the Ton’s successes in recent seasons in former loan striker Declan McManus and winger Bobby Barr.

Both now ply their trade at Stark’s Park but they were part of Jim Duffy’s group when they lost out by a narrow, one-goal margin in all four league matches against Rovers last term.

Those results proved the difference between the Kirkcaldy club clinching fourth and a play-off place and the Ton finishing just behind them in fifth.

In terms of the current campaign, Raith made a blistering start with three consecutive victories before their form tailed off. However, they returned to winning ways with a 3-2 victory against Dumbarton last weekend.

Despite losing 2-1 at Dundee United six days ago, the Ton felt hard done by to leave Tannadice empty handed and actually took a degree of confidence from their performance, particularly on the back of consecutive triumphs against Dunfermline and the Arabs.

Manager’s Thoughts

Jim Duffy told “All you can do is ask players to play at their best and work hard, and I think we did that last Saturday – but we maybe didn’t get the breaks that the performance deserved. Sometimes that can happen.

“You will hear managers say time and time again that you can’t be too displeased; of course we know football is about results, but as a manager or a coach, we have to look at the overall performance, and over the 90 minutes we were every bit as good as Dundee United on the day.

“They just got a couple of opportunities to score and took them. The one or two that came our way, we were just a bit unfortunate not to. We’ve just got to take the performance, that’s the last three performances I’ve felt we’ve done well against sides with some really talented players.

“I think we’ve more than matched them in each of the games. We’ve competed extremely well, so if we can continue to do that against Raith Rovers then there’s a chance of us getting a positive result.”

Team News

Lee Kilday (ankle ligaments), Ricki Lamie (hamstring), Conor Pepper (knee), Michael Tidser (knee) and Caolan McAleer, who tweaked his knee in training last Friday, all remain sidelined and miss out against Gary Locke’s men.

Forward Kudus Oyenuga was absent for last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to former club Dundee United due to a shoulder injury but likely to be back in contention for a place at Cappielow tomorrow.

Current Connections

Striker Declan McManus spent three separate and successful loan spells with us here at Cappielow, scoring 23 goals, laying on eight assists, and picking up the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award in the League One title winning campaign.

The 22-year-old returned on loan from Fleetwood Town in January and went on to make 20 starts and score four goals as Jim Duffy’s men finished fifth in the Championship.

Winger Bobby Barr was snapped up from Brechin City last year and spent a solitary season on Sinclair Street, making a positive contribution during 37 starts and five substitute appearances, before agreeing a pre-contract with Raith Rovers.

Recent Meetings

Sat 3 Oct 2015: Raith Rovers 2-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)

Fri 18 Dec 2015: Morton 1-2 Raith Rovers (Ladbrokes Championship)

Sat 27 Feb 2016: Raith Rovers 3-2 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)

Sat 26 Mar 2016: Morton 0-1 Raith Rovers (Ladbrokes Championship)

Last Time Out

Morton failed in their final attempt to prise open Raith Rovers’ firm grip on the final promotion play-off place as they lost 1-0 at rain-soaked Cappielow at the end of March.

Ton came into the crunch fourth-versus-fifth clash trailing the Kirkcaldy outfit by a 10-point gap that had been re-established since they briefly closed to within four points a week earlier.

But a James Craigen goal eight minutes into the second half secured the victory and extinguished any final flickering hopes of a Morton rally in the final weeks of the season.


Referee: Craig Charleston

Assistant one: Alan Mulvanny

Assistant two: David Burns

Supporters Notes

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