MORTON versus St Mirren
Tuesday 11 April 2017
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Morton and St Mirren clash at Cappielow tonight in the fourth and final Renfrewshire derby of the 2016/17 Ladbrokes Championship campaign in a fixture that has far more than local bragging rights at stake.
For the Ton, a victory over their local rivals would see them climb above Falkirk into second place in the table with all clubs currently occupying the play-off positions having then played 32 matches.
However, a derby defeat coupled with a Dundee United triumph against Dunfermline Athletic at Tannadice in tonight’s other second-tier game would see Jim Duffy’s side slip to fourth.
The Saints, on the other hand, have climbed off the bottom of the table and could continue their upturn in fortunes by propelling themselves out of the play-off position and ahead of Raith Rovers by securing a massive three points on Sinclair Street.
Both teams come into the encounter on the back of weekend 1-1 draws, and Ton will be hoping to build upon their morale-boosting share of the spoils with league leaders Hibs by claiming a second derby win of the season on home turf this evening.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “It’s a game we’re really looking forward to. It’s good to have this type of game following the Hibs game in terms of it being another high-profile game.
“In this division, every game is very competitive but there’s obviously a little bit more profile on the derby games, and that’s what players revel in and enjoy, that type of atmosphere and that’s what we’re looking forward to tonight.
“The later any game comes in the season, the more relevance the points accumulated have, and that’s certainly the case in this particular game.
“For both sides it has an extra degree of importance to it, and you always want that. You always get bragging rights for derbies in terms of that aspect of the local rivalry. Nevertheless, when you’ve got a footballing objective that adds a bit to the game.
“And that will be the case tonight: there’s no point in either team sitting back and hoping for a point. If that’s what you take at the end then fine, but both teams will set our with the target of picking up the win and that should make for an open match.”
Jai Quitongo and Conor Pepper, who has today travelled to London and gone under the knife in a knee operation he hopes will save his career, are both out injured.
However, English striker Kudus Oyenuga is back in contention after serving a two-match suspension received as a result of the straight red card suffered at Easter Road almost a fortnight ago, while Gary Oliver
Development squad goalkeeper Jamie McGowan and forwards Jon Scullion and Thomas Orr all came through the Saints youth ranks while Mark Russell and Scott Tiffoney started out at St Mirren Boys’ Club.
Current Ton loan striker Lawrence Shankland was actually on the opposite side of the divide on the last derby day and was an unused sub when Ricki Lamie struck deep into stoppage time to rescue a point at the Paisley 2021 Stadium on Hogmanay.
Sat 16 Apr 2016: St Mirren 3-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 6 Aug 2016: St Mirren 1-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Tue 1 Nov 2016: Morton 3-1 St Mirren (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 31 Dec 2016: St Mirren 1-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton gave 2016 a send-off to remember when Ricki Lamie rescued a Renfrewshire derby draw for Jim Duffy’s 10-man team with an injury-time equaliser at the Paisley 2021 Stadium back on the last day of the year.
It was deep into the 92nd minute that the defender lashed home a loose ball inside the Saints box to cancel out Gary McKenzie’s first-half opener and spark wild scenes of celebration on the park and in the North Stand.
Although the last-gasp strike was only worth a point, it felt more like a victory coming so late in the day with the Ton at a man disadvantage after Jamie McDonagh’s dismissal, as well as losing Gary Oliver to a sickening facial injury.
It certainly sent the Greenock hordes, numbering an impressive 1,362 amongst an attendance of 4,902, home happy, teeing up that night’s Hogmanay celebrations.
Referee: Stephen Finnie
Assistant one: Graham Chambers
Assistant two: Colin McAlpine
Entry is pay at the gate:
Adult – £18
Concession – £15
Child aged 12 to 16 – £5
Child under 12 accompanied by an adult – Free
Image: David Bell