Ayr United versus MORTON
Saturday 17 November 2018
Somerset Park, Ayr
Morton face league leaders Ayr United for the third time this season when they travel to Somerset Park on Ladbrokes Championship duty tomorrow.
The Sinclair Street side have suffered at the hands of the Honest Men in their two previous meetings, losing 3-1 in a Betfred Cup tie on the opening day of the campaign and then 5-1 at Cappielow in September.
Former Ton loanee Lawrence Shankland has been intrumental to those results, scoring a total of five goals over the course of the aforementioned fixtures.
The Greenock men were on the receiving end of a Shankland hat-trick in the Group E fixture and a brace in the heavy league reverse on home turf.
Positive Ton boss Jonatan Johansson, who was only in charge for the most recent clash, expects his group to rise to the occasion when the sides go head to head again tomorrow afternoon.
Not only does the Finn expect his side to be fuelled by the pain and embarrassment of the 5-1 defeat inflicted by Ian McCall’s men last time round, he is optimistic they will bounce back from last week’s 2-0 loss to Alloa Athletic.
This is not an empty platitude but a feeling borne of previous experience in which Ton have followed up on poor results by picking up important points on their travels in the subsequent fixture.
Denny Johnstone and Ben Armour remain sidelined but there has been light at the end of the tunnel for the pair, while midfielder Reece Lyon is still absent due to an ongoing knee problem.
Although experienced midfielder Chris Millar was named as a substitute against Alloa Athletic, he was not yet 100 per cent and could miss out against Ayr.
On the positive front, Charlie Telfer is expected to return following an ankle injury, as is striker Connor Bell, who is available for selection again after making his comeback in Monday’s Reserve Cup game against Motherwell.
Morton Milestones and Significant Stats
4 – Bob McHugh has scored four goals in his last five appearances.
7 – McHugh (7 in 17 appearances) and Michael Tidser (7 in 18 appearances) are Ton’s joint top scorers this term.
8 – Tidser is also Ton’s top creator with eight assists.
12 – Connor Bell could be involved in his first senior competitive matchday squad in 12 weeks.
Dunoon native Declan McDaid came through the youth ranks at Cappielow and made one first-team appearance before electing to move to Partick Thistle in the summer of 2013.
Striker Lawrence Shankland fired the Honest Men to the League One title last term with 29 goals and is well known to Ton fans having spent the second half of 2016/17 on loan here, scoring four times in 18 appearances.
Ian McCall added midfielder Andy Murdoch to his squad in the summer. The former Rangers man spent two seasons at Cappielow, making 75 appearances and scoring four goals before departing at the end of last term.
At the same time as former Greenock gaffer McCall brought Murdoch on board, he also secured the loan signing of goalkeeper Ross Doohan. Doohan was brought in as cover for Derek Gaston last year but did not feature.
Head to Head
Sat 28 Jan 2017: Ayr United 1-4 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 22 Apr 2017: Morton 1-1 Ayr United (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 14 Jul 2018: Ayr United 3-1 Morton (Betfred Cup, Group E)
Sat 29 Sep 2018: Morton 1-5 Ayr United (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Round
A hugely disappointing second half saw Morton concede four goals to lose 5-1 against league leaders Ayr United and surrender their unbeaten home record at the end of September.
In-form Honest Men hitman Lawrence Shankland fired the visitors in front after 19 minutes, but Charlie Telfer scored his first Ton goal to equalise and send the sides in level at the break.
Playmaker Michael Tidser passed up an opportunity to fire Jonatan Johansson’s men in front from the penalty spot early in the second half, seeing his spot-kick saved by ex-Ton loan keeper Ross Doohan.
Ayr made the most of the escape by scoring three times in the space of eight minutes, sub Craig Moore bagging a brace either side of Shankland completing his own double, before Declan McDaid rounded off the scoring.
Referee: Willie Collum
Assistant one: David Roome
Assistant two: Gordon McCabe
Entry is pay at the gate. Admission prices are:
Concession (Over 65, Student, and Under 21s): £11
Morton fans will be housed the Railway End and West Stand and enter the ground using turnstiles 2, 3, 5, 9 and 10.
Fans under the influence of alcohol will not be admitted to the stadium and are liable to arrest. All bags will be searched, with random persons searching undertaken.
Surfing flags are not permitted, while other flags will be checked to ensure that they are not offensive. They cannot be draped over any advertising boards. If anyone intends bringing a drum they must enter at the Railway End.
Travelling fans will be welcome in the Hawkhill Bowling Club and the Ayr United hospitality suite, which are adjacent to the stadium.
By Road: Ayr United Football Club, Somerset Park, Tryfield Place, Ayr, KA8 9NB.
Inverkip Road A78 – A77 – High Road A719 (journey time around 1 hour 14 minutes)
A78 – A8 – M8 – M77 (journey time around 1 hour 18 minutes)
By Rail: Greenock – Gilmour Street, Paisley – Ayr (journey time around 1 hpur 30 minutes)
Ayr Railway Station is a 10-minute walk away from Somerset Park. Exit the station through the back entrance (to the left as you come off the platform, over the footbridge) and turn left once outside. Walk up to the roundabout at the fire station and go straight ahead at the roundabout, past the left-hand side of the Civic Theatre. Continue up Craigie Road to the traffic lights at the top. Go straight across the road at this junction then take a left and a right.
Car parking: Available in Craigie Park. Turn left at traffic lights after racecourse on to Craigie Road. Car park is on the right. Barrier is in place to prevent high-sided vehicles entering.
Coach parking: Coaches can drop off in Craigie Street and park at the Ayrshire College, Dam Park. Pick up in Craigie Street.
Travel Club Info
- The Gourock Morton Supporters’ bus leaves the Royalle Club in Gourock at 12.30pm sharp and pick ups are available en-route. Costs are £9 for adults and £7 for concessions.
- The Greenock Morton Supporters Club bus leaves the club at 1pm with pick ups en-route. Visitors costs are £8 for adults and £6 for concessions.
- The Port Glasgow Morton Travel Club bus for tomorrow’s match leaves the Sutherland Bar at 1pm.
Image: Gary Bradley