Falkirk versus MORTON
Saturday 5 November 2016
The Falkirk Stadium, Falkirk
Morton head through to Falkirk today still on cloud nine after ending a 17-year wait for Renfrewshire derby success with a 3-1 win over arch-rivals St Mirren on Tuesday.
But the Bairns will be looking to bring them crashing back down to earth with a bump on home turf especially as they attempt to get back to winning ways following back-to-back league defeats against Raith Rovers and Dundee United.
The Ton, though, have a real spring in their step at the moment, with six wins in their last eight fixtures, including the midweek mauling of the Saints, and go into the fixture sat in fourth place and brimming with confidence.
However, if recent history is anything to go by it promises to be a tight affair: four of the last seven meetings finished in 1-1 draws, including their only clash thus far this term, while Falkirk triumphed 1-0 in the remaining three.
The Ton last came out on top in a 2-0 win at Cappielow in March 2013, and although it isn’t exactly a delay of derby proportions, the team will be looking at the possibility of ending another unwanted run by picking up maximum points against Peter Houston’s men.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “When we lose, I’m not jumping off a bridge and when we win I’m not skipping into work. It’s just one of those situations where, in football, the next game is always the most important one.
“It’s fantastic for the club, the players and the fans, to win the derby – great – but we just have to think about Falkirk now, and what you try to do is obviously maintain consistency.
“We’ve had a decent spell of playing well, even when we’ve not had the results, like the Aberdeen game, and that’s what we want to do, is just try and keep that going, and that’s objective today.
“You get departments of your team that in different games play well. You maybe play really well defensively and nick one or your front players play well, you score a few and get the win.
“But in a few games all the departments clicked against Queen of the South, we did well in the second half against Ayr, and then against St Mirren it was similar: defensively we were sound, midfield were dynamic and the front players were creative and a threat.
“That’s your target in every game but at our level you don’t always get it. But it’s about trying to get them on a regular basis and we want to keep our performance at a good enough level to have a chance of coming away from Falkirk with the points today.
“If we could get three points at Falkirk it would be a great week for us because it would mean we got nine out of nine after three tough games.
“But I’ve got great admiration for Falkirk as a club itself and Housty as a manager, and we know we would have to do everything, to play at the same levels as we have been doing to try and achieve that against a notoriously difficult side to beat.”
Long-term absentee Conor Pepper remains sidelined with the after effects of the knee problem that has plagued him since the Hibs game at Easter Road back on 24 February.
He has undergone a course of injections, the last of which was administered on Wednesday, and is currently continuing his rehab and making progress without any timescale being put on a return to action.
Falkirk’s Canadian central defender Luca Gasparotto spent last season on loan at the Ton from parent club Rangers and was a standout performer in his 23 starts and two substitute appearances.
Current Ton assistant manager Craig McPherson played for the Bairns between 2002 and 2006, finishing his career there and enjoying a stint as academy director before returning home to Cappielow as Jim Duffy’s number two.
Sat 17 Oct 2015: Falkirk 1-0 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 20 Feb 2016: Morton 0-1 Falkirk (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sun 1 May 2016: Falkirk 1-0 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 13 Aug 2016: Morton 1-1 Falkirk (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton were held to a 1-1 draw in their first home game of the league season after a controversial last-gasp equaliser from Luke Leahy rescued a point for visitors Falkirk.
Left-back Leahy scrambled the ball over the line in the second minute of stoppage time to cancel out Cappielow captain Lee Kilday’s first-half opener.
Many among the home ranks, both on the terraces and the pitch, were adamant the ball had struck the Bairns defender’s hand before he prodded into the net, but the goal stood and the full-time whistle sounded with the teams on level terms.
Referee: Greg Aitken
Assistant one: Graeme Leslie
Assistant two: Garry Farmer
Entry is pay at the gate and admission prices are:
Adult – £18
Concession – £12
Under 18 – £6
Child under 12 – Free
Image: David Bell