MORTON versus Hibernian
Saturday 8 April 2017
Cappielow Park, Greenock
Morton host Hibernian here at Cappielow today just over a week on from the memorable goalless draw at Easter Road which ended with both clubs each seeing a player and their manager sent off.
The late scenes somewhat overshadowed what was a praiseworthy point that saw the Sinclair Street side climb above Falkirk into second in the Ladbrokes Championship.
Ton were knocked off that perch last weekend, however, following a 1-0 reverse away to Dumbarton and they will be looking to bounce back on home turf, particularly with play-off race rivals Dundee United and the Bairns facing off at Tannadice this afternoon.
Hibs, on the other hand, appear to be edging their way towards claiming the title, and they will arrive in Greenock intent on picking up a positive result towards achieving that goal.
Despite Edinburgh outfit’s pedigree and strength in depth, Jim Duffy’s men can draw a huge deal of encouragement from both last week’s 0-0 draw as well as the 1-1 draw in Greenock back in December.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “The game will be an extremely tough match against the best team in the league. Our players, no matter who they’ve played against, have given everybody the respect they deserve and then gone and tried to make it a difficult day.
“By and large we’ve done that right through the season and we want to continue that against Hibs. The recent draw tells the players that if they remain organised and keep their concentration it doesn’t matter who you play, you’ve got a chance of getting something.
“We’re going to have to do the same today, but to win the game you have to add a little bit more than that. You can’t just be organised and concentrate – you have to take risks to try and win the game.
“It’s something we’ve asked the players to do today, to take a little bit more of a risk. It can work for you or against you and mean the game’s a little bit more open.
“We’re not here to sit in and hope for the best, so we’ve encouraged the players to be positive and we’ll see whether they can apply themselves to do that today.
“There’s going to be more people here with an atmosphere, a little bit more vocal, that the players will relish I think. Hopefully that helps gives the players that extra wee half-yard you need to win football matches.”
Long-term absentees Conor Pepper and Jai Quitongo remain sidelined, while Kudus Oyenuga serves the second of his two-game suspension.
However, club captain Lee Kilday has recovered from the ankle injury that saw him miss the matches against Hibernian and then Dumbarton last Saturday.
Morton boss Jim Duffy had a spell as Hibs manager and was in charge at Easter Road between December 1996 and February 1998.
Hibs striker Brian Graham came through the youth ranks with us here at Cappielow and went on to net 17 goals over 40 starts and 44 sub appearances, finishing as top scorer in 2010/11 with 11 in all competitions.
Sat 23 Apr 2016: Morton 0-0 Hibernian (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 27 Aug 2016: Hibernian 4-0 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 17 Dec 2016: Morton 1-1 Hibernian (Ladbrokes Championship)
Wed 29 Mar 2017: Hibernian 0-0 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton recorded a creditable 0-0 draw with league leaders Hibs at Easter Road last week to move above Falkirk into second place in the Ladbrokes Championship for the first time this term.
The match ended in controversy when Kudus Oyenuga’s late tackle on Jordon Forster was punished with a red card as well as sparking a melee that saw Darren McGregor sent off and both managers sent to the stand.
But that could not detract from what was a highly impressive Ton performance at the home of the table toppers in front of a partisan crowd numbering in excess of 14,000.
Referee: Bobby Madden
Assistant one: Alan Mulvanny
Assistant two: Kevin McElhinney
Entry for home fans is pay at the gate. Admission for Hibernian supporters is by pre-purchased ticket.
Adult – £18
Concession – £15
Child aged 12 to 16 – £5
Child under 12 accompanied by an adult – Free
Image: David Bell