HIBERNIAN versus MORTON
Saturday 27 August 2016
Easter Road, Edinburgh
Morton return to the scene of one of the most memorable victories in the club’s modern-day history when they travel to Easter Road to meet Neil Lennon’s Hibs tomorrow.
Goals from Thomas O’Ware, Denny Johnstone and Ross Forbes saw Jim Duffy’s Ton defeat the Edinburgh outfit in spectacular style back in February, and despite the fact Alan Stubbs’ side were in a rich vein of form at the time.
The situation is similar this weekend, with Hibs currently second in the Championship table with a 100 per cent record of three wins out of three and heading into the fixture as strong favourites.
Morton, though, are unbeaten in all competitions this term and will travel back through to the capital in confident mood, particularly those players who were involved last time around.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “I was disappointed and frustrated with last week because of the performance – the fact we’ve been playing so well but didn’t play so well. We were certainly not going overboard, though, that’s for sure.
“Without playing as well, we actually created more clear-cut chances in the game than we did in previous matches. I still believe we got the benefit of the doubt when Dumbarton’s goal was chopped off, but we could’ve won the game with the chances we had.
“I don’t really look at [the opposition’s] performance levels too much because then you can intimidate yourself before you turn up. It’s really about respecting them, understanding how they play, and then trying to compete against them.
“By that I don’t just mean in terms of the work ethic but going out there to play and take an active part in the game and not just stand back and admire them.
“Hibs have started the campaign very well but that’s to be expected with the players they’ve got at their disposal, particularly in the forward areas.
“I mean, they’ve just turned down £1.7million for Jason Cummings and that’s an extraordinary amount for a Scottish club to turn down for a player.
“It just shows you the level of club they are and the gulf in resources between us, but it’s on the pitch on the day that counts and we’ll go there and try and compete as well as we have done in every other game so far.”
There is good news from the treatment table with Celtic loanee Aidan Nesbitt back fit after missing last week’s draw with Dumbarton due to a twisted ankle.
Mark Russell is also nearing a full return as he battles to get over a viral problem. The left-back made the bench against Dumbarton on Saturday and managed 88 minutes of last Sunday’s friendly against Greenock Juniors
However, Conor Pepper (knee) remains sidelined while there are slight doubts over Ricki Lamie and Jamie McDonagh, both of whom have had tight hamstrings this week.
Morton boss Jim Duffy was in charge at Easter Road between December 1996 and February 1998, while goalkeeper Andy McNeil started his senior career at Hibs and made 40 appearances for his local club.
Recent Hibs signing Brian Graham came through the youth ranks with us here at Cappielow and went on to net 17 goals over 40 starts and 44 substitute appearances for the Morton first-team, finishing as top scorer in 2010/11 with 11 in all competitions.
Sat 15 Aug 2015: Hibernian 1-0 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Tue 5 Feb 2016: Morton 0-1 Hibernian (Ladbrokes Championship)
Wed 25 Feb 2016: Hibernian 0-3 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 23 Apr 2016: Morton 0-0 Hibernian (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Morton signed off at Cappielow with a commendable goalless draw against Hibs in their final home match of the 2015/16 campaign. Alan Stubbs’ side had been stuttering since suffering a seismic 3-0 loss to the Ton at Easter Road back at the end of February.
But they seemed to have hit their stride again having booked their place in the Scottish Cup final with a spot-kick success over Dundee United before beating Rangers.
They could not maintain that momentum in Greenock, though, as they once again came a cropper at the hands of Jim Duffy’s well-drilled side.
Their fifth 0-0 of the campaign was that rare example of an entertaining scoreless draw as well as a satisfying way to bring down the curtain at Cappielow.
Referee: Alan Muir
Assistant one: Michael Banks
Assistant two: Martin McCarthy
Admission is by ticket only, but these are on sale from a ticket pod outside the South Stand from 1pm, with a swipe entry system in operation.
Adult – £22
Concession – £12
Image: David Bell