Irn-Bru Cup, third round
QUEEN’S PARK versus MORTON
Saturday 3 September 2016
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Morton are back at Hampden after a 13-year hiatus and, like the last visit, the Cappielow club are at the national stadium to take on Queen’s Park. Despite the fact the majority of the arena will lie empty, the venue still provides an inspiring stage on which to contest this third round tie in the revamped Irn-Bru Challenge Cup competition.
After suffering their first competitive loss of the campaign away at Hibs last week, the Ton will be looking to get right back on track by progressing at the expense of their League One opponents and booking a place for a draw that will include clubs from Northern Ireland and Wales.
The amateurs, however, proved they will be far from pushovers by derailing one of the two second-tier juggernauts so far this season by beating David Hopkin’s Livingston 1-0 at Hampden last weekend.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “It’s fantastic to play at Hampden. It’s a bit surreal when there’s a sparse crowd there, but it is still a fantastic environment to play football. A lot of the players have never played there, even against Queen’s Park.
“The dressing rooms are the size of some football pitches. It’s very modern, the pitch is huge and so it will be a wee eye opener for them. It really is a terrific place to play football and I think the players will be looking forward to it.
“If a team is moving the ball around it can be a shift to close the spaces, but by the same token, if you’ve got the ball you should be able to find a bit more freedom to play.
“But Livingston were there last week and Queen’s Park denied them space. They played three at the back, at times five, and made it very difficult for Livingston to find space, and they have been free-scoring in that division.
“So it can be done, you can make it difficult. But I just think if you’re on your game and you move the ball quick you should be able to find space, and if you can capitalise on that then you’ve got a chance of doing well in the game.
“That’s what we’ll be emphasising to the players: to try and use the pitch to their advantage – but that will only happen if the technical side of their game is good: if their first touch is good, if they execute the passes well. If we do that we can go there feeling confident.
“It’s not about bouncing back after last week, it’s just about moving forward and trying to win the game. It’s about getting a performance and result that gets you into the next round of the cup.”
Winger Aidan Nesbitt is unavailable due to his previous appearances in the competition for parent club Celtic – he actually scored a double for the Parkhead club in a tie against Annan Athletic here at Cappielow before joining us – and is expected to turn out for their Under-20s away at Livingston tomorrow.
Goalkeeper Derek Gaston was replaced away at Hibs last weekend with a swollen thigh and he is rated doubtful for tomorrow’s trip to Hampden. Defender Ricki Lamie missed the match at Easter Road and is also struggling.
Irishman Conor Pepper (knee) remains sidelined, but teenage striker Thomas Orr is available for selection after his loan spell at Livingston was cancelled by mutual consent on Tuesday.
Morton defender Ricki Lamie spent one season with the Spiders, recovering from a sending off on his debut to make 20 appearances and score one goal during the 2013/14 campaign.
Sat 24 Aug 2002: Morton 3-0 Queen’s Park (Third Division)
Sat 9 Nov 2002: Queen’s Park 1-1 Morton (Third Division)
Sat 7 Dec 2002: Morton 1-1 Queen’s Park (Third Division)
Sat 8 Mar 2003: Queen’s Park 0-1 Morton (Third Division)
Last Time Out
A 30-yard wonder strike from debutant midfielder John Adam was enough to earn John McCormack’s Morton all three points at Hampden as part of the journey towards the Third Division title.
More recently, our Under-20s have regularly faced off against the Queen’s Park Strollers in the Development League West. Andy Millen’s men came out on top in their last meeting, Jai Quitongo, Jon Scullion, and Ruaridh Langan scoring in a comfortable 3-0 win played at Celtic’s Lennoxtown training complex.
Referee: Gavin Duncan
Assistant one: Gary Hilland
Assistant two: Willie Ferguson
Entry is pay at the gate and admission prices are:
Adult – £12
Concession – £2
Images: Ian Cairns