Inverness vs Morton – Match Preview
by Dean McKinnon.
Morton’s Scottish Cup journey, on the centennial anniversary of Jimmy Gourlay’s goal bringing the cup to Greenock, begins tomorrow with a trip north. Gus MacPherson’s side will travel up the A9 to the Caledonian Stadium for the second time this season, tasked with toppling a very impressive Inverness side. The Highland side, who lifted our showpiece trophy in 2014/15, have only squared off against their Inverclyde counterparts twice in this competition, running out comfortable winners in both these contests.
Photo - GBR Photographs,
Brian McLean’s spell on the sidelines looks set to continue as the veteran continues his rehabilitation following an injury sustained at East End Park. Morton will again be without a second choice goalkeeper following Chris Wylie’s request to leave the club. It’s worth noting that clubs competing in SFA sanctioned cup competitions are required to list a sub goalkeeper, name six substitutes out of seven or nominate an outfield player (and are therefore forbidden to use them as an outfield player) as the second choice goalkeeper to avoid an SFA sanction.
Nobody in the current Morton squad has ever plied their trade in Inverness. The Caley Jags do have someone in their ranks with somewhat of a link to Cappielow. Right sided defender Wallace Duffy joined Morton on loan from parent club St Johnstone in September last year, only for the loan to be terminated a few days later due to ‘non footballing reasons’. He was subsequently released from the Perth side and signed for Inverness on a two-year deal.
Former Ross County stalwart Michael Gardyne spent the first half of the 2007/08 season at Cappielow. Having brought the youngster in, Jim McInally struggled to give Gardyne a consistent run of games in one position, and as a result, the winger struggled to force his way into the first team squad consistently. Having made ten league appearances for the club, he then joined Second Division Ross County, in his first of three spells with the Staggies.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Tale of the Tape
Morton’s first trip to the Highlands this season marked the end of the first quarter of the Championship campaign. The home side recorded a comfortable win to earn top spot in the league table.
A Morton corner led to the opening goal. After shepherding a Morton header harmlessly out of play, Caley Jags goalkeeper Mark Rigers launched a long ball forward in the direction of Billy McKay. The ball evaded both covering defenders Tom Allan and Lewis Strapp, allowing the home side to take the lead. Former Ton man Michael Gardyne slotted the ball past Jack Hamilton from close range four minutes after the interval, rounding off a frustratingly comfortable win for the home side.
Inverness’ impressive league performance thus far cannot be accredited to exceptional attacking play. Despite taking the second highest number of shots in the league, currently standing at 172 (11.47 per 90 mins), they have only scored the five highest number of goals in the Championship with 18 goals in 15 matches. By comparison, Morton sit bottom in the goal ratings and third bottom for shots attempted this term.
The Highlanders’ success this term appears to have been built on a solid defensive foundation. Mark Riders has only found his goal breached on 11 occasions this season, a record which has only been bested by league leaders Kilmarnock. The Caley Jags’ rear-guard have shown their combative side this season, with 168 fouls (11.2 per 90 mins) and 26 bookings (1.73 per 90 minutes) so far this term.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
All match odds are provided by McBookie. Odds are correct as of 6am on 26th November 2021 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.
Inverness are, unsurprisingly, favourites for this match, priced at 8/13 to win the tie on Saturday. The Caley Jags are 13/5 to win with BTTS and 13/8 to win without conceding. If you fancy the home side to repeat their last result over Morton, you can back them on a -1 handicap at 7/4.
Gus MacPherson’s side are 14/5 to force a replay at Cappielow, with a 0-0 stalemate chalked at 9/1. Morton are 4/1 to travel back down the A9 with the win, 17/2 to win with BTTS and 7/1 to win without Jack Hamilton being breached. If you fancy Morton to record a comfortable victory in Inverness, you can back them on a -1 handicap at 12/1.
Referee – Colin Steven
AR1 – John McCrossan
AR2 – Paul McAvinue