Morton vs Ayr United – Match Preview
by Dean McKinnon and Craig Dunning
Sixth place Morton will look to all but confirm Championship football in Inverclyde next season as they welcome eighth place Ayr United to Cappielow. Manager Dougie Imrie will be a welcome addition to the Cappielow dugout tomorrow for the first time since The Ton’s 2-1 win over Queen of the South, having now served his six-match touchline ban handed down for historic betting breaches. The Ton will be hoping the gaffer’s influence can prove decisive as they look to vanquish our old foes from down the coast.
If you can’t make it along to the Tail o’ the Bank tomorrow, you can take in the game in the lively company of Gerry and Andy for the reasonable sum of £14. Click here to purchase your match stream.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Last week’s BBC Scotland Man of the Match Oisin McEntee will be unavailable for Saturday’s match having been called up to the Ireland U21s squad as they prepare to face Sweden in their U21s Euros qualifying campaign. Brian McLean is set to continue his spell on the sidelines with a damaged thumb. These defensive absences may force manager Dougie Imrie to deploy a back four rather than the back five we’ve become accustomed to. Youngster Lewis McGregor should be back in contention after he picked up a knock in the build-up to the Dunfermline match last week.
Alan Lithgow turned out for the Ayrshire side during their 2013/14 campaign. It’s perhaps more difficult to pick out a current Ayr player who hasn’t represented Morton at some stage in their career. Both of Lee Bullan’s immediate predecessors, Jim Duffy and David Hopkin, have both played and managed The Ton. Last off-season, then Ayr manager David Hopkin set about recruiting familiar faces from his time on the Tail o’ the Bank, as Aidan McAdams, Marcus Fjortoft, Sean McGinty and Cammy Salkeld all made the switch down the coast. Defender Jack Baird, a loanee at Cappielow from rivals St Mirren, also currently plies his trade in Ayrshire. Andy Murdoch is now in his fourth season at Somerset Park after an inexplicable release by reviled former manager Ray McKinnon.
Tale of the Tape
The first meeting of the two sides this season at Somerset Park ended in a fiercely contested 0-0 draw in which the blood and thunder of the contest struggled to be matched with quality. The second contest was a more entertaining affair, but was also to inadvertently kickstart Morton’s season. Following a dismal 2-1 defeat to Queen of the South midweek, a 2-2 draw at home to the Ayrshire side saw Gus MacPherson given his marching orders from the Cappielow dugout.
The last meeting of the side’s was an impressive 2-0 win at Somerset Park for Dougie Imrie’s new look Morton side. Gavin Reilly close range finish in the first half was doubled after some excellent work on the right wing by Gozie Ugwu. Ugwu flicked the ball over a hapless Sean McGinty before delivering an inch perfect cross for the Livingston loanee to slam home a clinching goal for the away side.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
After following up a stunning 4-0 win at Raith two consecutive defeats, Ayr will be looking to arrest their slide in form which has taken them to within three points of ninth place. The Honest Men will be well aware that a victory would be a massive result for survival in the division, and dependent on results elsewhere could have them six points clear of the playoff spot with only five games to go, but if resurgent Dunfermline were to win at Inverness a defeat would have Ayr ninth in the table.
Ayr fan Marc Dunlop (@Marco_Ayr) spoke to us and is under no illusions about the importance of this game – “The Honest Men travel to Cappielow on the back of 2 straight defeats & will be desperate to get back to winning ways on what is very much a 6 pointer. After Dunfermline’s win midweek, Ayr have now slipped to 8th in the table & are in real danger of being pulled into the relegation places in the closing weeks of the season. Bullen will be hoping his side can rediscover the confidence & belief from February’s run of fixtures & will be well aware what’s required. The Honest Men have no fresh injury worries but will be without Ashford, who was sent off last week. A tough afternoon awaits, however, 3 points is an absolute must if we are to remain a Championship side for season 2022/23.”
Photo - GBR Photographs.
All odds are supplied by McBookie. All odds are correct as of 7am on 25th March 2022 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.
Morton are considered favourites at 6/5 while both an Ayr win and a draw are priced at 21/10. Morton to win to nil comes in at 13/5. Odds of 11/5 are available for Gavin Reilly, who hit a double the last time the sides met, to score anytime.
Referee – Mike Roncone
AR1 – David Roome
AR2 – Craig Macrae