Morton v Falkirk Preview
Photo - GBR Photographs.
After a close season lasting a mere nine weeks, Morton return to competitive action tomorrow, with a home tie in the Premier Sports League Cup groups stages with League One minnows, Falkirk. Whilst the local businesses in the Falkirk and Grangemouth area are putting up their bunting and good luck posters, and the fans are waving their heroes off and travelling down in their hordes for their big day out at a Championship ground, Morton will be hoping that a monumental shock such as the defeat to Spartans in 2014 isn’t on the cards.
The club will be providing a stream for the match, priced at a very reasonable £10, and available to purchase here.
New signings Jack Baird and Grant Gillespie are carrying over one-match suspensions from last season’s competition, whilst Alan Lithgow is side-lined with a long-term injury. Having seen Morton’s pre-season preparations, I’d expect Alexander King to take the left back berth, allowing Lewis Strapp to move into the centre of defence.
There have been a number of connections on the respective playing staffs of both sides in recent years, with ex-Morton wingers Aidan Nesbitt and Craig McGuffie spending a second season slumming it in the third tier, and now being joined by former ‘Ton loanee Stephen McGinn and striker Gary Oliver; and perhaps even Gozie Ugwu, who spent last season at Cappielow but has spent the last week or so training with Falkirk, with a view to dropping down a level. We of course wish them all similar success to that of other former Morton men whose careers followed similar paths, such as Michael Tidser, Gregor Buchanan, Michael Doyle, Charlie Telfer and Raymond McKinnon. In the Morton camp, the only ex-Falkirk players are Cameron Blues and new signing Jaze Kabia, brought in on loan from Livingston after impressing in pre-season, but we don’t hold it against them.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Tale of the Tape
It’s been a long time since the two clubs met, given Falkirk’s not-at-all-funny relegation in 2019, so we’ll just have to go back to that season to discuss the most recent meetings between the clubs. After Raymond McKinnon’s departure from Morton to the then struggling Bairns only three months into his reign as Manager, the first meeting of the 2018-19 season was at Cappielow, with a feeling of bad blood in the air. With Falkirk reduced to ten men thanks to a foolish red card for goalkeeper Leo Fasan, former Bairns’ hitman Bob McHugh kept the three points in Greenock, and sent the good guys home happy. Two draws between the clubs, 0-0 at the Falkirk Council Stadium and 1-1 in a Friday night TV game marred by crowd trouble at Cappielow in March were to follow before Morton headed to Grangemouth for what was effectively a winner-takes-all encounter. To cut a long story short, Morton won 2-0 and stayed up. Falkirk were relegated and have remained in League One ever since. Don’t we just love a happy ending?
The plucky underdogs will be looking to build on the success of avoiding the drop to League Two last season, and have appointed erstwhile Raith Rovers’ Manager John McGlynn in order to help them reach the promised land of the top half of League One this time around.
The aforementioned McGinn has arrived, joined by a couple of others, notably Finn Yeats joining from Aberdeen’s youth set up earlier in the week, and others are expected through the door as the season approaches. Sadly, Charlie Telfer has departed, after a somewhat inauspicious three years at the club his goal helped condemn to League One.
I spoke to Falkirk fan Jim Jarvie, who is looking forward to his big day out in the bright lights but also aware of the bigger picture in assembling a squad for the challenges ahead this season (Yes, FC Edinburgh and Peterhead, we know).
“The League Cup gives us a few competitive fixtures to yet again try another new team for the new season. We’re not quite sure what to expect from the Bairns this time around, but reaching the play-offs would be seen as progress from the previous two disastrous campaigns.
Cappielow is always a tricky place to go and will give us a first look at the team in a competitive game under McGlynn, and a first look at new signings Sean Mackie and PJ Morrison- however, I do expect more incomings before the league starts in earnest. Aidan Nesbitt was one of the few success stories of last season , and usually puts in a decent shift, but for me, our best player is Callum Morrison, who will be key in our push for promotion. We’re also delighted to have signed Finn Yeats, who has enjoyed a fruitful pre-season following his release from Aberdeen at the end of last term. Morton fans will recall Gozie Ugwu, who played as a trialist in last weekend’s 3-2 win over Dundee United and could be offered a deal this week. I am however concerned about Jaze Kabia, another of last season’s few shining lights, who could pose problems for us, now Morton have gotten his signing over the line.”
Photo - GBR Photographs.
All odds are supplied by McBookie. All odds correct as of 7am on 8th July 2022 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.
Naturally Morton head into the match as favourites against their less illustrious opponents, priced at 3/4, with a draw and an away win both priced at 14/5.
In spite of my bravado, I don’t expect a high scoring encounter, and would quite happily take a 1-0 victory, which is priced at a fairly generous 15/2. After Michael Garrity’s late double at Livingston, he’s 2/1 to score any time.
Referee- Colin Steven
AR 1- Stuart Stevenson
AR 2- Sean Murdoch