Hibs vs Morton – Match Preview
by Dean McKinnon
With Morton’s early elimination from this season’s League Cup all but confirmed, Dougie Imrie’s side head through to the capital to face off against Hibs. In the wake of taking one point from six against League One sides Falkirk and Clyde, The Ton are now relying on winning their remaining two fixtures, and some very favourable results elsewhere, if they have any chance of progressing to the Second Round of the competition.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Dougie Imrie has a far more healthy squad to pick from compared to the start of the group stages, with several first team players returning to the fold against Clyde. Jai Quitongo will serve the second match of his two-game ban picked up after his straight red card against Falkirk. New signing Lawton Green will presumably play his part in the matchday squad as a backup goalkeeper.
Connections in the playing staff are thin on the ground between the two clubs. Nobody in the current Hibernian squad has ever plied their trade on Sinclair Street. Both Robbie Muirhead and Alan Lithgow spent time in the capital representing Hearts, but nobody in the current Morton squad has ever played for the Leith side.
Tale of the Tape
Both sides met at Easter Road in the League Cup Second Round in August 2019 in a pulsating 5-3 win for the Hibees. Scott Allan and Josh Vela gave the hosts a 2-0 lead after half an hour before Bob McHugh halved the arrears, with a Lewis Stevenson goal on the brink of half time left the scores even at the interval. Florian Kamberi gave his side the lead in the second half, which looked to be enough to secure the tie, before a Steven Whittaker own goal caused bedlam in the away terraces. The away side’s celebrations were to be short lived, with Kamberi’s second goal of the afternoon coupled with a Christian Doidge goal in the dying seconds confirmed the Premiership side’s progression.
Ton fans will cast their minds back to two excellent wins at Easter Road. Jim Duffy’s side overran the capital side 3-0 in February 2016 thanks to goals from Thomas O’Ware, Denny Johnstone and Ross Forbes.
Former Hibs youth graduate Ryan Harding sparked delirium in the away end with his 118th minute goal rounding off a remarkable comeback for the Greenock men. Iain Russell’s cute angled finish and a world class free kick from Stevie Masterton had The Ton 2-0 with less than half an hour to play, before two goals in the last ten minutes from the then-SPL side forced the tie to extra time. The Leith side then took the lead in the first minute of extra time, with the home fans taunting the visitors over their surrendering of their lead. Iain Russell’s 115th minute penalty restored parity before Erik Paartalu’s free kick was tapped in from close range by Ryan Harding three minutes later to spark euphoria in the away end.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Hibs have had a stuttering start to the League Cup so far this season. The capital side opened proceedings in style on 9th July with a comfortable 5-0 win against Clyde, in which all five goals were scored before the interval thanks to Elias Hoff Melkersen, Josh Campbell and a first-half hattrick from Christian Doidge.
This result did not, however, set a precedent for the Hibees. The following midweek they travelled to Grangemouth to take on Clyde’s League One counterparts, Falkirk. Falkirk pressed their Premiership opposition early in the first half, creating numerous chances in the opening exchanges. With half time approaching, an excellent Aiden Nesbitt header flew into the net to give the lower-league side a deserved lead at the break. Despite numerous half-time changes being made by Hibs manager Lee Johnson, including former Ireland international Aidan McGeady being hooked at half time in his first start for the club, the Premiership side couldn’t find a way back into the contest.
I spoke to Hibs fan John Innes ahead of this midweek clash, who spoke about the need to remain focused despite an upset in the hands of Falkirk – “I’m reasonably confident we can get a positive result on Wednesday night. That being said, after the Clyde game, being 5-0 up and taking our foot off the gas as the job was done, I never envisaged us being beaten by Falkirk. They were by far the better team in the first half, and deserved something from the game as we were very average. I’d expect Morton to provide a similar test. You almost caught us out at Easter Road in 2019, so if I were Lee Johnson I definitely wouldn’t take anything for granted. I watched the highlights of the Livingston vs Morton game, and if you can press as well as you did then, there is a chance you could cause us some issues. I’m going for 3-1 Hibs.”
Photo - GBR Photographs.
All odds are provided by McBookie and are subject to change. Prices are correct as of 6am on 20th July 2022 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.
Morton’s poor start to the League Cup, coupled with the Premiership team’s home advantage equates to Hibs being stick-on favourites for this tie, priced at 2/11 to win inside ninety minutes. Morton are a very generous 12/1 to win the tie inside the ninety minutes.
There are perhaps some shrewd prices to be found in the goal markets, with Hibs priced at 4/5 to win to nil against a Morton side that have yet to find the net this campaign. If you fancy Morton to repeat Falkirk’s scoreline against the Premiership side, 1-0 Morton is chalked at 28/1. Looking towards the handicap markets, the Leith side are 8/13 to win with a -1 handicap, and 13/8 to win with a -2 handicap.
Referee - Euan Anderson
AR1 - Michael Banks
AR2 - Gordon McCabe