Match Preview - Morton vs Cove Rangers (6th August) - Match Previews - Jump to content

Match Preview - Morton vs Cove Rangers (6th August)




Morton v Cove Rangers – Match Preview

by Russell Gordon.

After Saturday’s opening day draw at Hamilton, Morton welcome Cove Rangers to Cappielow for their first ever visit to Greenock, following the Aberdeen club’s recent promotion as champions of League One.

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Squad News

With Alan Lithgow’s appearance on the bench last week, boss Dougie Imrie will hope to have a full-strength squad available for the visit of the Championship new boys. Whilst this week has seen rumours around the potential signing of former Wolves and Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths, it would appear unlikely that there’ll be any movement in and out of the club until the month draws to a close and business picks up elsewhere in the market.

Current Connections 

We’re struggling, here. The most notable connection is recently departed Cove boss Paul Hartley, who recently took the reins at Hartlepool United in England’s League Two. Hartley had a brief loan spell at Cappielow at the turn of the millennium, famously scoring a fantastic free kick against eventual First Division champions St. Mirren in a 1-1 draw at Love Street. His relationship with the Morton support however soured when he questioned the integrity of what was admittedly an appalling squad, as our 2-10 mauling at Hamilton in 2014 threatened to cost his Dundee side the Championship title in 2014. “Fortunately”, the Dens Park side held on in spite of Hamilton’s win to win the title anyway.

Another was Scott Paterson, who started and ended his career at the then Highland League side, and briefly passed through Cappielow when Morton were on their knees due to administration in 2001. Whilst Paterson couldn’t prevent what was an inevitable relegation, his performances in the struggling ‘Ton side of the time drew some admiring glances before he was eventually snapped up by Partick, where he enjoyed a fruitful period, picking up a First Division Championship Winners’ medal and helping them to the Scottish Cup semi-final the following season. 

And most recently, full-back Adam Livingstone endured an inauspicious loan spell at Cappielow from Motherwell before checking in at Balmoor Stadium following Cove’s promotion to League One after another loan spell, at Clyde.


Photo - GBR Photographs.

Tale of the Tape 

Cove have had a great time of it in the last few years, winning successive promotions from the Highland League, after disposing of Berwick Rangers 7-0 on aggregate in the pyramid play-off final in 2019, and from League Two in the COVID-curtailed 2019-20 season. They only narrowly missed out on a play-off final against Morton the following year, conceding a late equaliser to Airdrie in their semi-final second leg and going onto lose to the Diamonds in extra time, before claiming their third title in four seasons (fourth title in five if we’re being pernickety) last term.

So, it’s fair to say that meetings between the clubs have been as rare as hens’ teeth until now, with only one competitive meeting to date. Morton travelled to Cove’s former home, Allan Park for a Scottish Cup tie in December 2004 and dispatched of the then minnows with consummate ease, racking up a 7-1 victory thanks to goals from Peter Weatherson, John Adam, Warren Hawke and doubles from Jason Walker and Chris Millar; Cove’s Martin Johnson hitting a consolation on the stroke of half time.

Opposition Analysis 

Even the eternal optimist wouldn’t predict a 7-1 Morton win this time around, against a club that is unrecognisable from that cold day 18 years ago. With Cove’s rapid ascent up the divisions, it is clear Morton are dealing with a completely different beast, with Jim McIntyre’s side boasting a number of familiar faces to fans of clubs who have historically enjoyed their football in the higher echelons of Scottish football, although striker Rory McAllister has recently departed to Montrose after booking a holiday for later in the season, which irked McIntyre.

I spoke to Cove’s new Head of Media & Communications, Richard Gordon, a familiar voice to Scottish football fans from his many years of anchoring BBC Scotland’s Sportsound, and happily still taking charge of the Sunday show.

“Cove Rangers have enjoyed a meteoric rise through the Scottish football pyramid in recent seasons. Multiple Highland League winners, the club suffered play-off heartbreak in 2018 but emerged victorious twelve months later when they ended Berwick Rangers’ spell in the SPFL. The side romped to the League Two title the following season, lost out to Airdrieonians in the play-off in 2021, then captured the League One crown back in May.

Having implemented a five-year plan to reach the Championship twenty-four months ahead of schedule and kicked-off their campaign with an impressive performance and victory over Raith Rovers last weekend, new manager Jim McIntyre has found the summer transfer window frustrating, but has now managed to add to a squad which boasts a mixture of youth and experience, and has a strong core.

Half a dozen of the players have been with Cove throughout the journey, including club captain Mitch Megginson, who began the league season with a double against the Kirkcaldy outfit. The likes of Shay Logan, Mark Reynoalds, Ian Vigurs and Fraser Fyvie have all played at a higher level, and look likely to be major figures in the coming season.

Consolidation in the Championship will be the first objective, so games like this weekend’s against Morton, and future meetings with Hamilton and Ayr United, will play a big part in shaping their campaign. If the first few months go well, the Balmoral side might just start contemplating the promotion play-offs but the ethos in recent years has been to stay humble and let their football do the talking. That will not change in the second tier. If they finish off having preserved their status, it will be viewed as a more than satisfactory season.”


Photo - GBR Photographs.

Betting Guide 

All odds are supplied by McBookie. All odds correct as of 7am on 4th August 2022 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling. 

The hosts head into the game as favourites a 5/4, with Cove coming in at 15/8 and the draw at 9/4.

With clean sheets at a premium for Morton, a home win with both teams to score is 17/4, whilst a draw at half time and Morton at full time is priced at 9/2.

Match Officials 

Referee - Peter Stuart

AR 1 -  Alan Mulvanny

AR 2 - Ross Nelson



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