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Match Preview - Morton vs Inverness (28th October)


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Morton v Inverness Caledonian Thistle – Match Preview

by Russell Gordon.

After the worst possible start to October saw Morton drubbed 5-1 at Firhill, Morton bring what has turned into a very productive month to a close with the visit of Billy Dodds’ depleted Inverness Caledonian Thistle to Cappielow Park supported by Dalrada Technology UK in front of the BBC Scotland cameras.

With Ayr United’s not-at-all funny defeat of Partick Thistle on Tuesday night propelling the Honest Men to the top of the pile with a significantly better goal difference than Morton, the box seat in the Championship would be an unlikely prize for a home win, but the fact we’re in the conversation for affecting the top end of the table is testament to the turnaround in form in recent weeks.

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Squad News

With Lewis McGrattan now firmly established in the starting line-up, and Robbie Muirhead playing as the central striker, it would appear that Jai Quitongo and Jaze Kabia are vying for one position on the right-hand side of Morton’s forward line, whilst defensively Darragh O’Connor missed out at Dens due to a thumb injury and Alan Lithgow’s injury woes for the campaign continued.

Whilst Liam Grimshaw filled in admirably as a makeshift centre-back last weekend, the signing of former Nigerian international Efe Ambrose, a familiar face to Morton fans from days gone by, will allow Grimshaw to revert to his preferred position at right back.

Ambrose’s last appearance in Scottish football saw him ordered off in Dunfermline’s play-off semi-final second leg defeat to Queen’s Park in May which saw the Fifers sent down to join their wee pals Falkirk in League One, but as far as we’re aware, Ambrose was signed and registered prior to last weekend’s match at Dens, allowing him to serve his suspension against Dundee.

Current Connections 

Connections are few and far between in fixtures between Morton and Inverness, with nobody in either squad ever having appeared for their opponents at any point in their careers.

Thistle centre-back Wallace Duffy joined Morton on loan from previous club St. Johnstone in the summer of 2020, before the Perth Saints reneged on the deal with Morton’s cooperation to allow him to sign a permanent deal with The Caley Jags.

There is of course a connection in the technical area, but for a change, Inverness are one of the clubs Andy Millen hasn’t played for in his career. Morton boss Dougie Imrie spent two seasons in the Highlands from 2008-10, before returning south to Hamilton Accies, and then St. Mirren and Morton.

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Tale of the Tape 

Home wins have been a rarity in this fixture, with the sides meeting six times last season, including two matches in the Scottish Cup. Inverness struck the first blow by beating Morton 2-0 at the Caledonian Stadium in October, before Gavin Reilly’s late equaliser at the same venue secured managerless Morton a replay in a Scottish Cup third round tie. Another 1-1 draw in said replay led to a penalty shoot-out from which the good guys prevailed, sending Billy Dodds up the A9 in a strop over changing facilities and not about losing a tie he’d expected to win.

Inverness did however return to Cappielow a few days later and dished out retribution in its harshest form, hammering a Morton side at it’s lowest ebb of the campaign 1-6 before Dougie Imrie came in to steady the ship.

The final two meetings of the season saw single goal away wins, as Lewis Strapp’s first half goal in February secured the points for Morton, whilst on the penultimate day of the season, a Roddy McGregor strike saw Inverness home and dry as they pushed for a play-off place, on a day that other results secured Morton’s Championship status for the current campaign.

That pattern of 1-0 away victories continued into this season, as a late Grant Gillepsie penalty gained Morton a fine three points on the road as August drew to a close.

Opposition Analysis 

That defeat to Morton in August was followed up by a Premier Sports Cup hammering at Fir Park, but Thistle’s league form improved dramatically as they embarked on a five-match winning run before hitting the buffers spectacularly with a 0-1 home reverse to a Hamilton side that Morton had rattled five past ten days previous. That was followed up by a 1-1 draw with Raith Rovers which saw defender Robbie Deas join an ever-growing injury list with a broken leg. At last count, Inverness could be without up to nine first team regulars to injury, in a crisis that a recent club statement described as “the worst in living memory”.

I spoke to Inverness fan Lawrie Spence (@Nareystoepoker), who had that lengthy casualty list at the forefront of his mind.

“Caley Thistle travel to Greenock second in the table having lost only one in their last seven league games, yet they are hardly operating from a position of strength. An injury crisis has left the squad threadbare, and every match seems to result in another significant casualty; Robbie Deas was the latest last weekend with a broken leg, and he’ll join ACL victims Shane Sutherland and Tom Walsh on the side-lines for a good while yet. Danny Devine, Wallace Duffy, Scott Allardice, Roddy MacGregor, Daniel MacKay, and Austin Samuels have also been absent recently. Make no mistake, this is a squad that is down to the bare bones.

The key for ICT even before this crisis was scoring first- they are far better at controlling games and hitting on the break having struck the first blow than they are chasing deficits and breaking down opponents, as demonstrated in the 0-1 defeat to Morton at home earlier this season. This is likely to be a cagey, low-scoring affair decided by either a set piece or a mistake.”

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Betting Guide 

All odds are supplied by McBookie. All odds correct as of 7am on 28th October 2022 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling. 

Morton are the favourites to break the cycle of away wins at 13/10, with the visitors priced at 15/8 and the draw at 11/5.

Given that goals are few and far between, and Morton have been defensively sound in recent times, a home win without conceding is worth a look at 14/5. Morton to win with under 2.5 goals in the game comes in at 7/2.

Match Officials 

Referee- Colin Steven

AR 1-  Gordon McCabe

AR 2- Ian Hart

4th Official- Ross Hardie

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