Cove Rangers vs Morton – Match Preview
by Dean McKinnon
Morton head north tomorrow aiming to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches. The Cappielow side showed guile, aggression and resolve last week to see off a Partick Thistle side who continue to slide down the Championship table. Cove, who appear to have turned a corner following a challenging induction to Scotland’s second-tier, will pose a different challenge to a Morton side that are brimming with confidence under Dougie Imrie.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Skipper Grant Gillespie misses Saturday through suspension, which gives an opportunity for another member of the squad to stake their claim for a regular place in an incredibly settled team. Carlo Pignatiello or Alex King could be slotted straight into midfield, whilst Jaze Kabia could be deployed in the front three, with Lewis McGrattan dropping into midfield.
Aside from the suspended Gillespie, Imrie boasts a full squad. Alan Lithgow’s recent return to the bench has boosted the matchday squad, Darragh O’Connor is back in contention following his hand injury, as well as goalkeeper Lawton Green now being fit enough to deputise for Brian Schwake.
To say that connections between the two clubs are few and far between is an understatement. Full back Adam Livingstone, who joined The Ton on loan from Motherwell, represented Cove Rangers eleven times in their League One campaign last season.
Former Cove gaffer Paul Hartley spent a short but distinguished loan spell on Sinclair Street in 1999/00, with a stunning free-kick at Love Street the cherry on top of his short spell in blue and white. Scott Paterson passed through the revolving door that was the Cappielow dressing room in the midst of the administration saga of 2001.
Tale of the Tape
Cove Rangers made their first ever visit to Cappielow on Matchday Two this season. Despite Morton’s endeavours, the home side struggled to create any clear cut chances against The Toonsers. A moment of genius from Jai Quitongo thirteen minutes from time eventually settled the fixture. Quitongo received the ball with his back to goal before pivoting and smashing the ball home from edge of the area on the half-volley, marking his return to Cappielow with a moment of sheer quality.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Cove have enjoyed an upturn in form in recent weeks. Following a narrow defeat in the hands of Inverness on 15th October, Jim McIntyre’s side went onto claim an impressive point at Somerset Park in a 2-2 draw, followed up by another point on the road in a pulsating 4-4 draw against Hamilton. They dispatched Queens Park 2-0 in front of the BBC Scotland cameras a fortnight ago with a very accomplished performance, as well as snatching a 90th minute equaliser at Gayfield last week against fellow part-timers Arbroath. Cove’s all-time top goalscorer and skipper Mitch Megginson misses Saturday’s fixture due to suspension, after picking up six bookings so far this campaign.
Ahead of Saturday’s match, I spoke to Sportsound presenter, and Cove Rangers Head of Media Richard Gordon, who spoke of the marked improvement of his side since their visit to Greenock – “The defeat at Cappielow on the second weekend of the season was the start of a four-game losing sequence and came at a time when the squad was beset by injury concerns, and Jim McIntyre was experiencing frustration in the transfer market.
He subsequently got the men he wanted, and Max Johnston, Jack Sanders and Charlie Gilmour have all made significant contributions. The injuries have continued - Fraser Fyvie missed seven matches, Blair Yule didn't start a game until late September, and Kyle McClelland was crocked after just three hours on the park - but with a bigger squad, the players have coped, and the results since have shown a marked improvement.
The back-to-back wins over Arbroath and Dundee in the space of three days in October made a huge difference, and the team is currently unbeaten in four, with the televised victory over Queen's Park providing a memorable highlight. Connor Scully has been the top performer this season, scoring eight goals, including the spectacular overhead kick which won the September/October cinch SPFL goal of the month award.”
Photo - GBR Photographs.
All match odds are provided by McBookie. Odds are correct as of 7am on 17th November 2022 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.
The Granite City side are slight outsiders for this one, chalked at 29/20 to claim their fifth win of the campaign. The draw is priced at 9/4, with 13/8 your reward if you fancy The Ton to travel home with all three points.
You can back both teams to find the net at 8/11. If you predict Lewis McGrattan to add a goal to his rich vein of form, you can back him to score anytime at 11/4. Jai Quitongo to score and Morton to win, a mirror of the reverse fixture, will earn you a price of 4/1.
Referee – Peter Stuart
AR1 – John McCrossan
AR2 – Elliott Husband Powton