Match Preview - Morton vs QOTS (26th November)
Morton v Queen of the South – Match Preview
by Russell Gordon
After Morton’s fantastic last-gasp victory at Cove Rangers last weekend, the football world’s attention turns to the latest episode in the story of the greatest sporting competition on the planet- yes, our interest in the Scottish Cup resumes for another year!
Whilst it’s far from the most attractive of fixtures, with many of us at least looking for someone we’ve never previously met at this early stage, or at best a trip to a far-flung non-league ground that we’re unlikely to visit again, the visit of familiar foe Queen of the South to Cappielow Park supported by Dalrada Technology UK at least provides an opportunity for progression in the competition against a side who have struggled to adapt to their new surroundings since last season’s relegation to League One.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Dougie Imrie should enjoy as close to a full squad as possible ahead of the Doonhamers' visit, with Darragh O’Connor and Lawton Green approaching full fitness, and club captain Grant Gillespie returning from his enforced absence in Aberdeen last weekend. From listening to Imrie’s post-match interview at Balmoral Stadium, I’d expect him to shuffle his pack somewhat, which could see some game time for the likes of Carlo Pignatiello, Alex King and Alan Lithgow, who have all seen limited minutes in recent weeks.
The only Morton player to have represented Queens is Darragh O’Connor, who, despite last season’s relegation, impressed during a loan spell from Motherwell in the second half of the campaign.
In the Dumfries side’s ranks, reserve keeper Scott Fox answered the call to step in for the injured Aidan McAdams in the play-off final of 2021, registering two clean sheets as Morton emphatically retained their Championship status with a 4-0 aggregate hammering of Airdrie.
Gavin Reilly had a fruitful loan spell at Cappielow last term from Livingston, under Imrie’s tutelage at least, whilst midfielder Iain Wilson was an inspired addition to Morton’s midfield last term.
Full back Rico Quitongo is the brother of Morton forward Jai, and should be available in spite of being sent off for a second booking in their 4-0 defeat of Montrose last weekend.
It may well be the most tenuous of connections, but defender Ciaran McKenna’s collision with hapless former Falkirk teammate William Edjenguele allowed Greg Kiltie to square for Charlie Telfer to bury the second goal which helped send the Bairns spinning into League One in 2019, from where they are yet to return.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Tale of the Tape
Cup ties between the clubs have been common occurrences in recent years, with this the fourth consecutive season Morton and Queens have met in one cup competition or another, and the Doonhamers have the slight upper hand over the ties.
I could go back further, but in their most recent promotion season of 2012-13, Queen of the South visited Cappielow in a second round Challenge Cup tie and progressed with a 2-1 win on their way to winning the competition, eventually triumphing on penalties against Partick in the final. Every cloud.
The next cup meeting was in the second round of the League Cup in 2015, when newly promoted Morton shocked their more-fancied opponents 1-0 thanks to a fantastic Ross Forbes strike from the edge of the box to secure a third round tie with Motherwell at Cappielow.
2018 saw a 3-3 League Cup group stage draw and a penalty shoot-out win for Morton in Greenock that took us through to a knock-out stage tie with Hibernian at Easter Road, before the following season, Queens visited for the first competitive game under COVID restrictions, this time taking the spoils in a penalty shoot-out for the bonus point as Morton exited the competition early with only one win and three spot-kick defeats in the group stages.
Last season saw a 2-1 Challenge Cup Quarter Final defeat in the dying embers of Gus MacPherson’s disastrous reign as Queens went onto the final only to fall to Raith Rovers.
With Queens having the better of the league meetings last season, it’s fair to say we “owe” them one.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
You just don’t know what you’re going to get from Queen of the South this season- their four most recent results summing up the inconsistency in their side. Losing 1-3 at home to League One stalwarts Falkirk, before registering an impressive 3-0 victory at promotion-chasing Edinburgh is one thing, but following those results up with a 1-5 shellacking at Alloa and then a 4-0 victory over a very good Montrose side tells you that there’s no method to predicting what sort of Queen of the South team will turn up.
I spoke to Queen of the South fan Finlay Jack (@Finlay_Jack5) who is quite optimistic about his team’s chances heading into the tie, although he was also quick to acknowledge the lack of a novelty factor about the match-up.
“This is probably one of the worst draws we could’ve got (I’m sure Morton fans are saying similar)- I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve met in cup competition over the last few years, on top of all the league meetings!
I don’t think this can quite be considered as a “free hit” for us, but the pressure is all on Morton, here. The league is our bread and butter this term, and we’ve already profited a fair bit from our League Cup run, which ended with a trip to Ibrox in August, but a cup run is always nice.
If we can keep our midfield trio of Iain Wilson, Calvin McGrory and Josh Todd fit then we’ve every chance of sneaking a win. And with the gaffer’s 17-year-old son, Lewis Gibson creating goals for fun, I’d be surprised if Paton and or Reilly don’t find the net.
Our issue is at the other end of the park. We leak far too many goals. But I’ll remain optimistic… a 3-3 draw and a win on penalties!”
All odds are supplied by McBookie. All odds correct as of 4pm on 25th November 2022 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.
Morton head into the match as 4/6 favourites, with the draw priced at 31/10 and the visitors at 16/5.
With Morton conceding in each of their last three, a home win with both teams to score is 11/5, whilst over 3.5 goals in the match is 17/10.
Referee- Scott Lambie
AR 1- Daniel McFarlane
AR 2- Ian Hart
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