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Match Preview - Raith Rovers vs Morton (23rd December)


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Raith Rovers vs Morton – Match Preview

by Dean McKinnon

The Ton travel through to Kirkcaldy this evening for the final fixture of what has been an incredibly successful year for the Greenock side. With popular manager Dougie Imrie celebrating one year in post this week, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the rejuvenation inside Cappielow that has been inspired by the gaffer. With a popular and successful team on the pitch, and Morton Club Together attracting external investment and finding their feet inside Cappielow, the Ton faithful must surely reflect on this year as one of the most enjoyable in recent memory.

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Squad News

The Morton manager will surely look towards a more recognised starting XI for this clash, having rotated heavily in the penalty shootout defeat to Raith Rovers in the SPFL Trust Trophy a fortnight ago. Darragh O’Connor, Alan Lithgow, Darren Hynes, Carlo Pignatiello, Alex King, Lewis McGregor and Jaze Kabia all found themselves starting against Raith, but it appears unlikely that Imrie will deviate this far from his core squad for tonight’s encounter. That being said, promising young star Alex King, following two stunning goals in two sub appearances, may have done enough to stake a claim for a starting berth against the Fife side.

Current Connections

Morton captain Grant Gillespie turned out for the Kirkcaldy side in 2018/19, making 27 appearances during his tenure.

Raith Rovers are also one of the eleven Scottish clubs that assistant manager Andy Millen played for. Andy’s son, Ross Millen, now plies his trade with the Fife side, turning out in the cup defeat at Starks Park a fortnight ago.

Tale of the Tape

Both sides have won their home fixture this season. Raith edged out Dougie Imrie’s side 2-1 on Matchday 3 at Stark’s Park, with goals from Liam Dick and Aidan Connolly in the second half. Cammy Blues halved the arrears with ten minutes to go, but the hosts held firm to claim their first points of the season.

Morton claimed maximum points Matchday 11 in dramatic fashion. Kieran Ngwenya clumsily hauled down Jai Quitongo as he bore down on Jamie McDonald’s goal inside the second minute of stoppage time. Skipper Grant Gillespie converted from the spot to ensure that all three points remained in Greenock.

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Opposition Analysis

Raith have good reason to be unhappy with their league campaign thus far. Despite retraining the spine of a squad that finished in fifth spot last season, they cannot appear to propel themselves up the table. Ian Murray’s side have an encouraging record at home, despite their recent 5-2 defeat to Queens Park and a frustrating 1-1 draw with struggling Arbroath.  

I spoke with Raith fan Dennis Hamilton, who appeared pessimistic in his side’s ability to win this tie – “I’m not overly confident about this one if I’m being honest. It seems to be one step forward and two steps back with Rovers at the moment. Last week’s draw with Arbroath was a frustrating one, especially conceding on the brink of half time after getting the early goal. Unless something drastic changes then I think hovering around the relegation zone will be our fate this season.

I think this one will finish 1-1.”

Betting Guide

All match odds are provided by McBookie. Odds are correct as of 7am on 23rd December 2022 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.

The bookies believe that home advantage will give Raith the edge, pegged at 13/10 to win. Both the draw and an away win are priced at 21/10. Given that all goals between the sides this season have been scored in the second half, backing both teams to score in the second half at 13/5 may be worth some investment.

Jai Quitongo to be the first player booked prices at 9/4. If you fancy skipper Grant Gillespie to once again find the net you can back him to score anytime at 9/2.

Match Officials

Referee – Peter Stuart

AR1 – Graham Chambers

AR2 – George King

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

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