Hamilton Academical vs Morton – Match Preview
by Dean McKinnon
Dougie Imrie will lead his Morton side out into his old stomping ground on Saturday as The Ton look to close the gap at the top end of the Championship table. Imrie, who has scored for both Morton and Hamilton at New Douglas Park, will be forced to take in tomorrow’s match from the main stand, having been shown two bookings in quick succession in last week’s feisty battle against Partick. With The Ton now four matches without a win, the Cowshed faithful will be hoping for a positive result to keep pace with Queens Park and Dundee at the head of the table.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Fans’ favourite Efe Ambrose may be forced to sit on the sideline this week after suffering a broken nose in last week’s foul tempered affair in Maryhill. Lewis McGrattan will be looking to force his way back into the manager’s starting XI after being replaced by debutant Calvin Miller last week.
Imrie bolstered his attacking options this week with the addition of striker Ally Roy, who joins from Belfast side Glentoran on loan for the rest of the campaign. The twenty-five year old hitman joined the Northern Irish side from Queen of the South, where he scored four goals in their ill-fated Championship campaign last term.
There are plenty of connections with our Lanarkshire counterparts, particularly in the dugout. Dougie Imrie is a Hamilton legend, making 240 league appearances over two spells at the club. It’ll be of little surprise to anyone that assistant manager Andy Millen played with Hamilton. He spent three years at the club, turning out for Accies 119 times during this stay. Morton skipper Grant Gillespie spent nine seasons in Lanarkshire, winning the Championship title and establishing himself as a mainstay in their Premiership side. Explosive winger Jai Quitongo spent a short period of his youth career with Accies.
Hamilton are the 8th club that full back Michael Doyle has represented. The athletic defender spent part of his youth career with the Lanarkshire side, returning to Accies this summer following two years at Queens Park.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Tale of the Tape
A first half rout from the hosts secured an emphatic win for Morton on Matchday 10. An eighth minute header from Jack Baird was followed up with goals from Jaze Kabia, skipper Grant Gillespie and Robbie Muirhead to put Dougie Imrie’s side up 4-0 at the interval. As is often the case in matches like these, the second period was slightly more subdued, with a second goal of the afternoon for Robbie Muirhead rounding off a pleasing afternoon’s work for the Cappielow side.
Both teams shared the spoils on the opening day of the season in Lanarkshire. Poacher Andy Ryan opened the scoring in the 12th minute, nodding home at close range from a corner that was poorly defended by the visitors. The Ton rallied shortly before the interval when Accies’ Shaun Want felled Jaze Kabia, a foul that the referee adjudged to have been committed inside the box. Things went from bad to worse for Want, who was shown a second caution for the challenge. Former Hamilton man Grant Gillespie made no mistake from the penalty spot, with the visitors leaving frustrated that they could not take advantage of their extra man in the second half.
There is no point in sugar coating this – Hamilton are struggling at the moment. Bottom of the table, and with the least number of goals in the league, the Lanarkshire side have a serious task on their hands if they are to remain in the second tier beyond this season. Recent league results have offered precious little in terms of encouragement for a side who are six points behind 9th placed Arbroath, albeit they do have a game in hand. A midweek fightback in the SPFL Trust Trophy Quarter Final, turning around a 2-1 deficit to Lanarkshire rivals Clyde may prove a catalyst ahead of Saturday’s match.
This is usually the part in our match preview where we welcome an opposition supporter to give us an insight into their season so far, and their thoughts heading into the match. Over the past few weeks, Hamilton have allegedly banned supporters for being overly critical of the management of the club on social media. This hyperbolic chain of events has been met with threats of legal action and supporter boycotts. In light of this, we have decided against seeking the views of any Accies fans.
In what is surely nothing more than a random coincidence, former Morton chief executive, master of all things Twitter and fox catcher extraordinaire Dave MacKinnon is currently employed by Hamilton. I’m sure all Morton fans wish him nothing but success in the role.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
All match odds are provided by McBookie. All odds are correct as of 7am on 11th November 2023 and are subject to change. Please only gamble within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.
Despite their home advantage, Hamilton are outsiders for Saturday’s tie, pegged at 7/4 to claim a vital three points. The draw prices at 11/5, with Dougie Imrie’s side 11/8 to emerge victorious.
If you fancy Jack Baird to find the net in consecutive matches, the defender is 26/1 to open the scoring or 10/1 to score anytime. Full back Liam Grimshaw is 4/5 to be cautioned at any time.
Referee – Duncan Williams
AR1 – Ross Macleod
AR2 – Ross Nelson