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Match Preview - Morton vs Dundee (17th February)


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Morton v Dundee – Match Preview

by Russell Gordon.

The BBC Scotland cameras return to Cappielow Park supported by Dalrada Technology for what looks to be a fascinating match up between a Morton side looking to follow up last weekend’s fantastic win against league leaders Queen’s Park by toppling title favourites Dundee. 

With The Spiders also in action against Raith Rovers at Ochilview, there is plenty of room for twists and turns at the top end of the table ahead of the other matches on Saturday. 

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Squad News 

Long-term casualty Lewis Strapp will again sit out, with Calum Waters settling well into the back four, and Lewis McGrattan will hope to keep his place after a fine performance on his return to the first team. Whilst Imrie has alluded to Grant Gillespie and Calvin Miller still carrying knocks which resulted to them being benched for the win over Queen’s Park, it’s refreshing to see the manager now has some options to mix things up a bit. In the forward areas, George Oakley was withdrawn on Saturday despite being on a hat-trick, and the imperious Jai Quitongo did appear to toil with cramp late on, having run the Spiders’ defence ragged all afternoon. Both should be fit and raring to go. 

Current Connections  

There aren’t too many connections between the two clubs, with only Calvin Miller in the Morton ranks having previously played for the Dens Park side, during a loan spell from Celtic in the first half of the 2018-19 season. Miller scored one goal in sixteen Premiership games, a 1-5 defeat at Pittodrie in a season which saw them relegated to the Championship, and Miller completing his own campaign at Ayr United. 

In the visitors’ squad, Paul McGowan needs no introduction to the Morton support, having enjoyed a fruitful loan spell from Celtic at Cappielow in 2006-07 which saw him collect a Second Division winners’ medal before the clubs failed to come to an agreement on a permanent deal. 

Paul McMullan was another Celtic loanee, arriving for a short spell in 2016 and playing only eleven games and scoring once towards the end of Morton’s first season back in the Championship after promotion. 

Dundee’s Luke McCowan is a Greenock local, who had a trial at Morton under Jim Duffy, but slipped through the net before signing for Ayr United. 

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Tale of the Tape  

There really isn’t much to write home about, here. Both previous meetings have resulted in goalless draws as the sides cancelled each other out. Morton were perhaps unfortunate not to win the early season fixture at Cappielow in August, and a makeshift defence (without the suspended Efe Ambrose!), contained Dundee comfortably at Dens in October in an uneventful encounter. 

Opposition Analysis  

With the season approaching the business end, Dundee are ticking along quite nicely, with the 3-0 win against Queen’s Park three weeks ago being the clear standout result. An SPFL Trust Trophy semi-final defeat at home to Raith on penalties having led 2-0 and a draw at struggling Hamilton though give clear indication that there is room for improvement in the City of Discovery, though.  

The re-signing of AFC Wimbledon loanee Zach Robinson has proved a welcome boost to the Dens men, with the striker scoring his first goal since his return in Sunday’s resounding 3-0 victory over Cove Rangers. 

Gary Bowyer also used his knowledge of the English market to bring in midfielder Ryan Clampin and Swiss striker Lorent Tolaj, on loan from League Two sides Colchester and Salford respectively. 

I spoke to Dundee fan Nicola Ironside (@nicola_ironside), who is looking to see Dundee adding to their points tally as they visit Greenock this weekend. 

“I think that if you asked most Dundee fans in the summer their predictions for the upcoming season the popular answer would be that we would be winning the league with a bit to spare. On paper, this was shaping up as one of the easiest Championships in a number of years, but whilst we’re still in a strong position- only a point off the top with a game in hand, once again the Championship is proving to be one of the hardest leagues to get yourself out of. 

Our unbeaten run before Christmas definitely gave both the players and fans a lot of optimism. The win at Ayr was a particularly huge result, especially considering we played the majority of the match with only ten men, but as is often the case, we unfortunately were brought right back down to Earth with a defeat by Arbroath at Dens. 

I don’t think we have been able to start our strongest eleven for more than a couple of games due to injuries and suspension. Added to that, the loss of Zach Robinson in the middle of November definitely added to that problem. 

Fortunately however, we seem to have strengthened the squad in most, if not all areas since the January transfer window opened. Which has again raised the fans’ expectations that we can finish top of the pile in May. That said, another concern is that we’ve missed seven penalties in our last few games- something Bowyer certainly needs to pay attention to and work on.

As far as Friday’s game goes- I’d love to say that I think it’ll be a comfortable 2-0 win for Dundee. However, as was evident from the previous meetings, we’ve found it difficult to get going against Morton. I’m expecting a hard fought and scrappy game, with a lot of it played in the air rather than on the deck. I’m still going to go with a 2-0 away win, but I very much doubt it’ll be a comfortable evening.” 

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Betting Guide  

All odds are supplied by McBookie. All odds correct as of 7am on 17th February 2023 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.  

Morton will have to upset the odds to come out of Friday’s match with the victory, priced at 12/5, whilst Dundee are even money and the draw comes in at 23/10. 

George Oakley to continue his fine start to his Morton career with the first goal is 10/1, and a change to the norm for this fixture of Morton to win with both teams to score is a tempting 11/2. 

Match Officials  

Referee- Euan Anderson 

AR 1-  Steven Traynor 

AR 2-  Gordon McCabe 

Fourth Official-  Calum Scott 

 

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