Match Preview - Queens Park vs Morton (4th March)
Morton vs Queens Park - Match Preview
by Dean McKinnon
As the Championship title race hots up, Dougie Imrie will lead his side out tomorrow against Queens Park, aiming to reduce the gap between Morton and the league leaders. The Spiders, who sit atop of the Championship with just ten fixtures remaining, have had a hugely impressive debut in the second tier, and will be eying up a space at Scottish football’s top table next term. The Morton gaffer will be hoping that his team’s endeavour, dexterity and charm can help extend their impeccable record against the Spiders so far this season.
With debutant Ali Crawford, top goalscorer Robbie Muirhead and electric winger Calvin Miller all making stellar contributions to Morton’s comeback from the bench last time out, the Sinclair Street side have plenty of offensive options heading into this clash. Imrie may have an enforced change defensively, with Darragh O’Connor being withdrawn from the action last week with a tight hamstring. The ever-composed Efe Ambrose made a positive impact after replacing O’Connor, with his calmness and passing range proving a catalyst as The Ton resurrected their fortunes against a stubborn Cove Rangers side.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Club captain Grant Gillespie and powerful attacker Jai Quitongo both spent two successful seasons with the Spiders, securing successive promotions into the Championship before joining Dougie Imrie’s squad in the summer. Man of many clubs Andy Millen was plying his trade for the Glasgow club in 2011 when the curtain fell on his impressively durable playing career, hanging up his boots at the age of 45.
The hosts also harbour a couple of familiar faces for the Cowshed faithful. Former club captain Lee Kilday has been a stalwart at the heart of the Queens Park defence this season. Kilday was part of Jim Duffy’s rebuild as The Ton looked to return to the second tier at the first time of asking in 2014/15. Kilday enjoyed a five-year spell at the Tail o the Bank, with the League One title win and a substitute appearance in the League Cup Semi Final against Aberdeen the stand out accomplishments of his time in blue and white.
Dynamic attacker Josh McPake had a fleeting stay at Cappielow, being snapped up by David Hopkin in the COVID-impacted 2020/21 season. Having made six appearances for The Ton, he sustained an injury that side-lined him until his loan deal expired in January 2021. He would then go on to join Harrogate Town for the remainder of the season.
Tape of the Tape
Tomorrow’s hosts visited Cappielow on 11th February as The Ton toppled the league’s top two sides in quick succession. Grant Savoury gave his side an early advantage before a quickfire double from English striker George Oakley, thanks in part to some eccentric decision making by Queens goalkeeper Calum Ferrie. Oakley struck twice in two minutes to put the hosts ahead at half time. Jack Baird’s fifth goal of the season extended Morton’s lead a few minutes into the second half. Pacey striker Connor Sheilds pulled one back for the visitors, but Morton held firm to deny the league leaders an equaliser.
Morton travelled to Ochilview on Matchday 9, with Dougie Imrie seeking a hard reset following a 5-1 thumping in the hands of Partick that left the The Ton in 8th. On loan winger Jaze Kabia guided the ball home from close range following a Morton corner in the 19th minute. Robbie Muirhead doubled The Ton’s lead with a cute finish close to the hour mark, before a thumping effort from Malachi Boateng ten minutes later halved the deficit. The Ton saw the game out to claim what was an unexpected win against the Championship new boys, sparking a ten game unbeaten run for Dougie Imrie’s side.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Queens Park manager Owen Coyle will be seeking a stability that his side have lacked since the turn of the year. Despite some crushing results, such as besting Cove Rangers 6-0 in Aberdeen, Queens have struggled at times. They lost at home to Raith in the SPFL Trust Trophy in mid-January, as well as suffering 3-0 losses on the road in the hands of both Dundee and Inverness. The second tier debutants will hope their convincing 4-1 win over Hamilton last week was the perfect preparation for the visit of The Ton.
Ahead of tomorrow’s crunch match, Enzo Tamagini (@EnzoT56) from the Spriders Talk Podcast (@SpidersTalkPod), who spoke of Queens’ search for consistency since the turn of the year - “It's been an up and down start to 2023 for Queen's Park. There have been a few excellent results, and several massive disappointments. Despite the aforementioned frustrations we somehow still find ourselves top of the league. You could be forgiven for thinking nobody else fancies winning it.
Lots of people thought our title push was over with the sale of Simon Murray to Ross County on transfer deadline day, but that's not been the case. Connor Shields, on loan from Motherwell, has more than adequately taken on his responsibilities and even has a few people asking themselves whether he might be an upgrade, with 4 goals in 4 games so far.
One thing's for sure; we've struggled against Morton this season, and Saturday will be hard work. The previous meeting at Cappielow was arguably determined by a couple of lapses in concentration by our otherwise excellent goalkeeper Callum Ferrie, but we found our feet a bit more as the second half progressed.
Everyone involved with Queen's Park can only hope that the lovely football we saw through in Hamilton carries across into this massive fixture. A victory would almost certainly make us favourites for to win the title at this stage, and a draw wouldn't be catastrophic (depending on results elsewhere!), but we need to be wary of a Morton team who surely have lofty ambitions of their own.
I have a feeling we might finally pull it off against the Ton. Regardless, it's a massive game which I'm sure everyone is looking forward to despite the justified nerves.”
Photo - GBR Photographs.
All odds are provided by McBookie. Odds are correct as of 7:30am on 2nd March 2023 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.
Owen Coyle’s side head into Saturday’s match as favourites, priced at Evs to claim their first win over The Ton this season. The draw is pegged at 5/2, with Morton 21/10 to take all three points back to Inverclyde.
With both Morton’s centre forwards in a rich vein of form at the moment, backing George Oakley or Robbie Muirhead to score anytime at 13/8 may prove a wise investment. Energetic midfielder Robbie Crawford being tipped at 7/4 to be booked at anytime in the match is also another market worth keeping an eye on.
Referee - Mike Roncone
AR1 - Gary Hilland
AR2 - Calum Doyle
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