Match Preview - Morton vs Partick (11th March)
Morton v Partick Thistle – Match Preview
by Russell Gordon
As we enter the final quarter of the season, Morton head into what looks like a daunting encounter against an in-form Partick Thistle at Cappielow Park supported by Dalrada Technology, bruised after a chastening defeat at the hands of fellow promotion hopefuls Ayr United in midweek.
With Tuesday’s match certainly going down as a missed opportunity, the weekend’s decimated card will see Morton’s advantage of having a game in hand over some of their rivals reversed in the space of a couple of days, making a positive result imperative for Dougie Imrie’s men.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
The absences of Darragh O’Connor and Jai Quitongo were to prove crucial in midweek, with Quitongo’s powerful running in particular being a a big miss, whilst Morton appeared to defend deeper than usual to compensate for Efe Ambrose’s lack of pace.
With Imrie accepting responsibility for the defeat, I’d expect to see changes, with perhaps Lewis McGrattan coming in (should Quitongo not make it) to add balance to a forward line which really struggled against the Honest Men. It was apparent that Robbie Muirhead and George Oakley didn’t work well together, so assuming he looks at that issue, I’d expect Muirhead to be benched.
Grant Gillespie could also return to the midfield, but his cameo against Ayr suggested that he’s still not quite up to speed.
In the Morton squad, Jai Quitongo, Robbie Crawford, Ally Roy and Robbie Muirhead have all represented Partick, with Crawford perhaps having the most successful spell, helping them to the play-offs before being released to sign for Morton in the summer.
After Sean McGinty’s successful return to Cappielow in midweek, Partick striker Brian Graham will be looking to emulate the Irishman by netting against the club he holds so dear to his heart, whilst the home support will doubtless remind him that the feeling’s mutual.
Winger Scott Tiffoney doesn’t quite attract the same venom of the Morton support, but will certainly be a dangerman for our friends from Glasgow. Midfielder Kyle Turner is the son of former Morton man Tommy, and new boss Kris Doolan’s career peaked with one appearance for Morton, playing 12 minutes of a 2-2 draw against Queen of the South in the COVID-curtailed 2019-20 season.
Tale of the Tape
Morton’s 1-5 mauling at Firhill in October was as bad as it’s been since Dougie Imrie arrived at Cappielow, as a Morton side missing Jai Quitongo and Jack Baird, suspended after their SPFL Trust Trophy sending offs against Ayr took an early lead through a terrific Robbie Muirhead free kick, but were taken apart by their hosts. The positive to be taken from it was that it spurred the team on to their best run of the season from then on in.
In that long unbeaten run, a Partick side whose form had dipped since that dreadful afternoon arrived at Cappielow and fell behind to an early Efe Ambrose goal and Cammy Blues’s close range finish from a fantastic move, sandwiching out Anton Dowds equaliser, before Olatunji Akinola was ordered off in stoppage time for hauling down Quitongo as he broke clear with Partick throwing the kitchen sink at an equaliser.
Our visit to Firhill in January left a sour taste in the mouth. With Ambrose taken out just before half time with a facial injury (make of that what you wish), Morton’s long unbeaten run met an end thanks to a controversial penalty decision as Grant Gillespie was penalised for handball. Personally, I’d agree it was a penalty, but given a number of high profile similar decisions that hadn’t been awarded at the time, Morton had reason to be aggrieved. Jack Baird got us an equaliser, but referee Alan Muir had a howler. Imrie saw red and was sent to the stand for his complaints, whilst no action was taken against Brian Graham for hurling a torrent of abuse at the linesman. A late Ross Docherty goal, which looked more like a Baird own goal, gave Partick the win, but not before Darragh O’Connor had his shirt pulled by Aaron Muirhead in the box, and his claims for a penalty were unsurprisingly ignored by the hapless official.
As the final whistle blew, there was a confrontation between the two sets of players, with Grimshaw in particular taking exception to the behaviour of Graham as he goaded the visiting support.
It will not be comforting to note that Muir will again be the man in the middle for the weekend’s clash.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
The new manager bounce appears to be taking effect at Firhill, with Doolan registering ten points from twelve since taking over from Ian McCall, only a 0-0 draw at Gayfield proving a blot in the copybook so far.
That they’ve won at two of the other three teams in the top half is worth noting, with a 1-0 win at Somerset Park, and an especially impressive 3-1 win over Dundee at Dens Park showing a degree of intent from the Firhill side.
Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Raith Rovers ended their fourteen-match unbeaten run, and with the former Morton duo of Graham and Tiffoney netting five of their last six goals, it’s clear where the danger lies for Morton.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
All odds are supplied by McBookie. All odds correct as of 7am on 10th March 2023 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.
The bookies are struggling to separate the teams, with Morton the very slight favourites at 6/4, whilst Partick come in at 8/5 and the draw a 9/4.
Morton to win with both teams to score is 15/4 and the draw at half time and Morton at full time is 5/1.
Referee- Alan Muir
AR 1- Alan Mulvanny
AR 2- Will Pare
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