Match Preview - Ayr United vs Morton (8th April)
Ayr United vs Morton – Match Preview
by Dean McKinnon
Morton travel to Ayrshire tomorrow attempting to gain ground on Partick Thistle and Ayr United in the race for the Premiership playoffs. Dougie Imrie’s men currently trail the hosts by six points, with a game in hand due to be played against Hamilton in midweek. Following last week’s last gasp defeat to Inverness, The Ton will look to recapture the positive momentum of earlier in the campaign as the Championship enters the home straight.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Cammy Blues is a doubt ahead of the trip down the coast, with the ever-present midfielder being withdrawn at half time last week with a suspected concussion. The travelling support will hope that explosive winger Jai Quitongo is closer to full fitness after looking somewhat sheepish in his substitute appearance in the defeat to Inverness.
Former Morton Player of the Year Aidan McAdams and alleged defender Sean McGinty are the last two of David Hopkin’s former charges remaining in Ayrshire. Hopkin recruited no fewer than five of his former players to join him in Ayr, after he so bravely fell on his own sword to end his stay at Cappielow.
Andy Murdoch’s perplexing release by Ray McKinnon is a long standing grievance of the Ton faithful. Murdoch served with distinction during his two season stay on Sinclair Street and is a player who would be welcomed back to the club with open arms.
Jack Baird sandwiched two seasons at Somerset between both his spells in Greenock. Calvin Miller cut his teeth on loan at Ayr from Celtic as a young player in 2018/19. Club captain Grant Gillespie had a brief stint with the Honest Men, making five appearances for the club in 2019/20 following his release by Derry City.
Tale of the Tape
Dougie Imrie’s side have yet to record a league win over Ayr this season. The Honest Men steamrolled The Ton on Matchday 6 at Cappielow thanks to goals from Dipo Akinyemi and Mark McKenzie.
Both sides shared a point on Matchday 14 at Somerset Park. Alex Kirk opened the scoring in the third minute before Jai Quitongo’s bullet header from a corner draw the sides level thirteen minutes later in a tightly contested affair that neither team could make justified claim for deserving all three points.
The most recent meeting between the sides on Matchday 27 took place a little over a month ago, with Ayr leaving Greenock with all three points. Sam Ashford’s opening goal was cancelled out by a crisp finish by Robbie Crawford before the Honest Men scored two more first half goals to put the match beyond doubt.
The Ton progressed to the Fourth Round of the SPFL Trust Trophy at the expense of Lee Bullen’s side. Now Airdrie winger Lewis McGregor opened the scoring for the hosts before Josh Mullin levelled the tie. Sean McGinty’s penalty miss drew an outpouring of sympathy from the home support as they watched their side score five penalties in a row to book a place in the next round.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Ayr were a side, akin to Morton, who many bookmakers believed would be slugging it out for Championship survival this term. Lee Bullen’s side have defied expectations, and despite their recent inconsistencies, have been a mainstay at the business end of the Championship this term. Spearheaded by English striker Dipo Akinyemi, who has netted fifteen league goals so far, the Honest Men would see a win against Morton as a huge step towards securing a Premiership playoff spot.
Ahead of the game I spoke to Ayr fan Marc Dunlop (@Marco_Ayr), who spoke of the search for consistency as the Championship reaches its climax – “Inconsistency still plagues the Honest Men going into Saturdays game at Somerset Park. I think I’m speaking for the majority of the support here, that since our bitterly disappointing Scottish Cup 1/4 final exit, everything’s felt a bit, shall we say, flat. It knocked the stuffing out us.
Since then we’ve managed 2 league wins, coming against 9th & 10th placed sides, & 2 defeats. Lee Bullen & his men will be determined to put Fridays poor performance behind them as they bid to cement a spot in the top 4.
Chris Maguire has shown his qualities since coming in & gets fitter with every remaining game. Key man Josh Mullin remains a doubt & it might be a game too soon for him. I expect the manager to change it up slightly from Arbroath away, & he may look to academy graduate Paul Smith to give
Ayr a different dimension in attack. Reece McAlear could come back into the middle of the park, & due to a shortage of options, I expect the defence to remain unchanged.
A massive 3 points up for grabs, unfortunately we’re unsure which Ayr United side will be on show. Intriguing, if nothing else. Cmon Ayr!!!”
Photo - GBR Photographs.
All match odds are provided by McBookie. Odds are correct as of 10pm on 6th April 2023 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.
The hosts head into this one as favourite, chalked at 21/20 to best their Inverclyde opponents. The draw is priced at 12/5, with Dougie Imrie’s side 11/5 to claim their first league win against Ayr this term.
If you fancy George Oakley to continue his impressive goalscoring form, you can back the Englishman to score anytime at 5/2. You can also back former Kilmarnock youngster Robbie Muirhead to score his first goal of the season against the Ayrshire side at 12/5. Club captain Grant Gillespie to be shown a yellow card at anytime in the contest may be worth some investment, priced at 6/4.
Referee - Matthew MacDermid
AR1 - Gary Hilland
AR2 - Alastair Taylor
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