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Match Preview - Ross County vs Morton (22nd July)


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Ross County vs Morton – Match Preview 

by Dean McKinnon 

Morton travel up the A9 tomorrow to face their sternest test of the season so far, a trip to Premiership side Ross County in the Viaplay Cup group stage. Both sides enter the tie having taken maximum points so far in a match that will be vital in determining who tops Group D and progresses through to the Second Round draw. Things were all going to plan for The Ton midweek against Stranraer, until former player Thomas Orr clashed with centre back Jack Baird, who suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder, throwing Imrie’s plans into chaos ahead of the trip to the Highlands. 

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Squad News  

Unless there are any incoming transfers before matchday, Dougie Imrie will be likely forced into naming a makeshift defence after Baird appeared to dislocate his shoulder. The defender was on the receiving end of a crunching challenge and was reportedly taken to hospital shortly after full time. Darragh O’Connor can be moved into his natural position at centre back, however there is no natural right back in the squad.  

Current Connections  

Nobody in the current Morton squad has ever represented the Staggies, however there will be one familiar face in the home squad - Welsh striker Alex Samuel. Samuel joined Jim Duffy’s side in September 2015 on loan from Swansea City. The physically imposing striker made his debut in a 4-2 win against Livingston, however he would struggle to establish himself as a first-choice attacker, making only six league starts during his time in Greenock. Samuel would score three significant goals during his loan spell – a double which helped The Ton dump Premiership side Motherwell out of the League Cup 3-2, as well as a last gasp (and very offside) equaliser at St Mirren Park to salvage a 1-1 draw. The Welshman joined Ross County on a two-year deal in August 2021 following his release from Wycombe.  

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Tale of the Tape  

The Ton’s recent record in Dingwall makes for grim reading. The sides traded two home wins apiece the last time Ross County played in the Championship in 2018/19, with the Highland side finishing top of the pile and sealing a return to the Premiership. Despite Morton making three trips to Dingwall in the 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons, the last time the Greenock men tasted victory in the Global Energy Stadium was the famous Scottish Cup victory of 2002/03. A double from ‘Super’ Alex Williams sealed a monumental victory for Third Division Morton against the then First Division side.  

Opposition Analysis  

The Staggies will hope they can resurrect their fortunes this season after surviving in the top tier by the thinnest of margins, coming back from 3-0 down in the tie to best Partick in a penalty shootout that would leave Brian Graham in tears on the turf. Never mind, eh? 

Malky MacKay has rung the changes during the off season, with nine players leaving The Global Energy Stadium and six recruited so far, along with Eamonn Brophy’s loan from St Mirren being made permanent. So far, the club have had mixed results in pre-season - besting Nairn County 3-1; losing 2-1 to Queens Park and beating Clachnacuddin 5-1. The Staggies recorded a comfortable 5-1 win down at Stranraer in their first competitive fixture of the season thanks to an own goal from Craig Ross, a hattrick from Simon Murray and a late goal from Jack Baldwin. 

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Photo - GBR Photographs.

Betting Guide  

All odds are provided by McBookie. Odds are correct as of 7pm on 19th July 2023 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.  

The hosts enter this one as the bookies’ favourite, priced at 4/5 to keep all three points in Dingwall. The draw is priced at 13/5, with Dougie Imrie’s men 14/5 to claim a victory that would surely confirm passage to Round Two.  

Match Officials 

Referee - Don Robertson 

AR1 - Steven Traynor 

AR2 - Stuart Stevenson 

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