Morton v Edinburgh City – Match Preview
by Russell Gordon
The Viaplay Scottish League Cup group stages come to a conclusion this weekend, with Morton looking towards the visit of League One Edinburgh City to Cappielow Park supported by Dalrada Technology, realistically requiring nothing less than three points in their quest to snatch one of the three best second placed finishes which would take them through to the competition’s last sixteen.
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Photo - GBR Photographs.
There’s no hiding from it, Morton’s defensive woes have been well publicised. The departure of Liam Grimshaw to Dundee United has left a hole in the right back position that has yet to be filled, and the loss of Jack Baird to a dislocated shoulder in the win over Stranraer, an injury that Imrie estimated would keep the inspirational defender out for around two months, has been a hammer blow to the club’s short term ambitions, and has forced Imrie to re-assess his squad building going forward.
Cameron Blues performed admirably at right back in Dingwall last weekend, but I’m sure that he himself will admit that he’s not a long term solution on the right hand side of a back four.
Although with goal difference being a major factor in Imrie’s mind, and the Citizens not enjoying a fruitful campaign, we may expect to see an attacking lineup as Morton look to get the edge over those also chasing a place in the knock out stages.
In the Morton squad, only Blues has represented Edinburgh- way back in the 2017-18 campaign, making 16 starts in their second season in the SPFL.
There are however, a couple of familiar faces in the visitors’ camp. Former Morton captain Kyle Jacobs moved to the capital on loan at the start of last season, having failed to hold down a place in the Morton side after Dougie Imrie’s arrival, and made the move a permanent one in the January window after negotiating his release from his parent club.
Alongside Jacobs is former ‘Ton custodian Sam Ramsbottom, who is a regular between the sticks at Meadowbank Stadium. Ramsbottom endured an unhappy spell at Cappielow under David Hopkin, appearing out of his depth at Championship level before losing his place to Aberdeen loanee Danny Rodgers.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
Tale of the Tape
Only formed in 1966 under the moniker of Postal United, and taking the name of Edinburgh City in 1986 before becoming the first club to be promoted into the SPFL in 2016, it’s no surprise that this is only the second meeting of Morton and Edinburgh City in their current guise.
Six years ago to the day of Saturday’s match, Morton also finished off the group stages against Edinburgh, recording a comprehensive 5-0 victory, with doubles from Bob McHugh and Robert Thomson and a single strike from Jai Quitongo. Whilst I’m sure most would happily accept such a result on Saturday, don’t take this as any sort of good omen, as the ‘Ton were to bow out of the competition after that win.
We did have a strong record against the previous incarnation of Edinburgh City, mostly in Division Two in the 1930s, whilst our last game against them was a 4-0 home win in the Scottish Cup First Round in 1947.
It’s been an eventful summer for Edinburgh City- there’s been a takeover of the club and yet another name change- they appear to have made up with the social club who holds the right to their name and as such, they’ve reverted back to Edinburgh City from the bizarre “FC Edinburgh” that caused anger in their support and hilarity elsewhere in the Scottish game.
Added to that, their talismanic striker Ouzy See was given leave of absence by the club to travel to Spain to appear on a reality TV programme as pre-season was in full swing, only returning to play an hour of Wednesday’s defeat by Ross County.
Having started their League Cup campaign by throwing away an early three goal lead to succumb 3-5 at home to Kelty, subsequent 1-2 and 1-3 defeats at Stranraer and at home to Ross County respectively, have seen the Citizens prop up the Group D with a miserable record heading into their visit to Greenock.
Whilst it’s difficult to ascertain whether a poor League Cup campaign will translate to similar in the league as the season goes on, it does look as though boss Alan Maybury doesn’t have his problems to seek. Hopefully Morton can take full advantage.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
What’s Happening Elsewhere?
There’s no point in looking at how other results affect Morton in the event of a draw or a defeat, so we’ll just have to assume that a Morton win will be the only scenario that can possibly take us through.
Group A- With leaders Ayr hosting Alloa, a win will take them through as group winners, whilst surprise package Stirling Albion, sitting on a point more than Morton, visit St. Johntone. With Morton’s superior goal difference, only a win in 90 minutes will be enough for the Binos to catch Morton, should we achieve our own desired result.
Group B- Dundee United, who have played all their games, share top spot with Partick Thistle and Spartans, all on six points, with League One minnows Falkirk lurking in the background on five points. With Partick hosting Spartans, the second placed team in this group making nine points is impossible.
Group C- Group leaders Hamilton host Cove and second placed Livingston host Clyde. Don’t hold your breath for any favours in this group though. Livingston will almost certainly get the win that would take them onto ten points, and only a Cove win in 90 minutes or on penalties, would see us finish above Accies. Given that Livingston rattled five past Cove in midweek, two home wins are likely, here.
Group D- Whisper it, but it’s possible that Morton could still win the group. It’s unlikely, but a three-goal win for ourselves and a single goal victory for Kelty in Dingwall would see us overtake Ross County to go through without punching as many buttons into the calculator.
Group E- Airdrie should win the group, with a straightforward looking visit to Bonnyrigg between them and maximum points. Should they lose and finish second, any win for Morton will do, given our goal difference. Assuming Airdrie get at least a point though, we could have a goal difference chase with Dundee, who host already eliminated Inverness. Whilst Morton are two goals better off, the Dens Park side have the advantage of their game kicking off on Sunday, so their fate, and ours, could be in their hands.
Group F- With group leaders Kilmarnock visiting Albion Rovers and Raith visiting Annan, we’re best focussing on Raith. We’re two goals better off than Raith with a similar fixture, so will hopefully be able to keep them at arm’s length. But Annan v Raith is very much the fixture to keep an eye on.
Group G- Nothing to worry about here if we win. Leaders Motherwell face up to second placed East Fife. Only an East Fife win on penalties would see both finish on nine points, but any Morton win would see us finish with a better record than the Fifers, who would finish second in such a scenario.
Group H- No worries here, either. Group leaders Forfar go to St. Mirren, and only a St. Mirren win in 90 minutes could see them achieve nine points. In doing that, Forfar would fall to second place in the group with a worse goal difference than ourselves.
In conclusion- Livingston are the handiest placed of the second placed teams. Stirling Albion, East Fife and Forfar have all had excellent campaigns, but have potentially very difficult ties to negotiate against a wounded St. Johnstone, a Motherwell side who’ll be looking to cement their place amongst the seeds and avoid a tougher draw, and a St. Mirren team who have just about pulled it together after their horror start in Montrose. I’d expect any two of Morton, Raith and Dundee to join Livingston in the last sixteen. Whilst the three minnows are definitely for the watching, the main concern should be out scoring Raith Rovers before we have to endure the scenario of relying on Inverness not to throw goals in, something we couldn’t rely on them with only a few months ago.
Photo - GBR Photographs.
All odds are supplied by McBookie. All odds correct as of 7am on 28th July 2023 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.
Morton are the clear favourites at 40/85, with the visitors coming in at 19/4 and the draw at 16/5.
Robbie Muirhead is 49/10 to score first, whilst George Oakley is a tempting 11/2 to bag at least two goals
Referee- Calum Scott
AR 1- Sean Carr
AR 2- Craig Macrae