Match Preview - Dundee United vs Morton (16th September) - Match Previews - Jump to content

Match Preview - Dundee United vs Morton (16th September)



Dundee United vs Morton – Match Preview  

by Dean McKinnon 

Morton travel north tomorrow seeking their first away points of the season as they take on league leaders Dundee United. Dougie Imrie will hope that last week’s 2-1 win over a dogged Elgin City side can lift his side ahead of their sternest test of the season so far. With reinforcements being added in defence for the visitors, the Cowshed faithful will hope this can spur The Ton onto improve their defensive record this term. 


Photo - GBR Photographs.

Squad News 

Morton were boosted midweek, announcing the signing of Tyler French on loan from our host’s rivals, Dundee. The English defender, who is capable of playing both centre back and right back, joined on a season long loan from The Dees. Whilst this will boost The Ton’s rearguard, attacking options are still thin on the ground, with question marks remaining over midfielder Robbie Crawford and winger Jai Quitongo. George Oakley and club captain Grant Gillespie’s lengthy spells on the sideline look set to continue.  

Current Connections 

Robbie Muirhead headed to the City of Discovery on 2nd February 2015 for a fee of £150,000 from Kilmarnock. He would go on to make fifteen league appearances, scoring twice, before a brief loan spell at Partick Thistle. After his release from Dundee United he would go on to sign for Hearts before moving south of the border to join MK Dons. Grant Gillespie spent a very brief spell in Tayside. He signed a short-term deal in January 2018, making four league appearances before moving on at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.  

Former Morton goalkeeper turned goalkeeper coach Paul Mathers and kitman Andy Bryan are now both part of the Tannadice backroom staff. The most notable link between both clubs is Liam Grimshaw. The versatile Englishman arrived on Sinclair Street in September 2022, quickly establishing himself as a key player in Dougie Imrie’s side. Featuring mostly at right back, and occasionally being utilised in central midfield, he was revered by the Cowshed faithful before joining Jim Goodwin’s men in the summer.  

Tape of the Tape 

The last time Dundee United visited the second tier was the COVID-hit season in which teams played three rounds of fixtures. Dundee United claimed a 6-0 win at home followed up with a 2-1 victory at Cappielow, with The Ton claiming their first point against the Arabs on their second trip to Dundee that season in a 1-1 draw.  

Morton’s last win came on the final day of the 2018/19 season, with Falkirk bound Michael Tidser separating the teams. Events in Grangemouth on that day ensured that the dead-rubber at Cappielow was not at the forefront The Ton faithful’s minds, as they enjoyed the news of Ray McKinnon’s Falkirk being relegated to League One, never to return.  

Morton’s last win at Tannadice was a thumping 3-0 win in January 2018, with goals from Thomas O’Ware, Scott Tiffoney and Jack Iredale sealing the win against Csaba Laszlo’s side. 


Photo - GBR Photographs.

Opposition Analysis  

There’s no way of dressing it up – Dundee United are favourites to win the Championship this season. The wheels fell off their survival bid last term, losing their last five games on the spin as they slid to the foot of the Premiership table. Jim Goodwin has remained at the helm and appears to have build a formidable second tier side, boasting talents such as Louis Moult, Tony Watt and Craig Sibbald in the forward areas.  

Ahead of the game, I spoke to Dundee United fan Gary Manson, a member of the Shed 57 Supporters Club (@Shed__57), who contextualised the Arab’s unceremonious return to the second tier:  

“Season 22/3 was one to forget for the Tannadice faithful. A slide from European football in August to ignominious relegation in May compounded by the fact that they swapped league berths with their Dark Blue city rivals. 

There were three separate occupants of the managerial hot seat as poor results cost Jack Ross and Liam Fox their jobs with Jim Goodwin taking over in February. The new managerial “bounce” gave Arabs a glimmer of hope in staying in the league but five straight post-split defeats confirmed United’s third relegation in the Premier League era. 

There were the predictable departures- Jamie McGrath moved up the east coast to Aberdeen and Dylan Levitt went in the opposite direction to Easter Road. Steven Fletcher joined the celebrities at Wrexham and Aussie Aziz Behich, one of the few players with pass marks opted to “Return to Oz”. 

Recruitment was top of Goodwins list and Liam Grimshaw moved from Cappielow along with Patrick’s Kevin Holt and Ross Docherty. 

Arabs despaired about numerous goal keeping calamities last term and Luton Town loanee Jack Walton has taken over the gloves and installed some much needed confidence between the sticks. 

There were dissenting voices when Goodwin was given a permanent appointment in the summer and those grew louder after a disappointing Viaplay Cup campaign. A grim 1-0 opening defeat away to Spartans was reminiscent of Goodwin’s Aberdeen side’s Scottish Cup humiliation at Darvel last January. A second defeat- this time at home to Partick meant United were all but out before the traditional trades fortnight had finished. 

Things have looked up since the league got underway though. Arbroath were ripped apart on the opening Friday night with United scoring four unanswered goals in a blistering first half performance. 

Victories at Ayr and over Airdrie at Tannadice as well as a 1 each draw with Dunfermline mean that United are joint top, undefeated with ten points from four games. 

Goodwin has created a steely defence with the addition of Declan Gallagher to partner Kevin Holt in the centre and former Morton favourite Grimshaw slotting in on the rightScott McMann makes up the quartet and in their opening 4 games- United have only lost one goal. 

Up front, ex-Motherwell striker Louis Moult partners another former Steelman, Tony Watt and with 10 league goals this season the Ton will have to defend well on Saturday.  

There are positives for Morton however, injury to midfielder Craig Sibbald and Ross Docherty being doubtful leaves the Tangerines a bit lightweight in the middle of the park however they’ve been bolstered with the recent arrival of Jordan Tilson on loan from Ross County.  

Overall United must rank as favourites for the title, even at this early stage but 4 seasons in the championship last time round means that no one in Tangerine will be taking anything for granted.” 


Photo - GBR Photographs.

What’s Happening Elsewhere?  

Ayr United host Partick Thistle on Friday night as the Honest Men look to lift themselves out of the relegation zone in front of the BBC Scotland cameras. The Championship’s two part-time sides clash at Gayfield on Saturday as Arbroath take on Airdrieonians. Queens Park will be looking to resurrect their form against Dunfermline, with the Spiders losing both their previous matches. Inverness travel to Kirkcaldy to face unbeaten Raith Rovers.  

Betting Guide 

All match odds and provided by McBookie. Odds are correct as of 7am on 14th September 2023 and are subject to change. Please only bet within your means and visit BeGambleAware if you are struggling.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Saturday’s hosts head into this encounter as the bookies’ favourites at 13/20 to claim all three points. A point a piece is priced at 14/5, with 7/2 your reward if you successfully back Morton to be the first side this term to leave Tannadice with maximum points.  

If you fancy another Robbie Muirhead screamer on Sandeman Street, you can back him to score anytime at 9/4. With Cammy Blues looking set to be back in midfield, you can back him to score anytime at 6/1. 

Match Officials 

Referee - David Munro 

AR1 - Ross Macleod 

AR2 - Scott Bunting 


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