Ayr United’s League 1 campaign kicks off on Saturday when Morton are the visitors to SomersetPark. The Honest Men go into the match buoyed by a 4-0 victory over East Stirlingshire in the League Cup and the prospect of an Ayrshire derby in three weeks time.
The visitors are beginning life in League 1 after seven years at Championship/Division 1 level following their relegation last season. Jim Duffy is the new man in the Cappielow hot seat after the departure of Kenny Shiels in the summer, the former Kilmarnock manager’s exit hastened by a 10-2 defeat in their final game of last season. The Ton have begun this season under Duffy with routine home victories over Spartans and Berwick Rangers in the two cup competitions.
Read on for our preview of Saturday’s game:
Team News: Kevin McKinlay was unable to train on Thursday and wont make the game. Everyone else is available.
Marko says: Boss Mark Roberts has urged his men to lay down an early marker at Somerset Park tomorrow.
And he insists three points against league new boys, Morton, would send a strong message.
Marko said: “Somerset must be our fortress this season and nobody will get an easy time of it down here.
“If we take care of business on our own ground, we’ll be there or thereabouts come the business end.
“Morton will fancy themselves this season having stayed full time, but if we match them for effort and attitude then we’ll have a right good chance.
“The place is buzzing right now after the cup draw paired us with Killie and training on Thursday night was brilliant.
“The lads also took a lot of confidence from the win at East Stirling and it was great to get four goals and a clean sheet under our belt.
“I always loved the opening day of the league season as a player and hopefully we’ll get a decent crowd in so we can start as we mean to go on.”
Head-to-Head (at Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins: 40
Morton wins: 25
Saturday will be the 134th time Ayr and Morton have faced each other in league competition. While United have the upper hand (57 wins to 46), the Honest Men have taken just four points from the previous eight encounters between the sides.
Morton’s last trip down the Clyde coast to SomersetPark ended in a goalless draw in March 2012. United lined up on the day: Cuthbert, Tiffoney, Malone, Robertson, Smith; McGowan, Geggan, Tomsett, Dodd; Parker, Roberts.
– Ayr’s win over East Stirlingshire last weekend was the club’s 200th in the month of August and was the club’s biggest away win in the League Cup since 1981.
– It is nine years since Ayr United opened a league campaign with a home win: a 2-0 victory over Dumbarton in August 2005. Stuart Boyd and Gareth Wardlaw scoring for Ayr that day.
On this day:
Ayr United have won the last four matches they have played on this date, including a 2-1 victory over Morton in the League Cup in 2005. Overall, United’s record on 9th August is: P16, W8, D4, L4.
Referee: Craig Charleston
Assistant Referee 1: Sean Carr
Assistant Referee 2: Jim Burns
Concessions: £8 (U16s, Students and OAPs)
Parent & Child: £18 – please enter by gate 13.