Ayr United vs. Greenock Morton
Betfred Cup – Group E
Saturday 14th July 2018. Kick-off 3pm
On Saturday, Ayr United return to competitive action at Somerset Park just 77 days on from lifting the League 1 trophy, with Greenock Morton the visitors in the Betfred Cup as the 2018/19 season get underway. The Honest Men will be looking to get off to a good start against fellow Championship opponents and progress from the group stages of the competition for a third consecutive season.
Ian McCall’s focus over the summer has been retaining the majority of the squad that scored 124 goals in all competitions last season, including 15 in the group stage of the Betfred Cup, but new signings Daniel Harvie, Ross Doohan and Andy Murdoch are all in line to make their debuts for the club. Murdoch joins the Honest Men after two seasons at Cappielow, while on-loan Celtic keeper Doohan was at Morton at the start of last season but did not make an appearance.
Visitors Morton ended last season with just two wins from their final 11 league games, scuppering any hopes of a promotion play-off spot, finishing seventh in the final league table. That led to a parting of the ways with manager Jim Duffy after four years at the club. Former Brechin, Raith Rovers and Dundee United manager Ray McKinnon – who boasts an excellent record as a manager against Ayr – was appointed Morton’s new boss at the end of May.
Team News: Ross Docherty trained with the first team however won’t make this match and Chris Higgins is still on his was back from the injury picked up last season. Everyone else is fit and available.
A number of Ton stalwarts followed Jim Duffy in leaving Morton this summer, including defenders Tam O’Ware, Ricki Lamie, Mark Russell and Michael Doyle. Talented midfielders Ross Forbes and Gary Harkins – who enjoyed something of a renaissance under Duffy – have also moved on.
Among the replacements recruited by Ray McKinnon, Chris Millar and Jim McAlister are reacquainted with the club for which they have over 400 appearances between them. Ryan Scully will challenge Derek Gaston for the gloves following his move from relegated Partick Thistle while former Rangers prospect Charlie Telfer will be looking to re-establish himself in Scotttish football after a spell with Almere in the Netherlands.
Morton reached the semi-finals of the League Cup two seasons ago, losing to Aberdeen at Hampden, but missed out on progression from the group stages last season.
Ian says: “The first competitive game of the season is always one to really look forward to however this is even more special as its our first game at Somerset after winning the league. Training has been superb and the boys are in great shape physically and played some great football at times during the friendlies. The pitch will be in great shape and we can’t wait to get out there in front of what will hopefully be a good crowd.”
Head to head (Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins –41
Draws – 16
Morton wins – 24
The Greenock side have had the better of 13 previous meeting in the League Cup, winning seven and losing only three.
Lawrence Shankland was on the scoresheet in the last meeting between Ayr United and Morton, at Cappielow in April 2017, on that occasion giving the home side the lead. Craig Moore netted an equaliser on the stroke of half-time and the game finished all square.
Morton’s last trip to Somerset Park was a rain-lashed occasion in January 2017, broadcast live on BBC Alba. The visitors stormed to a three-goal lead inside 30 mins, Ross Forbes, twice, and Gary Oliver scoring the goals. Jamie Adams gave United a fighting chance of a comeback but a second goal for Oliver confirmed a comfortable win for the Ton.
The last League Cup tie between the sides was at Cappielow in 2005, United winning 2-1 thanks to an early Chris Strain double.
On this day: July 14, remember the date? United defeated rivals Kilmarnock on this day just 12 months ago, courtesy of an Andy Geggan header.
Referee – William Collum
Assistant Referee 1 – Ralph Gordon
Assistant Referee 2 – Richard Murray
Adults – £13
Concessions (U21s, Over 65s and Students) – £6
GENERAL ENTRY DETAILS FOR ALL FANS
- Away fans
o West Stand (seated) – Turnstiles 9, 10
o Railway End (Terracing) – Turnstiles 2-6
o Parent and child can go through turnstile 5 together.
- Home fans
o Turnstiles – please use the correct turnstile. In the event of a parent and child paying at the gate. They can enter together through turnstiles 13 & 20.
o Turnstiles 9 & 10 will be used to accommodate away fans only for the West Stand. Home fans will go through gates 11, 12 &13 for the Centre Stand and Family Stand.
o For Somerset Road Terracing enter through turnstiles 17-21
o For North Terrace enter through turnstiles 25 and 26
All fans are respectfully requested to conduct themselves in a manner that does not bring the Club and its supporters into disrepute and adhere to the Ground Regulations. Please visit ayrunitedfc.co.uk for information on Unacceptable Conduct. Supporters are advised to remain within the stand and to refrain from entering trackside or the field of play. Searches will be carried out at the turnstiles for any controlled containers and pyrotechnics. Under the Sporting Events Act 1985, being in possession of a pyrotechnic device at a football match, or attempting to bring a pyrotechnic device into a football stadium, is a criminal offence (see below). Any person committing such an offence will face immediate ejection, arrest and a life time ban from the Club. Surfing flags are not permitted. Ayr United would like to thank all supporters for their co-operation and continued backing of the team.
Notice from Police Scotland:
Supporter safety is a key priority for all Clubs, we at Ayr United are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the match day experience is safe and enjoyable. One of the most dangerous things we have to deal with is pyrotechnic articles such as smoke bombs and flares in the stadium and we’d ask that you assist us to look after you by not bringing such articles with you to matches. These articles can cause severe burns, damage to hearing or breathing difficulties and their use is especially distressing for groups such as small children and those who can’t easily move away when pyrotechnics are activated. Experience shows that when a pyrotechnic is activated in a crowd there is often a movement away from the immediate area which can cause panic and disorientation and which creates a risk of slips and trips or crushing for those nearby. Please be in no doubt that these articles are unpleasant and potentially life-threatening to be around – they are also illegal at football matches – and being caught with them will result in exclusion from Ayr United] as well as a possible criminal conviction.