Ayr United vs. Greenock Morton
Saturday 3rd August 2019. Kick-off 3pm
On Saturday, Ayr United kick-off the Championship season when Greenock Morton visit Somerset Park.
The Honest Men will be looking to bounce back from Betfred Cup disappointment; defeat on penalties at the hands of Stranraer saw United miss out on the last sixteen by just one point. Ian McCall’s men outperformed all expectations last season by finishing fourth and will be aiming for the Premiership play-offs once more in what is sure to be an ultra competitive division.
Opponents: Former Livingston manager David Hopkin is the man in charge at Cappielow now after Jonatan Johannson was not given a new contract at the end of last season. Johannson and assistant Peter Houston led the Ton to sixth place in the Championship where they finished eight points behind the Honest Men.
Morton secured progress into the last sixteen of the Betfred Cup with five-goal wins over Dumbarton and Annan Athletic. Despite losing 5-0 to Motherwell, a 3-3 draw penalty shoot out win against fellow Championship side Queen of the South saw them go through as one of the best runners-up, setting up an away tie versus Hibernian.
Their 14 goals in the Betfred Cup have been spread among old and new faces alike. Nicky Cadden, on loan at Somerset Park last season from Livingston, leads the way with three; Bob McHugh, Aiden Nesbitt and John Sutton have two apiece, Sutton – Morton’s Reserve team coach – having come out of retirement during the summer.
Other new signings over the summer include midfielder Kyle Jacobs from Queen of the South; former Kilmarnock striker Robbie Muirhead and defenders Peter Grant and Brian McLean. Michael Tidser and Gregor Buchanan are among the players to move on, both signing up with Falkirk.
Team News: Aaron Muirhead starts the first of a two match ban for accumulating 11 yellow cards last season. Craig Moore remains sidelined with injury.
Ian says: “The game against Stranraer was a huge disappointment. I take the blame for that as we just never had the balance and it was a really poor display. We had our chances in the first half but there is no doubt it didn’t work overall and we have been working all week on changing the way we play. We need to get the best out of the players we have. Morton have a new manager and have started the season well so will be coming here full of confidence but we have had a great two years and are at home so we will be going all out to start the league season with 3 points.”
Head to head (league matches):
Ayr United wins – 61
Draws – 35
Morton wins – 26
Morton have one win in their last eight visits to Somerset Park.
Greg Kiltie cancelled out Lawrence Shankland’s first-half penalty in a 1-1 draw at Somerset Park in the last meeting between the sides, in April. The first game in the Championship last season back in November 2018 saw the Honest Men put five past Morton at Cappielow in a 5-1 win with the two games in between both ending goalless.
Referee – Gavin Duncan
Assistant Referee 1 – John McCrossan
Assistant Referee 2 – Johnathan Bell
Adults – £18
Concessions – £12
(OAPs, students and 18-21 year olds)
Under 18s – £6
A reminder that there will be no cash turnstiles in operation at Somerset Park this season. Fans are asked to purchase tickets in advance where possible in order to avoid queues at the ticket office on matchday.
Home fans can buy tickets online at: https://tickets.ayrunitedfc.co.uk/packages/221/e/61
Away fans should use the following link: https://tickets.ayrunitedfc.co.uk/package_link/221/Mortonaway
Tickets purchased online can be used to enter the ground using the QR code either printed at home or on your smartphone.
Alternatively, the club shop will be open from 10-4 on Friday 2nd and from 9am on Saturday.