Morton match preview

Match Preview

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.

 

Opponents:

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.

 

Last Meeting:

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.

 

Match Officials:

Referee – William Collum

Assistant Referee 1 – Ralph Gordon

Assistant Referee 2 – Richard Murray

 

Admission:

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. 

 

Thursday treble signing

Ian McCall added 3 new signings to his squad two days prior to the first competitive match of the season at home to Morton in the Betfred Cup.

Ross Doohan has signed on a season long loan from Celtic. The 20 year old goalkeeper has most recently been playing for the Scotland Under 21s in the Toulon tournament. Ross has just signed a new 4 year deal with Celtic.

Manager Ian McCall said :”He was training with the Celtic first team last season and shared the goalkeeping duties at the recent Toulon international tournament. He is a good presence at 6″3 and uses the ball well with his feet as you would expect from a Celtic goalkeeper. He is an excellent young goalie who Celtic have high hopes for and again he fits the ethos here and that he is young and hungry to succeed. This is a huge chance for him and we are delighted to have secured the deal.”

Andy Murdoch has signed a one year deal. The 23 year old central midfielder has played over 60 games in the Championship in the last two seasons for Morton.

Manager Ian McCall said :”I am very surprised we were able to get him. We spoke to guys at Morton and they were flabbergasted that they let him go. We were made aware that he was available and got him in straight away. He fits the identity we want, he works so hard and gets about the middle of the park incredibly well. He uses the ball very smartly, keeps everything simple. We are absolutely thrilled to have him here and hopefully it will be for longer.”

David Ferguson, a big part of our title winning team last season has put pen to paper on a six month deal.

Manager Ian McCall said :”Its great to get him back, the six month deal is purely down to budgets. The chairman and board have backed us fantastically this Summer which has enabled us to get David back. He did very well last season, he is still very young and has a lot of pace and good attributes. What really impressed us was that last season when the pressure was on he really stepped up his game. He gives us great cover along the back line and he needs to have belief in himself.”

Stunning Auction prize

We are very lucky to have one of the most influential men of all time in the whisky industry as an Ayr supporter.

David Stewart MBE was born in Ayr and has been a supporter is whole life. He was appointed Malt Master of William Grant & Sons in 1974 and has held the position since which makes him the longest serving Malt Master of any distillers in the industry. He was awarded the MBE in 2016 and has been named an Icon of Whisky and Master of the Quaich

David has very kindly donated something very special for our auction at the Shirt & Shorts draw on Friday 13th July.

It will be a 70cl bottle of Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky drawn from a single cask from the warehouse in the Balvenie distillery.

The whisky will be taken from a cask filled in 1997 and at the original cask strength. This Balvenie whisky will be completely unique as it will be the ONLY bottle to be bottled from this cask. David will also sign the bottle.

We are hugely grateful to David for this and for anyone who has an interest in whisky this will be of massive interest.

The auction is taking place Next Friday night, 13th July, however we are accepting bids for this item now. If you have an interest please contact Commercial Manager Graeme Miller at commercial@ayrunitedfc.co.uk

United team up with Mercure

We are delighted to announce a new partnership with Ayr’s Mercure Hotel. Our squad has been given full access to the hotels leisure facilities ahead of the new season in the Ladbrokes Championship. 

Commercial Manager Graeme Miller said :”This is a great example of how we can work with the local business community for the benefit of the club. We went to visit the facilities with our physio Stevie Maguire and he was delighted that he will have somewhere to work with any injured players in the coming season. The hotel embraced the fact we won the league and were more than happy to create a new relationship which should be beneficial for both parties.

Mercure General Manager Lindsay Steele said :”When the club approached us, we were only too happy to help. They did so well to win the league last year and we felt it important to acknowledge that success by assisting in anyway we could.”

The gym at the Mercure is being fitted with brand new equipment this week and our players have already began using the facilities.

Harvie signs for United

Daniel Harvie

Ian McCall has today moved to add the first new face to his League 1 winning squad with the signature of Scotland U21 defender Daniel Harvie on a two year deal.

The left-back, who turns 20 next month, joins the Honest Men after representing Scotland at the prestigious Toulon Tournament this summer. Daniel earned three caps for the Under 21s in the south of France, including in a win against the hosts, as the young Scots went on to finish fourth in the tournament.

Born in Glasgow, Daniel was with Aberdeen from 10 years of age, a product of the Dons’ Glasgow Centre. He made his first team debut for Aberdeen against Partick Thistle in 2016 before spending the following season on loan at Dumbarton, where he was pivotal in the club retaining their Championship status and picked up their Young Player of The Year award. He scored his first senior goal for the Sons in a 4–4 draw against United at Somerset Park in December 2016.

Harvie was part of the first team squad at Pittodrie last season but was unable to force his way into the starting line-up, making just three substitute appearances and following discussions with manager Derek McInnes chose to leave the Dons in search of first team football.

Ian McCall said: “There were 4 or 5 left backs available this summer however Daniel was our first choice. After the season he went straight to the Toulon tournament and had a much needed holiday when he got home so we ran the risk of losing out by waiting but we felt it was worth it. There were other teams in for him but I have a good relationship with his agent which certainly helped. He fits the culture of what I want at this club, young and hungry players. He has already played a full season in the Championship so he has the experience of the league. The clinching factor for me was that Derek McInnes offered him another contract at Aberdeen however he turned it down as he wanted to go and play first team football and that showed real guts.”

Win Ian McCall’s trophy

It is now only 3 weeks until our Shirt & Shorts Draw and Auction event at the Ally MacLeod hospitality suite.

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that manager Ian McCall has given us his Ladbrokes League One manager of the year 2017/18 trophy for the event.

To ensure that as many people as possible have the chance to win this incredible prize and to raise money for additional players we have decided to do a raffle which you can enter as many times as you like. Entry is £10 and we will draw the winner on the night of the event.

If you would like to enter you can do so by entering through the online shop here or anytime in the club shop.

The manager has also donated many items of his club clothing which will have been seen in the dugout with IMC on them. These will be used for runners up prizes.

We are still looking for items for our auction and if you would like to donate anything please get in touch with Graeme Miller on 01292 263435 ext 3 or by email commercial@ayrunitedfc.co.uk

AUMedia live video service

Ayr United Media are going to provide a completely new service for the start of the 2018/19 season.

Our media team will now be able to provide live video from all home games for our supporters outwith the UK and Ireland. This will be in addition to the normal online commentary.

Subscriptions are available now, to find out more about the packages click here

2018/19 fixtures released

The fixtures for the 2018/19 Ladbrokes Championship have been released this morning and we will begin our campaign on Saturday 4th August at home to Partick Thistle.

Our first away fixture is on the 11th August when we travel to Inverness.

The final league match of the season will also be at Somerset Park with Alloa Athletic the visitors.

For the full list of fixtures click here

Jordan moves on

After discussions between himself and manager Ian McCall, goalkeeper Jordan Hart has left Ayr United Football Club.

Jordan leaves with the best wishes of everyone at Ayr United and we would like to thank him for the part he played in the title winning season.

New PA System

Over  the last few weeks we have had a completely new PA system installed around the ground. This has been tested and provides fantastic coverage in all areas, including the North Terracing and inside the Hospitality boxes.

The previous system was installed in the 1970s and I am sure all our fans would agree it needed an upgrade.

The upgrade has been provided by the Ayr United Five Star Lottery. Once all prize money and running costs are deducted every single penny from the lottery goes back into the club and recently that money has been used for essential ground improvements.

How to Join


The Five Star Lottery costs just £1 per week and offers the chance to win the following prizes every week:

£1000 every Friday

£50 Monday-Thursday

£10 3 £10 consolation prizes each Monday-Friday

Membership also offers the chance to save money with a large amount of local businesses offering discounts for lottery members.

Membership is simple and straightforward. Download the application form by clicking here

Alternatively please email: lottery@ayrunitedfc.co.uk for details of your nearest agent or call on 01292 263435. If you live in South or East Ayrshire we should have a door-door agent nearby.