Hibs v Morton preview: Middleton to start, 4-4-2 formation, four players out

HIbs host Morton in this Betfred Cup third-round tie looking to bounce back from last week's horror show at Ibrox.

By Peter Wales
Thursday, 15th August 2019, 4:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th August 2019, 5:59 pm
John McGinn and Andy Murdoch challenge for the ball in a previous meeting between the two teams
John McGinn and Andy Murdoch challenge for the ball in a previous meeting between the two teams

The Cappielow outfit finished second in Group E behind Motherwell, losing 4-0 to the Steelmen but thrashing Dumbarton and Annan 6-1 and 4-0 respectively. They defeated Queen of the South on penalties after a 3-3 draw to reach the knock-out stages.

Hibs team news

Defenders David Gray and Ryan Porteous are pushing for starts after they played 60 minutes and 90 minutes respectively in a development team match against Dunfermline.

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Head coach Paul Heckingbottom will have to decide whether to pitch them into a back-line that conceded six last weekend against Rangers.

Heckingbottom, will be without the suspended Stevie Mallan, while Lewis Stevenson (calf), Martin Boyle (knee) and Tom James (ankle) remain sidelined.

Sean Mackie is available to play despite his red card against Rangers as his suspension only applies to league matches. Glenn Middleton could make his debut after signing on loan.

Possible teams

Hibs: Marciano; Gray, Jackson, Hanlon, Whittaker; Middleton, Vela, Allan, Horgan; Doidge, Kamberi. Subs (from): Maxwell, McGregor, Porteous, Slivka, Campbell, Newell, F Murray, Stirling, Shaw, Gullan.

Morton: Ramsbottom; Jacobs, McAlister, McLean, Strapp; Millar, Lyon; Nesbitt, Cadden, Blues; McHugh. Subs (from): Rogers, Tumilty, van Schaik, Orsi, Muirhead, Salkeld, Sutton, Easdale.

Key battle

Paul Hanlon will be only too aware of Bob McHugh's ability and will be looking to keep the former Falkirk striker quiet for the duration.

Lowdown on opponents

Morton’s start to the season has been awash with goals, both for and against, the Greenock side clinching their place in the last 16 of the Betfred Cup as runners-up to Motherwell in Group E.

David Hopkin’s Championship side lost 4-0 to the Fir Park outfit in their second match having beaten Dumbarton 6-1. But they bounced back by hammering Annan Athletic 5-0 before beating Queen of the South on penalties following a 3-3 draw to set up tomorrow’s clash at Easter Road.

The Cappielow club’s start to their league campaign has followed a similar path, a 4-2 defeat away to Ayr United followed by an emphatic 4-1 win over Alloa Athletic, the highlight of which was a hat-trick from Bob McHugh.

The striker will need no introduction as far as Hibs fans are concerned ... they’ll well remember his goals against Alan Stubbs’ side when he wore the dark blue of Falkirk, his late goals home and away ensuring the Capital club would spend another season in the Championship. McHugh already has five goals to his name, with Nicky Cadden just one behind.

It’s been a summer of change at Cappielow under Hopkin, who has returned to his hometown club – where he began and ended his own playing career – following a dismal time at Bradford where he won just seven of his 35 matches in charge, having moved to the Bantams after his surprise decision to quit Livingston only weeks after steering them back into the top flight.

Hopkin has made 12 signings, including former Hibs defender Brian McLean and ex-Falkirk stopper Peter Grant, the latest arrival being Aberdeen goalkeeper Danny Rogers who has agreed the sixth loan deal of his career.


Alan Muir is the man in the middle for this cup tie.