Scottish Championship Mid-Term Report Card – Greenock Morton

Of all the clubs in the division this season it feels as though Greenock Morton seem to be the just bobbing along without much to get too excited about or be too worried about. Partly it might be because last season was particularly good and things have yet to reach those heights but it is also partly down to the general nature of Jim Duffy just going about his business without much fanfare (which is maybe part of the problem). Jim-Duffy-against-St-Mirren-Gary-Bradley_925x581_acf_cropped-1.jpgThe danger for Morton is that there are other teams in the division that seem to be a lot more desperate to achieve something or prove a point so it might be that that get caught out when the league campaign reaches the final stages. In my opinion Duffy is beginning to falter in this sense. Similarly to Houston when he was at Falkirk it seems as though Duffy is now beginning to be a little unsure of his signings, his team selection and his tactics. Last season the standards were high and this season, more often than not, they have not quite been met. One thing Morton do not have is the budget of a St.Mirren or Dundee United but when you look at what Livingston have managed to do then you must begin to question if Duffy (or the board) have just gone a bit stale? There isn’t any room in the Championship for taking your eye off the ball because there will always be half a dozen teams willing to invest and push forward. Are Morton becoming victims of resting on their laurels?

One nice touch that the club have added to this season is the continuation of the opportunity for fans to design and then vote on the club’s kits. This has been happening in various forms over the past couple of seasons and it continues in this with next season’s home kits. The images below show the shortlisted kits and then the eventual winner for next season’s strip.

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January Wishlist – Probably a bit of everything if possible. One key area of the team that needs improved in my opinion is in the middle of the park. They need cover in there and someone who can sit deep and take control of the game in terms of breaking things up. Some additional cover in the fullback areas would also be good. Duffy has used the loan market very well in the past but hasn’t yet to do so this season.

Player of the Season (so far) – In a pretty average season so far it is a challenge to pick out a single player. Defensively Rickie Lamie has been probably been the most consistent performer. Gary-Harkins-celebrates-versus-St-Mirren-Ross-Cameron-Resized-e1514846051327.jpgAlso as a United fan I am pained to admit it but Gary Harkins has put in some excellent displays this season. He is having a bit of an Indian summer as he reaches the end of his career.

Predicted Finish – 6thWhen I first started to write this report I had Morton down as finishing in 4th spot but to be honest the more I thought about it the more I realised that there are other teams around them who seem to be making improvements and Morton are standing by whilst this is all happening. Jim Duffy seems to have lost his way a little and the team on the park are unbalanced and lightweight in key areas. I wonder if the second half of the 2017/18 campaign will turn out to be a bit of a nightmare for Morton. Either that or it will tail off into a season of mediocrity.

Manager Grade –  C. Last season Jim Duffy was in the running for everyone’s end of season managerial awards. He managed to galvanise a squad and achieved great things across the domestic competitions. He talks a good game, is well thought of in the media and holds a decent reputation in Scotland. As I mentioned earlier though, it might be a case of resting on his laurels but the impression I get is that he is coasting a little and maybe it is time for a fresh approach.

Overall Grade – C. Despite a couple of positive results recently it just isn’t a very exciting season for Morton and the fans. An inconsistent home record means that supporters don’t know what to expect when they turn up to Cappielow. The board have been criticised for ‘settling’ and not pushing the club forward in the way fans would want. They have invested a great deal of time and effort into Project Brave in order to enter at the ‘Performance Progressive’ status but this has not been achieved. If you are a fan reading this I am sorry if all of this sounds a big negative, I actually really like Morton. I just feel as though there needs to be a collective push from the club because there really is not that much between the teams in this division and if you take your eye off the ball you can find yourself slipping down the table before you know it.

 

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