I’ve seen my fair share of awful cup results over the years. In the mid-90s I remember us losing to Airdrie, while the 2000s brought not one but two defeats by Inverness as well as one by Clyde.
But personally, I don’t think any of them were as bad as the defeat to Morton in the League Cup under Neil Lennon.
Twenty seven corners. The number is scored into my mind. Not one of them was any good. The game went to extra time and we could have played another 120 minutes and still not scored. Of course, they did. Efe Ambrose gave away a clumsy penalty and Dougie Imrie duly obliged from the spot.
This was a Morton team who beat us in midweek then slumped to the foot of the second tier table that weekend. They never recovered and were relegated to the third tier.
Compare that with the others. Airdrie were a decent cup team who came up to the top flight. Inverness did likewise. Clyde have since fallen away but at the time they were at least mid-table second tier.
But Morton? They were awful. And we lost to them.
So today’s match offers up a chance to right that wrong. Morton are actually going pretty well of late, having been a decent cup team the last couple of seasons and are still hopeful of clinching a playoff place to try and get promotion. Last season they were beaten by Aberdeen in the League Cup semi final while this season they were runners up in their section but didn’t get enough points to make it to the second round.
Last season they were knocked out of the Scottish Cup at the fifth round, but they had been leading early on at Ibrox and maybe should have taken more from that game than a 2-1 defeat. This season they’ve won 2-1 at Dunfermline and 3-0 at home to Dumbarton to get to this stage.
Just the recipe for a cup shock team then.
But we have our own goals. As well as wrapping up our seventh league title in a row we’re looking to do what has never been gone before in Scotland and retain the treble. To do that, we need to win these cup games.
We’re at the quarter final stage now, so win today and the next stop is Hampden. We’ve been fortunate with the draws this season as this is the third round in a row where we’ve been given a home tie and the second time it’s been against a Championship side. Morton won’t be as easy to overcome as Brechin City, but we should still have enough in us to get the victory.
Of course, it’s never quite that simple. The weather disruption this week clearly wiped out our game against Dundee in midweek so while not having a game night help in some cases, we haven’t spent the wee preparing for this one.
Then there’s the fact that the weather hasn’t actually improved.
The pitch should be fine, but it’s still bitterly cold and the surrounding areas aren’t great for spectators. This game shouldn’t really be going ahead at all, but the SFA have no common sense so of course they’re pressing on when even the SPFL has been postponing games left, right and centre.
But go ahead it does, and no doubt we’ll see a strong team out to ensure we’re in the draw for the last four. As much as we’d like to see a performance, like in the previous round against Partick Thistle that was far harder than it should have been, that’s all that really matters at this point.
Krys (Twitter @krys1888)