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Match Preview: Morton v St Mirren

St Mirren make the short journey to Cappielow tomorrow to face Renfrewshire rivals Greenock Morton in the first derby of the season.

Saints faced their rivals four times last season with each side picking up a win, while the other two matches ended in 1-1 draws. 

Last season's first derby took place at the Paisley 2021 Stadium on the opening day of the season as a late John Sutton header rescued a point for the Saints after Thomas O'Ware had given Morton the lead. 

St Mirren's 17 year unbeaten derby record came to an end in November when Morton overcame the Buddies 3-1 in Greenock. O'Ware was on the scoresheet again with follow up strikes from Ross Forbes and Gary Oliver securing three points before Ben Gordon scored a late consolation for Saints. 

There was more derby disappointment for the Buddies in the final meeting of the two in 2016 as 93rd minute Ricki Lamie goal denied Saints all three points after Gary MacKenzie headed St Mirren into a first half lead. 

Saints gained a measure of revenge in the last meeting between the sides in April as the Buddies ventured to Greenock with hopes of climbing off out of the relegation play-off spot. And they did just that with goals from Stelios, Stevie Mallan, John Sutton and MacKenzie seeing the Saints triumph 4-1 on their way to Championship survival.

The Buddies come in to tomorrow's match on the back of a strong 3-1 win over Falkirk last weekend in the opening day of the Ladbrokes Championship. Falkirk took an early lead through Nathan Austin, but Stelios scored his first of the season to get Saints back on level terms. Cammy Smith capitalised on a goalkeeper error early in the second half to put St Mirren ahead before Gavin Reilly made it four goals in five with a tidy finish. 

Morton's league campaign began with a 0-0 draw away to Dumbarton. However, the consensus was that the Ton were unlucky not to come away with three points after late saves from ex-Saints goalkeeper Scott Gallacher. The Greenock side also missed out on qualification to the last 16 in the Betfred Cup after finishing second on 8 points. They picked up two wins in Group F, defeating Berwick Rangers and Edinburgh City, while they drew with 2-2 with Queens Park and lost 4-0 to Motherwell. 

Jim Duffy has strengthened his squad over the summer after seeing the likes of Jamie Lindsay, Aidan Nesbitt and Lawrence Shankland's loans expiring. Bob McHugh joined the Greenock outfit from fellow Championship side Falkirk, while Gary Harkins signed for the Ton after leaving Ayr United.

Dumbarton duo Darren Barr and Robert Thomson both made the switch over the River Clyde to join Jim Duffy's team after their contracts with the Sons expired. Conor McManus was picked up as a free agent after he left Celtic and Australian Jack Irelade joined on a six month deal. 

Meanwhile, Saints completed a deal to sign ex-Falkirk and Hibernian striker Darryl Duffy yesterday, with the 33 year-old going into the squad for tomorrow's match subject to SFA approval. The Buddies are likely to go in to tomorrow's match with roughly the same squad as last week. 

St Mirren will look to claim the bragging rights at the first derby of the season and build upon a winning start last weekend. Morton too will be after those bragging rights alongside the chance to get a first league win of the season on the board. With around 1800 Saints fans expected at tomorrow's match and a healthy home crowd it's all set up to be an exciting occasion. 

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