ATTACKING midfielder Alan Forrest admits it will be hard to top the curtain raiser to last season - a Friday night showdown with bitter rivals Kilmarnock.

But he is nonetheless relishing Saturday's 2018-19 home Betfred Cup opener against Greenock Morton at Somerset Park on Saturday.

Forrest was on target in the final weekend pre-season friendly last Saturday - Ayr defeated English Vanama League side AFC Fylde 2-1 in a closed doors match at Inverclyde.

Forrest said: "We all enjoyed the Killie game but this is a big match against a strong Morton side. They have a new manager in Ray McKinnon. They are an established Championship side but we are looking to get off to a good start and win the game. We qualified for the last 16 last season and will be aiming to at least match that this season and get off to a decent start."

He is encouraged with progress so far and added: "Pre-season training is going well and we have brought in Sandy Stewart, who is a very experienced coach. It's good so many have re-signed."

Meanwhile we can reveal that hugely experienced Andy Murdoch, a key player in the 2-1 win against Fylde, will sign at Somerset Park later in the week and boss Ian McCall is delighted to land the highly-rated midfielder.

The 23-year-old former Ranger will relish an opening clash against old side Morton.

McCall said: "Terms have been agreed and Andy will put pen to paper on a new deal in the next couple of days. It's interesting he is playing against his old club, fate often throws up fixtures like that. He has lots of experience - he has been a top player in the Championship and has done really well in the pre-season. We will look to win all four cup games but will rotate the squad as players are playing for their places in the league opener against Partick."

Goalkeeper Robby McCrorie, who played for Scotland Under-21s in the Toulon Tournament is understood to be attracting interest from Ayr and could be targeted as a possible loan signing from Rangers.

The player's brother, Ross was on loan from the Ibrox club three-and-a-half years ago.

McCall said: "We are hopeful of having a new goalie in before the end of the week."

United went at Fylde from the off and midfield looked effective with Robbie Crawford winning some tough challenges and trialist Murdoch was impressive as a box-to-box man.

Much against the run-of-play, Fylde took the lead in 24 minutes

In 41 minutes, Ayr deservedly levelled. Winger Declan McDaid found Forrest in the centre of the box and he stroked past the keeper.

Late on McDaid received the ball 20 yards out and lifted a delightful cross to Craig Moore who headed home.