MORTON will travel to Fife tomorrow for the second time in a fortnight as they seek to get back on track quickly after last week’s loss to league leaders Kilmarnock.
Greenock’s men have a tough job to do once again as they prepare to face a fit Raith Rovers who has sneaked up to second in the standings and is now undefeated out of 10 in all competitions.
The Stark’s Park team beat both Killie and Partick Thistle in that race and the last opponents to lower their colors were Celtic, in the league cup, so they can be considered to be stealing.
The Rovers enter the game after an outright 3-0 away win over Hamilton Accies and will be keen to follow him, meaning Morton has a job to do if they want to bring anything back to the coast Where is.
Greenock’s men had high hopes for their clash with Killie last weekend, but in the end they couldn’t match the Ayrshiremen’s top quality and paid the price.
The home side had a promising start to the game, completing most of the race and securing some early chances in the brilliant opening 25 minutes or so.
Sadly, they weren’t able to make the breakthrough that could have changed the course of the game, with Gozie Ugwu coming closest when his Gary Oliver header came back from the crossbar.
They were then punished as the visitors mastered the procedure and gave their hosts a steamy moment on their left side, with Chris Burke, 38, the chief executioner.
Ton couldn’t get them under control during that spell and by the time they conceded two goals before the break the writing was on the wall and they never looked likely to stage a revival.
A few relatives briefly threatened to leave the door ajar for them during the second half, but overall Killie was comfortable and saw the game go fairly smoothly.
Afterwards, Gus MacPherson pointed out the difference in resources and outlook at the two clubs, contrasting promotional experience and ambition with survival and bloody youth, and that’s an accurate summary.
In the end, Ton won’t be judged on what they do against Kilmarnock, with the 17-point gap between the two teams being a good indicator of that and a chasm that will only widen.
Morton’s mission, modest as it may sound, is to keep their heads above water and make sure they stay in touch with the clubs around them.
The division already appears to be evenly divided down the middle, with five clubs going forward and the equally clutch – currently separated by just three points – facing a tough task by May to avoid trouble.
Bottom club Dunfermline have given everyone a free pass so far, but they finally claimed their first win of the season last Saturday when they faced Inverness in the Highlands.
The consensus seems to be that they have underperformed and will now improve under new boss John Hughes – if that turns out to be the case, the other teams in the bottom half will need to score a win here and there.
Draws are all well and good, but finding a few wins in a row can make all the difference in this league and make a difference very quickly.
Whether Morton can handle this is questionable, having recorded just two out of 14 games so far.
They’ve been competitive in almost every game they’ve played, but the brutal truth is that they have to start earning more points on a regular basis.
Tomorrow is their last league game in a fortnight and they won’t want to sign with successive defeats.
MacPherson is spurred on by the return of Jaakko Oksanen and Oisin McEntee after their return from international duty, but on the flow side, Jimmy Knowles will be missing following the ugly injury he sustained last week.
Gavin Reilly replaced him and the forward on loan produced what was arguably his liveliest performance since arriving from Livingston.
This will give both the player and his manager a bit of encouragement so that he can start to have the kind of impact expected of a player of his pedigree at this level.
At the other end of the pitch, the backline will need to be diligent in its defense to thwart the threat from Dario Zanatta de Rovers, who has been in great shape this quarter.
He’s not the only one thriving though, as Raith has thrived despite losing some of his mainstays at the end of the last term, with manager John McGlynn and assistant Paul Smith having great credit for keeping the momentum going. .
They oversaw a 1-0 victory for their team at Cappielow earlier in the campaign and Morton will need to rise to the occasion and raise his level of play if they are to stop them from doubling up.