MORTON struggled against a Raith Rovers side which made far more chances than them on Saturday but Allan Moore’s men showed a determined streak to grab a 1-0 win and stay five points ahead of Partick Thistle.
Michael Tidser’s well-struck shot eight minutes after half-time left manager Moore breathing a sigh of relief as he explained: “Raith Rovers will be disappointed and I told their manager Grant Murray that they were the better team. We defended resolutely as our goalkeeper made a great save and Kevin Rutkiewicz injured himself clearing one off the line.
“We stole it, but sometimes it is about grinding out results.”
Morton were fortunate not to be behind at half-time with Pat Clarke firing wide and Brian Graham wasting a clear opportunity just before the break after Rutkiewicz was short with a passback. Tidser hit the winner after Martin Hardie headed the ball down at the edge of the box, then Clarke sent another opportunity flashing wide before seeing a header well saved and, when he finally shot past Derek Gaston, Rutkiewicz popped up to clear.
Raith manager Murray said: “We limited Morton to very little but left with nothing as we did not take our chances. There were a lot of good performances and we need to maintain that.”
January’s Manager of the Month will surely be Dumbarton’s rookie boss Ian Murray, who has guided his men off bottom spot and up into eighth by defeating Hamilton Accies 3-1, to pick up a fourth win in five games.
The Sons took the lead on 34 minutes when Chris Turner headed in and they doubled their advantage 11 minutes after the resumption when Mark Gilhaney fired home from the edge of the box.
Gilhaney’s goal brought Accies alive and Stevie May netted from long distance before the chance of an equaliser from the penalty spot was taken away by referee Alan Muir. The whistler gave a free kick for a challenge on substitute Andy Ryan just outside of the box, with many believing it had happened on the other side of the white line.
Gilhaney got to the byline and Jonathan Page turned his cross into his own net to secure Dumbarton’s win.
Partick Thistle came from behind to defeat Cowdenbeath 2-1 and make it win number ten at Firhill. Kane Hemmings slipped the Blue Brazil in front after nine minutes but Steven Craig levelled on 25 minutes when he converted at the second attempt.
Defender Conrad Balatoni was the match-winner when he volleyed home a Ross Forbes corner just before the break.
Livingston won 1-0 at Dunfermline Athletic where Anthony Andreu’s first-half winner was decisive. The Frenchman shot home an Iain Russell cutback after a mistake by Josh Falkingham with the Pars denied a leveller when Ryan Thomson’s effort was ruled out for offside.
Airdrie United dropped to bottom spot after losing 4-3 to Falkirk, who were three up ten minutes into the second half thanks to Lyle Taylor’s double and a Stewart Murdoch effort from 25 yards. Paul Di Giacomo’s penalty gave the Diamonds some hope only for Darren Dods’ header to make it 4-1. Falkirk survived a late rally in which Willie McLaren and John Boyle both netted for Airdrie.