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Raith Rovers 3 - 3 Morton: Morton denied by never-say-die Rovers

Martin Hardie. Picture: SNS

Martin Hardie. Picture: SNS

  • by DARREN JOHNSTONE
 

MORTON put manager Allan Moore through the proverbial emotional roller-coaster in Kirkcaldy in a compelling game that saw six goals shared with Raith Rovers.

Raith Rovers 3 - 3 Morton

Scorers: Raith - Graham (24, 71), Spence (85); Morton - Rutkiewicz (9), O’Brien (65), Hardie (88)

The Cappielow outfit twice had their footballing supremacy rendered futile by the midas touch of Brian Graham, the Rovers striker taking his tally for the season to 17 with strikes to cancel out Kevin Rutkiewicz and David O’Brien efforts either side of the break.

Ton also missed a first-half penalty through Martin Hardie but the midfielder made amends with a last-gasp leveller after substitute Greig Spence gave Rovers an 85th-minute lead completely against the run of play. “That’s the most one-sided three-each I’ve seen in my life,” said Moore, whose side could have moved within a point of joint First Division leaders Partick 
Thistle and Dunfermline.

“We’ve got a couple of angry boys in there, who we had to calm down, but if you want to go anywhere in this league you have to take your chances and defend.

“Looking at that game over 90 minutes, I’m saying to myself ‘how the f**k did we only get a point?’ Scoring three goals [away from home] and not getting the three points is disastrous.”

Morton were grateful for inept Raith defending when Rutkiewicz was afforded time to head home Michael Tidsers’ corner after nine minutes.

Graham levelled on 24 minutes with a cool finish inside the area before Hardie, pictured, had a penalty saved by Ross Laidlaw after the Morton midfielder had been felled by Eddie Malone in the box.

O’Brien restored the visitors’ advantage in the 65th minute following a mix-up between Jason Thomson and Laidlaw that allowed him to dink the ball over the keeper from an acute angle.

But Graham – exhibiting the composure that has been the bedrock for his impressive goal haul – turned in substitute Spence’s lay-off from close range in the 71st minute.

There was further drama to come, however. Former Celtic youth Spence struck a near-post finish with five minutes left only for Hardie to have the last word in the 88th minute when he headed home David 
Graham’s corner.

“You accept a point when you’re losing and then – when you get yourself ahead – you want to hang on and get three points,” said Rovers player-manager Grant Murray.

The Stark’s Park boss admits he would not be surprised if clubs were considering a January move for free-scoring forward Graham.

“The big man knows how to put the ball in the net,” he added. “You’ve always got that worry that teams could be looking at players, no matter who it is. Strikers are always going to grab attention.”

 

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