TURRIFF United produced a
stirring performance and played out of their skins to take Morton to a replay at Cappielow a week on Tuesday. The Highland League minnows, free from the junior ranks for only three seasons, continued fairytale form in their first Scottish Cup campaign.
They were far from overawed by full-time opponents and it was 37-year-old player-manager Mark Simpson who rolled back the years with the opening goal in the game. The big centre half, who started his career with the Greenock club, paid tribute to his players after the game. “Each and every one of them was tremendous,” he said. “They will never let you down for hard work and I cannot speak highly enough of them. If there was one downside it was just that we couldn’t hold the lead until half time.”
It was a quiet opening to the game, allowing the underdogs to settle into the tie. On 31 minutes, the quality of Morton shone through. The impressive David Graham shot towards goal but man of the match Steven Coutts saved at his right post with his leg. Prolific scorer Peter Weatherson followed up but struck the bar.
It was reasonably even, though, and Turriff were far from over-awed. In 39 minutes, the unthinkable happened when Lewis Davidson’s corner on the left saw Derek Gaston flap. In the melee, Simpson hooked over the line with his left foot.
The visitors looked rattled but sparked to life. When David O’Brien crossed from the bye-line, Weatherson hit the bar again.
Right on half-time, a dubious equaliser for the visitors materialised. Michael Tidser, looking off-side, knocked the ball back and Weatherson volleyed home.
Tidser hit the post soon after the restart and Coutts saved with his legs again from Graham. Home defender Cammy Bowden went close with two headers.
Bowden and Craig Reid clashed and both saw red late on, but the tie ended all square.
Morton boss Allan Moore said: “I’m disappointed with our finishing but credit to Turriff for a battling performance. We have no given right to come here and beat Turriff.
“At times we didn’t get the break of the ball but Turriff defended resolutely.”