MORTON announced that their First Division title challenge is for real at Firhill yesterday by coming from behind at ‘Fortress Firhill’ to defeat leaders Partick Thistle 2-1 thanks to a stirring second-half performance in front of a near 5,000 crowd.
The Jags, who had not even dropped a point at home in this campaign, remain in pole position, but the Greenock men now sit level on points, though Thistle hold an eight-goal advantage and a game in hand.
Jackie McNamara’s side started the brighter with Morton’s rhythm being disturbed by the loss of winger David Graham to injury after just 20 minutes. Thistle made their territorial advantage count when striker Steven Craig rose to meet a Steven Lawless cross and head home in powerful fashion on 28 minutes.
Aaron Sinclair sent an effort against a Morton post as his side looked to go in two ahead at half-time and just after the break visiting goalkeeper Derek Gaston used his legs to block a Ross Forbes effort.
Galvanised by still only being one down, Morton drew level when Martin Hardie, a former Thistle player, lashed home after Graeme Smith had saved a Tony Wallace shot.
The momentum had definitely swung Allan Moore’s sides’ way and when Thistle lost Forbes to two yellow cards in quick succession with 20 minutes left, Morton sensed that they could be considered as genuine title challengers if they could get another goal. The winner came six minutes from time when David O’Brien crossed and substitute Scott Taggart flicked the ball home to take all three points down to Cappielow.
Dunfermline slipped down to third place after losing 1-0 to a Falkirk side that have risen to fourth, with Blair Alston’s winning goal coming right at the death of the game and after both sides had been reduced to only ten men.
Andrew Barrowman had gone close for the Pars with a header and Alston struck the crossbar with a shot for the visitors before Dunfermline had Jordan McMillan sent off following a scuffle with Stewart Murdoch four minutes from half-time.
The Bairns lost Kieran Duffie to a second yellow card with five minutes left, but they refused to settle for a goalless draw and, in the final minute, Alston netted from close range following Lyle Taylor’s pass.
Hamilton cruised past Airdrie 3-0 at New Douglas Park, with Accies skipper Alex Neil getting the late Christmas present of his first goal in over five years.
After producing a fine one- handed save, Grant Adam was not so assured on 15 minutes when Steven May let fly from 20 yards and, when the goalkeeper spilled the shot, Louis Longridge pounced to side-foot home.
A second for Hamilton came on 23 minutes when Ali Crawford’s free-kick was volleyed in by Neil. Defender Jonathan Page then rose to meet a Crawford corner and net with a no- nonsense header on 55 minutes.