EASTER is still a week away, but Morton staged their own resurrection yesterday as they won the cliché game of two halves to not only win the game and take the points, but also ensure their title charge continues unabated with rivals Partick continuing in hot pursuit.
Scorers: Morton: MacDonald (pen 50, 53), Taggart (63) Hardie (71); Cowdenbeath: Moore (13) Stevenson (40)
It truly was an astonishing game of football, although it is doubtful it did much for the blood pressure of ’Ton manager Allan Moore, who admitted his team had climbed a mountain to keep their challenge on course. “At 2-0 down we had a mountain to climb, but credit to the boys as they climbed it,” he said. “There was no point in us shouting and bawling at half-time. We just told them to use the wind to our advantage and once we got back into the game the momentum and the crowd was with us and we deserved to go on and win.”
Visiting manager Colin Cameron felt his team capitulated even though luck went against them. He said: “After the second goal goes in we felt sorry for ourselves, but for their first goal [referee] Mr Brines gets in our way then gives a penalty. If this doesn’t happen it’s a different game and who knows what happens from there on in.”
Right from the first shrill of the whistle it was the Fifers who looked more up for the fight on a bitterly cold afternoon, and they were nearly ahead inside five-minutes when Scott Linton’s controlled volley smashed against the crossbar with home keeper Derek Gaston nowhere near it.
The men from Fife continued to bite harder into tackles than their hosts who, for whatever reason, were being limply bossed and pushed around physically, and as such it was no surprise when Craig Moore turned home Greig Stewart’s low centre after 13-minutes.
Five minutes before the break Cowdenbeath doubled their advantage with a second goal the Morton defence, and Kevin Rutkiewicz particularly, will have sleepless nights over for weeks.
Rutkiewicz belied his years of experience by allowing his pocket to be cheaply picked by Stewart, who was then scythed to the deck by Martin Hardie allowing referee Iain Brines the easy decision of awarding a penalty, which Ryan Stevenson tucked away at the second time after Gaston blocked the first effort.
Two goals behind and knowing title rivals Thistle were on easy street in their game, the team talk given by Moore at the break needed to be something Churchillian to rile his players into the second-half comeback needed to keep their SPL hopes pulsing.
Whatever was said within the confines of the home dressing room, it had the desired effect as within 18 minutes of the restart Morton were ahead, although it took the award of a penalty for a trip on Hardie and the subsequent conversion from Peter MacDonald to set them on their way.
MacDonald then levelled matters soon after with a somewhat fortuitous header having beaten visiting keeper Lee Wilson to a long ball and right-back Scott Taggart completed a quite amazing recovery by smashing home from 30 yards.
By now the Blue Brazil looked far more like a yellow-shirted Scotland as they collapsed further, Hardie sealing the points by heading home from a Michael Tisder free-kick.