DCSIMG

Morton 1 - 0 Dundee: The Ton blow title race open

Dundees Iain Davidson gets a foot on the ball and Rowan Vine. Picture: Craig Foy

Dundees Iain Davidson gets a foot on the ball and Rowan Vine. Picture: Craig Foy

  • by ALAN GALLACHER
 

RELEGATED Morton produced the shock result the day – if not the season – to cut down pre-match league leaders Dundee and drop the Taysiders out of the automatic promotion slot and into the lottery of the play-offs with two nail-biting rounds of fixtures remaining. Dougie Imrie’s late winner now sees Dundee trail Hamilton by a solitary point.

Morton 1 - 0 Dundee

SCORERS: Morton; Imrie 78

At Cappielow

Dundee were never fully at the races, and they got what their wastefulness around the goal deserved as they created enough to win this and several other games. Morton, on the other hand produced the sort of resilient performance they lacked this season yet with both Falkirk and Hamilton to play Dundee will hope they match this level of performance as they more than anyone else will have a say in where the title ultimately lands.

Certainly Dundee manager, Paul Hartley, was remaining positive even if he banned his players from talking to the press. He said: “We had plenty of chances to win the game for sure. Sometimes the opposition scores with the one chance they get and this is what happened here.

“I can’t fault my players. All we can do is come in this week positively, go again and see where the next two games take us. We know we are chasing now, but that isn’t always a bad thing.”

Home manager Kenny Shiels felt his team merited whatever luck they got such has been their misfortune this term. “Today was our day, and although I wouldn’t say we deserved it on the balance of play, we deserved something to go our way.

“The team dynamic today was the best it has been since I came in, and we salvaged some pride today. We have Falkirk and Hamilton to play and we look forward to both games.

Dundee started like they meant business against their already doomed opponents and twice within the opening 20 minutes spurned decent aerial chances. Quite why Peter MacDonald opted to nod back across rather than go for goal when all alone six yards out is a mystery. Then, when Declan Gallagher went for the direct approach from a corner, his powerful attempt flew inches over.

MacDonald, back at his old stomping ground, was the principle threat for the leaders and he forced Derek Gaston in the home goal into a smart stop with a swivelling shot which the keeper did well to block with his right boot. MacDonald then turned creator to set strike partner Craig Wighton in on goal, but again Gaston saw off the danger. The best chance of the half, however, fell to Morton, and Rowan Vine really ought to have taken it. The experienced striker rashly shot over the bar when, with a touch more composure and awareness, he would have realised he had time to take a touch and pick his spot having benefited from a clever Barrie McKay step-over.

At the break it is a certainty Hartley would have hammered home that the performance and indeed the tempo were not of the required level, and it so nearly bore immediate fruit as Wighton fired inches wide seconds after the restart. Gaston swiftly earned his corn again as he pushed over a Jim McAlister strike before once more keeping out MacDonald with a point-blank denial. Dundee were creating chances again, with a helping hand from Morton who, from across the midfield, matched the leaders, but who up top and at the back looked miles off the pace. Dundee substitute Christian Nade passed up a great chance when he ran through a nowhere-to-be-seen home rearguard only to fire wide.

It was a big miss for the Dark Blues, and minutes later had massive connotations as Morton hit them with a classic sucker punch to blow the title race wide open. Vine muscled his way to the line, looked up and teed up Dougie Imrie who calmly beat Kyle Letheren to grab the win, burst coupons the length of the country and knock the visitors off their perch.

 

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