FOR Morton, this was pretty much a classic case of after the party, the hangover.
Scorers: Dundee - MacDonald 47, 50; Beattie 71; Morton - Pecier 23
Faced by a Dundee side determined to make up lost ground in the Championship promotion race, they were eventually run ragged in the closing 45 minutes of this game as their headline-grabbing feats at Celtic Park seemed to take their toll.
The Greenock side initially looked on course to repeat the amazing escapology act that they had performed against Celtic by going in ahead at the interval, but it all fell apart after the restart as the hosts’ incessant pressure finally bore fruit.
Morton manager Allan Moore, who has had to endure the cruellest juxtaposition of professional triumph with the personal tragedy of his brother’s sudden passing away this week, bravely decided to take up his usual position in the dugout.
However, as if to emphasise once again that there is no room for sentiment in the game, he had to witness his side being undone by former Cappielow striker Peter MacDonald, whose two goals immediately after the break settled the destiny of this match.
It was a result that Dundee badly needed given the wobbles in their league form of late and in the end, their manager John Brown was justifiably satisfied that with the way his side had gone about their task.
“We knew Morton had had extra time in midweek and a massive result in midweek, so we needed everybody to roll their sleeves up,” he said afterwards. “In the first half we created a fair bit without having bodies in the box, so we told Craig Beattie and Peter get in there more. It made the difference, but it was also an excellent team performance.”
The opening 45 minutes saw the traffic move every bit the same direction as it had at Celtic Park – towards Nicolas Caraux in the Morton goal. He produced two saves of outstanding quality to deny netbound efforts from Beattie and Jim McAllister.
Somehow, the Greenock men not only survived, but actually prospered on one of their rare first-half attacks when a Dougie Imrie corner was met with a powerful header from defender Tomas Pecier to put the visitors ahead.
Any notions that Morton were somehow going to repeat their smash and grab act on this occasion were vanquished almost immediately on the restart, however, as MacDonald came back to haunt them with a couple of goals in the space of three minutes. The first saw him divert the ball home from close range, whilst he showed his craft by sending a beautiful arching volley beyond Caraux for the second.
With Dundee having belatedly found their nose for goal it looked like it would only be a matter of when they would add to their advantage.
Beattie proved that he still has something to offer by hitting a thunderous shot which cannoned to safety off the underside of the crossbar, but he was denied only momentarily as he picked up a loose ball and drilled it into the corner of the net to make it 3-1.