Morton 2 - 0 Falkirk: Morton cling on at the top

Morton striker Peter MacDonald wheels away to celebrate after his header put his side two goals up.  Picture: SNS
Morton striker Peter MacDonald wheels away to celebrate after his header put his side two goals up. Picture: SNS
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TWO first-half goals were enough to ensure Morton scooped maximum points and maintained their tentative lead at the top of the First Division table as the number of games remaining to be played creeps into single figures.

All concerned will know they will need to play far better than this over the remaining fixtures to claim 
the flag and a first top-flight stint since 1988.

Rivals Partick Thistle hold the advantage at the moment with two games in hand and only a two-point deficit to claw back, but there is a lot to be said for having the points on the board as legs tire and fixtures pile up with the finishing line 
looming. It certainly looks too close to call and a race likely to go right down to the wire.

Morton assistant manager Mark McNally admitted the final quarter of the campaign is likely to be a nail-biter. He said: “We have everyone to play, there will be twists and turns and, ultimately, the best team will win it. We just have to look after ourselves.”

Falkirk, who last week lost manager Steven Pressley to Coventry, were massively disappointing, with not even the guile of stand-in boss Alex Smith able to get a performance out of his temporary charges.

On the vacant post, the veteran said: “The position at present is I’ll be in charge and we will invite applicants, although there will be no rush unless Ferguson or Mourinho apply. We need to get the right person as it is a delicate role where we need someone to come in and gel. We had the right model in place, and, although I would do the job, it is probably right it goes to a younger man.”

The Bairns have been in good form and arguably started the brighter, with the ever-impressive Lyle Taylor causing problems for the home central defensive pairing of Craig Reid and Kevin Rutkiewicz. However, for all Taylor looked a genuine threat with his power and pace, at the back the lack of skipper Darren Dods was all too evident, with the visitors looking rudderless and crying out for a dominant presence.

When the leaders finally got into gear the deficiencies of the visitors started to be picked apart with Fouad Bachirou driving in a volley which Michael McGovern got down well to smother.

Michael Tidser then further knocked on the door with a guided drive inches wide of the far post.

Eventually the table-toppers got their noses in front courtesy of a smart finish from Archie Campbell, albeit after some horrendous rearguard errors allowed Thomas O’Ware’s long ball to drop at his feet. It was a big goal for Morton and Campbell, for whom it was his first since returning from a lengthy injury lay-off.

With their tails now well and truly up Morton began pummelling their youthful opponents, with Campbell and Peter MacDonald each passing up a clutch of genuine opportunities to double the advantage. MacDonald, though, was to get on target before the half was out, converting a Tidser cross with a glorious downward header.

It was a brilliant finish from MacDonald, but only seconds previously Falkirk’s David Weatherston had passed up a golden opportunity to bring the teams level when he could only loft over the bar, having benefited originally from a calamity in Morton’s defence. On such pivotal moments games, and the destinies of titles, can be decided.

The second half was by and large a complete non-event, with neither keeper called into serious duty. Not that Morton were complaining about being able to take the foot off the gas and cruise to the points.