QUEEN of the South ended a run of seven games without a win, with a first-half goal from striker Derek Lyle enough to give the Dumfries side all three points.
Remarkably this was the third time these two sides had met this season, all at Palmerston, with yesterday’s fixture brought forward from Boxing Day, a League Cup tie and the spoils shared in the previous Championship clash.
Familiarity appeared to breed contempt with an easily forgettable 90 minutes, neither goalkeeper being stretched and chances galore going astray.
The Doonhamers almost edged in front after three minutes when Lyle, pictured below, sent a 25-yard shot dipping just over.
Queen’s got what was to prove to be the winner in 14 minutes when substitute Alex Harris, who had come on four minutes earlier for the injured Andy Dowie, whipped over a cross from the right which was headed past goalkeeper Derek Gaston from close range by Lyle, for his seventh goal of the campaign.
Queens boss James Fowler said: “A win at home and a clean sheet is something we have not had many of this season. It’s pleasing as we have been conceding soft goals. The boys stood up to everything Morton threw at us.
“It’s been a few games without winning and the first goal was massive. We can now go to Ibrox with some confidence.”
Harris almost made it two in 20 minutes when he cracked a fierce 20-yard drive just off the mark, and seconds later team-mate Ryan Conroy pulled an 18-yard effort just wide.
Morton were denied a clear penalty in 23 minutes when Lewis Kidd appeared to barge into Stefan McCluskey. Referee John McKendrick booked the striker for diving.
The Greenock men passed up another opportunity in 55 minutes when Bobby Barr curled an 18-yard chip wide.
Dejected Morton boss Jim Duffy said: “We lacked a little of composure and have to show a bit more conviction in the final third. The Queens goalkeeper wasn’t tested enough for me.
“In the second half in particular we were the team on the front foot and pressing the game.
“It was a definite penalty, Lewis Kidd thought it was a penalty, everyone thought it was a penalty except the referee.”