A relieved Csaba Laszlo saluted Fraser Fyvie for rescuing Dundee United before pleading with the club’s beleaguered support to continue offering their backing.
Fyvie struck in injury time at Tannadice to salvage what could have been a costly afternoon for United boss Laszlo after Michael Tidser’s 11th-minute penalty had put Jonatan Johansson’s Morton within seconds of victory in his first game in charge.
Fyvie was lost to United’s push for promotion back in December and his eight-month absence following cruciate ligament surgery served to coincide with a drastic downturn in their domestic fortunes.
Laszlo was staring at a potentially costly defeat and some dejected supporters called for his removal until Fyvie’s intervention changed the mood somewhat.
“I understand how the supporters must have been feeling at 1-0 but they just need to stick by us,” said Laszlo.
“ They are frustrated of course. Look, we are all human and this is our third season in the Championship now.
“We are all doing our best to get back to where we feel we belong but this is never an easy thing in this division which is tough. I’m really so pleased for Fraser and know he can be such a big player for us in the weeks ahead.”
This was meant to signal the return of Ray McKinnon, the former United manager, to Tannadice. But instead Johansson was in the Morton dug-out for the first time since replacing his predecessor.
Johansson, who had, of course, been to this Tayside venue many times before during his playing days with Rangers, instructed his players to take the game to their opponents, and Morton duly took the lead in just 11 minutes.
Rachid Bouhenna, on his United debut, stupidly tugged at Gregor Buchanan from Tidser’s free-kick in full view of Colin Steven, the referee.
Tidser, pictured, stepped up to execute what constituted the perfect penalty as he swept it high past Matej Rakovan.
Craig Curran had two chances in quick succession for United before the break. First, he saw his header from Fraser Aird’s cross spectacularly saved by Ryan Scully in the visiting goal, before thrashing his shot wide from close-range on the stroke of half-time.
The hosts did try to force their way back into things after the break, and the introduction of Fyvie in 75 minutes proved telling. The 25-year-old lashed home a ten-yard volley after the Morton defence had, for once, failed to clear their lines.
“We’re gutted to lose an injury-time goal but I’ve told the boys we will become stronger for this experience,” stated Johansson afterwards.