When the Morton supporters loudly proclaimed “there’s only one Ray McKinnon” with full-time approaching, it was clear this was their day and one for Falkirk and their manager to forget in a titanic relegation struggle.
The visiting fans revelled in their side’s crucial victory and the opportunity to rub it in against crestfallen opponents – and, in particular, their own erstwhile boss – who are now bottom of the table and find their Championship status hanging by a thread.
Second-half goals from Greg Kiltie and Charlie Telfer earned a richly-deserved three points for Morton for the first time in eight matches and lifted them into sixth place, five points clear of Falkirk.
“I’m delighted and exhausted as well,” said Morton manager Jonatan Johansson. “It was an excellent performance. From the word go we were the better team and it was a comprehensive victory in the end. There was a lot of pressure on the players, and to perform like they have done in the last two games and to pick up four points is credit to them.
“Of course, everybody knew what was at stake. That was by far the biggest game of my career and the biggest game of the season for my team, and we rose to the occasion. The three points was massive and, for me, it was the best performance of the season.”
For a dispirited Falkirk, it looked like a potentially pivotal 90 minutes as they crashed to just a third defeat in 2019. Two points adrift of Partick Thistle, who have a game in hand, they now have two matches left – against Dundee United and Ross County – to avoid the disastrous scenario of relegation to League One. Cries of “sack the board” rang round an angry stadium at full-time.
“It was extremely disappointing; a disappointing result and a disappointing performance,” admitted McKinnon. “There’s no sugar-coating this performance, we deserved nothing out of the game. We were poor from start to finish and soundly beaten. We’re going to have to play a lot better in the final two games to salvage something.”
Just over a minute of the first half had elapsed when the visitors got what was always likely to be the crucial first goal. Telfer was the creator, spearing his cutback into the heart of the six-yard box where Kiltie, pictured, flashed his shot in from ten yards out.
Morton’s victory-sealing second, in the 54th minute, was calamitous for Falkirk. Ciaran McKenna wiped out defensive partner William Edjenguele as they both attacked an aerial ball, gifting possession to Kiltie. His cutback found Telfer and the midfielder’s finish was cool under pressure and belied the magnitude of the win it secured.