Garry O’Connor hits back at Morton fitness jibes

Morton striker Garry O’Connor feels club chairman Douglas Rae should have contacted him directly to let him know he was unsatisfied with his fitness.

Garry O'Connor made his first start for Morton in January. Picture: Robert Perry

The 16-times capped Scotland internationalist, who has scored one goal in 11 appearances, was criticised by the Greenock club’s owner for failing to get fit since joining the club in January.

Rae described the former Hibs player as “hopeless” and said he was an expensive failure. He added: “He’s been totally unsatisfactory. Garry is only 30 and he’s just let himself go. In the time he’s been here he should have been able to get himself back to a level of fitness that, in my view, he doesn’t have.”

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But while O’Connor admits that Rae is entitled to his opinion he believes he should have expressed it privately.

He said: “He is the chairman but he could surely have come and spoke to me at training if he had a problem. I have got an impingement in my Achilles and I have struggled to train on the artificial training pitch that Morton use and I am not sure if that’s the problem.

“Every time I am training the ankle bone is rubbing off the Achilles. It’s just a niggling, niggling pain, but I’ve also got problems with my groin from the 3G surface. If we were on grass it would be no problem, but it is hard to get serious hard work in on the 3G and at this stage of the season it has been tough to get the fitness levels up.”

As for his apparent lack of contribution O’Connor hit back by saying: “What else can you do if the team is not creating chances and you are a striker and you thrive on service? He should really be critical of the whole team. I understand that I have not set the league alight. But you have to understand I had not played for a year and a half and I was chucked right into the Morton team when I came here. Obviously I was lacking fitness, and if he was expecting me to turn everything around – one man to turn everything around in six months – then I think he has got it wrong.”

O’Connor believes the Cappielow side were doomed before he signed and added: “Basically, Morton were down before I even came. What did they have, two wins or something like that? When I came into the club in January they were relegation material anyway. The gaffer Kenny Shiels came in, brought new faces in, and it takes time for players to gel together. It’s not going to just work overnight. I did not know one player here when I came into Morton.”

O’Connor continued: “How the chairman could expect me to fit straight into that after being out for a year-and-a-half. I don’t think he’s looked into that and he’s maybe angry that the club are going down.

“At the end of the day he is the chairman and he has got his opinion. I am big enough and strong enough to take it, but at the end of the day he should have come and spoke to me about it.”