Morton 0-1 Alloa, match report

THERE is an awful lot of football still to be played this season, but along with Celtic winning the Premiership you can add Morton’s relegation to League One to the list of already established certainties this early in the campaign.

Derek Riordan, left, sits on the Alloa Athletic bench as Garry OConnor takes the field with Morton. Picture: Robert Perry
Derek Riordan, left, sits on the Alloa Athletic bench as Garry OConnor takes the field with Morton. Picture: Robert Perry

Scorer: Alloa - McCord 17

Last season’s title tilt must seen a lifetime ago, as in less than a year the Cappielow outfit have gone from top-flight hopefuls to sitting 12 points adrift, and showing neither the aptitude nor the attitude needed to have so much as a sniff of survival.

Going into this encounter with games swiftly running out, Morton knew they weren’t so much drinking in the Last Chance Saloon as supping the dregs, such was their perilous position. Alloa themselves had nosedived towards the drop zone on the back of an alarming run of results, meaning there was plenty at stake, but it was the visitors who started better, controlled the first half and actually looked like they had the stomach for battle.

Even with the likes of Derek Riordan and Andy Kirk warming the bench, Barry Smith’s men were always better than their hosts in a one-sided first half, although in truth being better than Kenny Shiels’ inept charges wasn’t too hard. Big name signings Rowan Vine and Garry O’Connor looked miles off the pace with a glaring lack of mobility, and key players such as Freddy Bachirou and Dougie Imrie seemed frustrated at the shambles going on around them.

Alloa were getting at the inexperienced Morton rearguard with staggering ease time and time again, and that the margin at the break was only a single goal would have been a crumb of comfort. Ryan McCord opening the scoring 17 minutes in with a composed finish following a clever lofted pass from Derek Holmes.

With the lamentable O’Connor joining his old Hibs mucker Riordan looking on from the dug-out, Morton, having reshaped their formation, improved and saw sub David Robertson drive narrowly wide and Vine, now deployed more centrally, sting the palms of Alloa keeper Scott Bain. With the clock running down, Marc Fitzpatrick spurned a tremendous chance, and with his panicky slashed volley seemed to go home hopes of taking a point.

Morton’s misery was compounded in the dying stages when skipper Imrie was dismissed for bringing down Riordan. If this was the Last Chance Saloon, the Greenock men are having time called, and are being shown the door.