Morton 2 - 0 Queen of the South: Play-off spot for Duffy’s men

Morton's Denny Johnstone, fifth from left, scores a second goal for his side in the Championship clash with visitors Queen of the South. Picture: SNS Group
Morton's Denny Johnstone, fifth from left, scores a second goal for his side in the Championship clash with visitors Queen of the South. Picture: SNS Group
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MORTON cruised into the play-off positions for the first time this season following this convincing victory, their fourth in a row in the Championship.

That would normally be a cause for celebration but home manager Jim Duffy admitted afterwards that the sickening events in Paris the previous evening had cast a pall over their achievement.

“I enjoyed the game but I think the minute’s silence before it put everything in perspective,” he said.

“Obviously, we want to win football matches but this was one of those days when it was emphasised that this is only a sport and that there are so many other things in life which are much more important.

“Whether you win or lose it’s still only a football match and sometimes I think we take it to a level where it doesn’t deserve to be.

“Having said all that, I thought that we deserved to win. There wasn’t much between the sides in the first half but after that we were much better.”

The home side dominated the early exchanges and should have broken the deadlock after nine minutes. Stefan McCluskey must have believed he had claimed an assist when, from the by-line, he rolled the ball into the path of Denny Johnstone.

Morton’s leading marksman had time to take a touch but wanted too many of them and, by the time he eventually put his foot through it, Darren Brownlie had arrived to block the shot.

Grant Adam had been a spectator for the opening 22 minutes but, when he was called into action, he reacted superbly to turn over a full-blooded drive from Ryan Conroy.

Visiting keeper Robbie Thomson was equally alert, saving a Ross Forbes free-kick low to his right and then clawing a Thomas O’Ware header out from underneath his crossbar in the space of 60 seconds.

He excelled himself again on the stroke of half-time, pushing away another free-kick from Forbes as the hosts ramped up the pressure.

Their perseverance paid off six minutes into the second period when, following a slick passing move, Johnstone curled a shot high past the helpless Thomson from the edge of the penalty area.

Queens had won their two previous league games but they showed little appetite for the fray here and it came as no surprise when Morton doubled their advantage.

Thomson had produced yet another acrobatic save to turn behind a bicycle kick from McCluskey but his defenders were guilty of ball-watching as Forbes’ outswinging corner found Johnstone unencumbered by markers and the big man headed home from eight yards.

That goal deflated the Dumfries outfit, who failed to muster a single noteworthy attempt at goal during the second half.

Visiting manager James Fowler accepted responsibility for the reverse, which sees his side slip to sixth place.

“After winning our two previous games, we wanted continuity but it might be that we just picked the wrong team for this one,” he said.

“Once we lost the opening goal we were on the back foot and Morton are good at what they do. We never really troubled their goalkeeper.”

SCORERS: Morton - Johnstone (51’, 62’)