Livingston 4 - 0 Morton

Livingston 4 - Fox (9), Dorrans (41, 42), MacKay (67 pen)
Morton 0

Att - 2,500

After Saturday's match I made a conscious decision to wait a few days before I wrote anything about this match to give me time to calm down and stop me from writing a knee jerk reaction to the result. However I find that even after nearly three days I still feel the same.

Due to the injury problems we are experiencing at present Jim McInally decided to go with a 3-5-2 formation - his first mistake. The back three consisted of Greacen, Harding and Weatherson. Jay Shields and Dean Keenan played as a defensive midfield pairing with Jamie Stevenson playing in front of them. Kevin Finlayson and Jim McAlister occupied the wings which left Iain Russell up front himself with Michael Gardyne free to float about just off of Russell. The decision to leave Templeman on the sidelines was McInally's second error and one I think that should draw his judgement into question. Iain Russell is not the type of striker who can play a loan striker role - I know he didn't strictly play as a lone striker but Gardyne was supporting from in behind rather than partnering him up front. Templeman made a positive impact against Queen of the South and in my opinion he deserved to start the match even without taking the tactical implications of leaving him out into question.

Livi' took an early lead when Fox let fly with a rocket shot from the edge of the box that flew past Robinson in goal. A particularly disappointing goal to concede considering we had set up with two defensive midfielders yet Fox had far too much space and time to get his shot away.

At the other end Iain Russell had a goal disallowed for offside. Amazingly an almost identical chance fell to him later in the half but instead of tucking it away like his disallowed effort he somehow contrived to drag his effort wide. Up until this point I wouldn't say we were overly poor but we seemed to lack any sort of game plan. Particularly when attempting to go forward. As so often seems to be the case the defence were resorting to long balls which are even worse when you are aiming them at Iain Russell and not Chris Templeman.

The next few moments summed up why Ryan Harding and Stewart Greacen need replaced. The two 'natural' centre backs along with makeshift defender Peter Weatherson were all over the place as Graham Dorrans tapped home at the back post and then volleyed through Robinson's legs 30 seconds later after being allowed to ghost into the box unmarked. It was a disastrous two minute spell. Personally I thought it was obvious the three at the back was not working and I expected McInally to change this to sort out the problems but he didn't, he was slow to react and it cost us. He eventually changed the system at half time but by then it was too late. Peter Weatherson was having a terrible game at the back. He's not as culpable as the other two as they are supposed to be playing in their preferred positions but even then Peter has looked out of sorts for a while now. It's possible and probable that his mind is (understandably) focused on his daughter who has been unwell. If our squad wasn't so threadbare I'd suggest it would be beneficial to leave Weatherson out for a while.

We started the second half with Chris Templeman on for Kevin Finlayson and he made an immediate impact as he crashed a long range effort off of the inside off the post but to Livingston's relief it rebounded to safety. This effort seemed to bring our team to life and we put a lot of pressure on Livingston for the first 10 - 15 minutes of the second half but giant Livi keeper Mariusz Liberda was equal to anything we threw at him as he pulled off a couple of excellent saves

Unfortunately Jim McAlister - a player who always gives everything for the cause and seems to be one of the only players who has a genuine affection for the club and the fans (see the picture of him climbing the stands to retrieve the ball - Jamie Stevenson take note)- gave away a penalty by tripping Snodgrass in the box. Dave MacKay put Robinson the wrong way from the spot.

When Jim McInally was appointed manager I was really impressed for the first 6 months to a year but over time I began to have concerns about some of his tactics and signings. I put that down to him being new to management and learning lessons and up until now I've always tried to remain patient and try not to be overly critical or scathing but I think Saturday was the day that I decided that he is not the man to take Morton forward - something a lot of people have been arguing for a long time but for me some fans have went about it the wrong way, almost turning it into a hate campaign rather than simply voicing concerns about his ability to manage.

On Saturday too many things concerned me: I didn't agree with 3 at the back from the off I thought that was a mistake and this became more concerning when the match started and Dorrans and Snodgrass were operating on the wings. I fully expected the manager to go to 4 at the back as we were looking a bit fragile defensively but he stuck with the three and this decision eventually led to two quick fire goals. The decision to leave Templeman out also perplexed me as did the decision to play both Keenan and Shields as defensive midfielders.

Tactics aside our squad is also a cause for concern. We don't have a natural left back. We eventually signed a right back but the manager plays him in midfield, we have two central defenders both of whom look capable at times but more often than not are liabilities but we don't even have anyone to provide them with competition for their places. We have no leaders on the park and we continue to ignore the midfield problem. The manager even acknowledged this when he identified the need for a strong midfielder who could lead the team only to inexplicably change his mind and decide David MacGregor could do that job.

To top it all off McInally was quoted after the game as saying "But to be honest I can't criticise the players for their effort. As always it was one hundred per cent" which leads me to the conclusion that if the players weren't at fault for a dismal 4-0 capitulation (to the team who were bottom of the league and who hadn't won a league game so far this season) as they had given it their all it must've been our tactics and team selection that were to blame for defeat and the responsibilty for those things lies squarely with you Jim.

Morton (3-5-2):

1. Robinson - 7
2. Shields - 6
3. Weatherson - 4
4. Harding - 4
5. Greacen - 5
6. Keenan - 6
7. Finlayson - 4 (12. Templeman - 46 mins)
8. Stevenson - 5 (15. Graham - 71 mins)
9. Russell - 6
10. Gardyne - 7
11. McAlister - 7

Subs Not Used:

14. Linn
16. Coakley
17. McKellar

Booked: Shields

Livingston: Liberda, Mitchell, Dermot McCaffrey, MacKay, Tinkler, Fox, Dorrans (Weir 80), Kennedy, Craig (Noubissie 57), Pesir (Griffiths 83), Snodgrass. Subs Not Used: James, Stewart.

My man of the match : Graham Dorrans

Sponsors man of the match : Graham Dorrans

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Tele' match report : http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_div_1/6990278.stm

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