Partick Thistle 2 - 1 Morton

Partick Thistle 2 - Harkins (37), Maxwell (66)
Morton 1 - Russell (44)

Att: 3368

Played seven, won none, drew three, lost four - unacceptable Davie.

Morton attempted to build on recent results against Queen Of The South by lining up with a 4-4-1-1. The difference from the recent 4-5-1 was that Iain Russell played in behind Brian Wake, in a slightly withdrawn role, rather than on the right of midfield. Kevin Finlayson took Russell's place on the right and Allan Jenkins' place in the starting line-up.

As you will have read elsewhere we were okay in the first-half. We didn't look any better or worse than Thistle but that isn't saying much. The Jags might be up challenging but they were a poor outfit which makes the defeat all the more depressing. Week in, week out we are treated to appalling football. The sum of which seems to be long balls up to Brian Wake or even more annoyingly to no one. There's no creativity, no ideas, no pace, no one prepared to take responsibility and nothing that could be described as good football.

In the last two matches we have kept two cleansheets and the manager seemed convinced that if we remained solid at the back we could take confidence from it and start getting it right at the other end. However, if we defend like we did at the first goal we could have Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Fernando Torres up front and we'd still lose matches. Mark Roberts picked the ball up on the left where Alex Walker should have been but he was posted missing - as he was most of the match - as a result Dominic Shimmin came across to cover but couldn't get close enough to Roberts. This gave the former Kilmarnock and Airdrie man enough time and space to clip a ball to the back post where Greenock boy Gary Harkins arrived unmarked to nod home an easy header.

As I said we probably didn't deserve to go in behind so Iain Russell's equaliser in the 44th minute made sure the half-time score was a fair reflection of the game. Alex Walker clipped the ball in from the right and it landed perfectly for Iain Russell to take a touch and smash the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

The second half was worse. It was one of the most disjointed and disorganised Morton performances I've seen in... well I was going to say a long time but the Airdrie game was only a couple of weeks ago. The midfield was non-existent - Erik Paartalu might as well have been on the bench - and the only reason we weren't treated to another Airdrie fiasco was thanks to a great performance from Dominic 'The Dominator' Shimmin. The big Englishman was outstanding and must be asking himself what he's doing playing at this level.

Ex-St. Mirren defender Ian Maxwell headed home what turned out to be the winner in the 66th minute. Maxwell arrived unmarked at the back post to head a Stephen McKeown corner past Cuthbert. In his post match analysis Davie Irons said: “One of our players has been allocated to pick up their scorer Maxwell. He gives me excuse that he’s dragged to the ball. I say, that’s not your job; your job is to ensure Maxwell does not get a head to it. He’s not done it." I don't like the way Irons passes the buck, often blaming his players publicly, but his assessment appears to be correct. Looking at Tontastic's pictures (see picture below, click to enlarge) it looks as if Erik Paartalu has let Maxwell go and Iain Russell has had to come off the post to try and stop him from scoring. Whoever it was it was criminal defending.

Iain Russell had a chance to equalise shortly afterwards but dragged his shot wide when the ball fell to him six yards from goal. He really should have scored but I don't like to criticise him too much because he was one of our only decent performers on the day and over the season so far.

For me, one specific moment encapsulated the drastic situation we find ourselves in at the moment. We were given a free-kick right on the edge of the box and Davie Irons almost had a heart attack trying to get the linesman's attention so he could get Stevie Masterton on to take the free-kick. It was also sad to note that Masterton taking a free-kick on the edge of the box was about the only thing that created a buzz in the Morton end all afternoon such was the lack of excitement generated by our general performance in open play. We are a boring, stuffy long ball team and the football we are serving up explains the fact that crowds at Cappielow are dropping significantly. People will point to the credit crunch but no other first division team's crowds have droppped quite like Morton's.

This simply isn't good enough and if we don't begin to show a drastic improvement very soon Davie Irons will start to come under some heavy pressure from the fans and the Chairman - if he isn't already.

Morton (4-4-1-1):

1. Cuthbert - 6
2. Walker - 4 (12. Jenkins - 75 mins)
3. Smith - 6
4. Shimmin - 8
5. Paartalu - 5 (16. Masterton - 75 mins)
6. Harding (c) - 6
7. Finlayson - 6 (14. Weatherson - 66 mins)
8. McGuffie - 6
9. Wake - 6
10. Russell - 7
11. McAlister - 6

Subs Not Used:

15. McManus
20. McWilliams [Trialist]

Booked: Walker, Harding

Walker Shimmin Harding Smith
Finlayson McGuffie Paartalu McAlister

Partick Thistle: Tuffey, John Robertson, Twaddle, Storey, Kinniburgh, Maxwell, McKeown, Rowson, Gray (Donnelly 46), Roberts (McKinlay 75), Harkins (Chaplain 64). Subs Not Used: Hinchcliffe, Turner.

Subs Not Used: Hinchcliffe, Turner.

Booked: Rowson.

My man of the match: Dominic Shimmin

Sponsor's man of the match: Ian Maxwell (Partick Thistle)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph match report

Greenock Telegraph match reaction

BBC match report

Tontastic Pictures

ptfc.co.uk match report

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