Morton 0 - 1 Dundee

Morton 0 -
Dundee 1 - Griffiths (77)

Att: 2217

A valiant Morton performance counted for nothing as Leigh Griffith's stunning finish 13 minutes from full-time handed Dundee their first away win of the season at Cappielow today.

James Grady made only one change to the starting eleven that played against Ross County the previous week; Carlo Monti dropped to the bench, Jim McAlister moved back out to the left and Ryan McGuffie came in on the right of midfield. I found the decision mystifying considering Grady had spoken of how he wanted Jim to play out on the right: "Ultimately I would like to get Jim over to his favoured side.I know Jim has said he doesn't mind playing on the left, but I feel he comes inside a bit too much when he's there. If he's on the right he can go out the way and whip in a cross." I also thought it was a bit harsh on Monti who had put in some decent performances since his return to the side under the caretaker managers.

McGuffie's inclusion almost turned out to be a managerial masterstroke as he managed to get into excellent goalscoring positions on four occasions. Unfortunately for Morton he failed to take any of them. First he headed Jim McAlister's cross straight at Tony Bullock when it looked easier to score. Bullock denied him again minutes later when he managed to tip a shot onto the post and out to safety. The Dundee back up goalkeeper made it three out of three as he got down quickly to parry McGuffie's low shot across goal. Finally, McGuffie blasted over from close range - a shot that was reminiscent of a Davie MacGregor effort against Ross County last week.

I think McGuffie should've taken at least two of those chances but at the same time I was also very impressed with his hunger and drive to get into the goalscoring positions. So often, we've seen a Ryan McGuffie who is happy to play within himself, taking one touch and passing the ball on rather than take responsibility and trying to make something happen himself. It was great to see him bursting beyond the front men and getting into advanced positions. I would much rather see a player get chances and miss them than get no chances at all.

Dundee weren't up to much and, from what I could see, really missed Gary Harkins' presence in midfield. However, they have another player in Leigh Griffiths who can also make the difference. He is exactly what we lack - a pacy striker who can create chances for himself and when he does, finishes them clinically. In the 77th minute Paul McHale clipped a ball over the top, Stewart Greacen looked the favourite to get to the ball first but Griffiths' electric pace got him in infront of the Ton defender and racing towards goal. In the blink of an eye he'd lifted the ball over Colin Stewart and into the top corner. Griffiths' delicate dink over Stewart seemed to float towards goal in slow motion. As the ball floated there was a strange sensation that the whole crowd had fallen deadly silent as everyone watched open-mouthed waiting to see where the ball would end up. Unfortunately, it hit the net and the eerie silence was broken by the cheers of the away fans.

Griffiths later claimed that a Morton fan tried to punch him as he celebrated. I'm not sure if that is true but I do know that there would've been any number of fans who would've liked to have got a hold of him after he wound up the crowd, and some of the Morton players, by taking ages to tie the laces on his horrible lime green boots. What I'd do for a player like Griffiths to be playing in the blue and white hoops though. A player who is so good, cocksure and annoying that away fans despise him and try to punch him while he celebrates a goal that has just earned his side an away win that they scarcely deserved.

Griffiths' goal turned out to be the winner as Jocky Scott's side escaped with the three points but the result wasn't the only negative to be taken from the day as it has since been revealed that Allan Jenkins - who was stretchered off in the 62nd minute - has medial ligament damage and will be out for at least a month.

In Saturday's Greenock Telegraph Douglas Rae said that Grady and Allan McManus will have one more match in charge after this one before he makes a decision on a manager. As good as this performance was I just don't see him giving the job to a management team who have lost two consecutive home games without scoring a goal.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 7
2. MacGregor - 7
3. McGuffie - 8
4. McManus - 6
5. Greacen - 6
6. MacFarlane - 6 (15. Monti - 81 mins)
7. Finlayson - 7
8. Jenkins - 6 (12. Paartalu - 62 mins)
9. Graham - 5 (16. Wake - 76 mins)
10. Weatherson - 6
11. McAlister - 6

Unused Subs:

14. Harding
20. McWilliams

Booked: McManus.

Finlayson Greacen McManus MacGregor
McGuffie Jenkins MacFarlane McAlister
Graham Weatherson

Dundee: Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl, MacKenzie, Cowan, Hart (Kerr 83), McHale, Griffiths (Higgins 90), McMenamin (Clarke 75), Forsyth.

Subs Not Used: Cameron, Soutar.

Booked: Griffiths, Malone, Clarke.

My man of the match: Ryan McGuffie

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

Greenock Telegraph - Match Reaction

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

dundeefc.co.uk - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

Tontastic pictures

1 comment:

mortonjag said...

With regard to the 'one more match' comment by Douglas Rae, I have a sneaky feeling that a victory (perhaps even a draw) at Dunfermline will further postpone a permanent appointment.

Why would he waste more money this season if we're sailing along reasonably well?