Morton 1 - 1 Ross County

Morton 1 - Monti (7 pen)
Ross County 1
- Gardyne (42)

Att: 1,219

Should've Gone To Specsavers: Ross County's Michael Gardyne tried to save face by desperately claiming that a shot he hit defied the laws of physics by going over the line in between hitting both posts after he embarrassed himself by running away in celebration somewhat prematurely. However, it was the former Morton man who earned his side a point after he cancelled out Carlo Monti's opener from the penalty spot.

Neil MacFarlane picked up a virus during the week and was replaced by Erik Paartalu. This was the only change to the team that lost 2-0 to County's Highland rivals, Caley Thistle.

In the 7th minute, the first real incident of the match ended in a goal for Morton. David Witteveen collected Carlo Monti reverse pass and knocked the ball past County goalkeeper Michael McGovern. As he moved past the goalkeeper, the Staggies' Alex Keddie barged into Witteveen's back forcing him to the ground and gifting Morton a perfect chance to take the lead from the penalty spot. I thought the push sent the Wittster tumbling over the Northern Irish goalkeeper, creating the illusion that it was goalie who fouled the big Austrian, but that it was Keddie and not McGovern who was the guilty man. The referee agreed - not a good sign - as he booked Keddie. Either way, young Monti grabbed the ball and sent McGovern the wrong way with his side footed spot kick.

Peter Weatherson almost scored seven minutes later but, after taking a nice touch to control the ball and swivel, he hooked wide of goal.

There was a moment of controversy in the 32nd minute as the Cowshed-side linseman - who had a very strange running style - and that's being kind - failed to flag for off side when Andrew Barrowman came back from an offside position and went straight to close down Dominic Shimmin. The striker's off side position clearly gained him an advantage and his presence certainly affected Shimmin, whose frantic clearance eventually fell for Martin Scott. Fortunately, Scott's stunning 30-yard volley was dramatcially pushed over the bar by Colin Stewart.

Monti was inches away from making it 2-0 in the 40th minute but his powerful strike from distance flashed past McGovern's left hand upright.

County weren't much of an attacking force in the first 30 minutes, but they did what most successful teams do, take their chances when they come along. They were back on level terms three minutes before half-time. And it was no surprise that it was former Morton player Michael Gardyne who got the goal. The nippy forward, whose sensational form this season has earned him a PFA Scotland First Division Player of the Year nomination, picked the ball up on the corner of the box and smashed an exocet missile of a shot across Stewart and into the top left hand corner.

Right on half-time, former Celtic youngster Monti, who had a superb first half, demonstrated his superb technique when he he arched back and met Kevin Finlayson's dipping cross with a crisp volley that flew inches past the same post that his shot flashed past five minutes earlier.

The first ten minutes of the second half were packed full of incident. Witteveen put an effort wide of the post in the 51st minute and then put Monti one-on-one with McGovern with a clever through ball a minute later but Monti opened up his body too early and telegraphed the fact he was going to try and curl the ball around the keeper with the inside of his left boot, and this allowed McGovern to get enough on the ball to tip it round the post. The referee astonished everyone when he pointed for a goal kick - but Monti should've scored.

Then, in the 54th minute, Gardyne volleyed off both posts - a shot he later claimed was proven to be over the line by video footage. I'd love to see this footage because if it's from the home video taken from the centre of the stand then there's no way it could prove that the effort went over the line. Mind you, it wouldn't have mattered if it was a top of the range Sky Sports camera positioned on the by line, it still wouldn't have proved the shot went in as it would've been physically impossible for the full ball to cross the line. The angle Gardyne shot from and the way the ball would've spun after hitting the post meant that if that ball had crossed over the line after hitting one post there's no way it could've came back out off the other post, it would've had to continute into the net.

Here's the real truth of the situation courtesy of Colin Stewart: "It wasn't over the line. I actually got a finger tip to push the shot off the post and when I turned and got across the ball was actually spinning out." I think Gardyne was just trying to save face after he, rather embarrassingly, started to run about celebrating with his arms outstretched after the ball hit the first post.

Morton almost went right up the other end and scored but Tidser's low strike crept agonisingly past the post. Tidser, who was deservedly voted Irn-Bru Phenomenal Young Player of the Month for March, had an excellent start to the match but faded in the last half hour, as he has done on a few occasions recently. We have to remember that he is still only 20-years-old and it's a bit much to expect him to control games at this level for the full 90 minutes. But I hope that as he continues to quickly adapt to first team football at this level, he also finds that extra gear to allow him to exert an influence on the game in the closing stages, as it is no coincidence that as Tidser falls out of the game, so do Morton.

However, from around the 55th minute onwards neither team really threatened and the match petered out. Both teams should be reasonably content with a share of the spoils. Ross County had just reached the Scottish Cup Final after eliminating Celtic at the weekend, while James Grady is entitled to be happy with a point that pushes us five points ahead of Ayr United: "I don't think we did enough to win the game anyway and a point was fair enough."

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Colin Stewart - 6
2. Ryan McGuffie - 8
3. Alan Reid - 7
4. Dominic Shimmin - 7
5. Stewart Greacen (c) - 6
6. Erik Paartalu - 6
7. Kevin Finlayson - 6
8. Michael Tidser - 7
9. Peter Weatherson - 6 (14. Brian Graham - 76 mins)
10. David Witteveen - 6
11. Carlo Monti - 7

Unused Subs:

12. Donovan Simmonds
14. Stevie Masterton
15. David MacGregor
20. Kevin Cuthbert

Booked: Paartalu, Monti, Greacen, Graham.

McGuffie Greacen Shimmin Reid
Finlayson Paartalu Tidser Monti
Witteveen Weatherson

Ross County: Michael McGovern; Gary Miller, Scott Boyd, Alex Keddie, Scott Morrison; Iain Vigurs (Stuart Kettlewell, 86), Martin Scott, Richard Brittain, Michael Gardyne (Garry Wood 74); Steven Craig (Paul Lawson, 60), Andrew Barrowman.

Unused Subs: Paul Di Giacomo, Joe Malin.

Booked: Keddie, Vigurs, Brittain.

My man of the match: Ryan McGuffie

Sponsor's man of the match:

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Greenock Telegraph - Match Report

The Scottish Sun - Match Report

The Daily Record - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

Tontastic Photgraphs

1 comment:

mortonjag said...

Most Morton fans seem upset by 'cocky' wee Gardyne's behaviour. He had, however, a point to make in that Jim McInally signed him as a player with promise after which he was virtually ignored at Cappielow.

I'd take him back tomorrow!