Turnbull (30 pen, 42 pen, 67) – Purdue (78)
Morton Under-20s exited the Scottish Youth Cup at the fourth round stage after losing 3-1 to tournament holders Motherwell yesterday afternoon.
The tie, staged at Airdrie’s Exclesior Stadium, saw Stephen Craigan’s side reduced to nine men but still triumph despite their numerical disadvantage thanks to a David Turnbull hat-trick that included two controversial penalties.
The hosts started on the front foot and wideman Jake Hastie could have scored as early as the fourth minute, blazing a great chance high over after spinning Darren Hynes inside the box.
However, the game turned in the Ton’s favour on 11 minutes when whistler Tony Fullerton adjudged Barry Maguire to have denied Ben Armour a clear goalscoring opportunity and sent the defender packing.
Things might well have turned out differently had Scott Tiffoney’s resultant free-kick finish in the net rather than crash back off the crossbar.
And that thought was reinforced when the Steelmen were awarded a spot-kick against the run of play just before the half-hour mark, with Hynes harshly penalised for a pull on Hastie.
Midfielder Turnbull assumed responsibility and fired a low penalty across his body into the bottom-left corner, sending goalkeeper Jamie McGowan the wrong way.
The 17-year-old was put back on the spot again on 42 minutes after Ruaridh Langan was deemed to have barged Hastie over as they went shoulder to shoulder as the ball ran out of play for a goal-kick.
And he made no mistake, sending a firm, side-footed effort low into the opposite corner to leave McGowan with no chance despite guessing correctly this time.
The Ton teens came out with all guns blazing in the second half, with the switch of Alex McWaters from wide on the left into a central midfield playmaking role the catalyst for an almost immediate improvement.
And yet it was during this threatening spell that they conceded a third goal against the run of play to effectively end the tie as a contest on 67 minutes.
It was Turnbull who caught them napping by collecting a quick corner and rifling an unstoppable drive past McGowan from 25 yards.
Forward Jack Purdue gave the visitors a glimmer of hope when he turned home Tiffoney’s teasing low free-kick from wide on the right 12 minutes from time.
However, despite the goal and the dismissal of a second Well player – Tom Fry was shown a second yellow card in the second minute of stoppage time for time wasting – there would be no way back.
Andy Millen’s men now turn their attentions back to league duty as they continue their defence of the Development League West crown with a fixture against Clyde at Celtic’s Lennoxtown training complex tomorrow night.
2. Hynes 4. Tennent 8. Langan (c) 3. Strapp
11. Tiffoney 5. Anderson 6. Duffy 7. McWaters
9. Armour 10. Purdue
Subs used: 16. Docherty (for Duffy, 51), and 12. Miller (for Hynes, 76).
Subs not used: 14. Lyons, 15. Easdale, 20 Connor (gk).
Image: Alastair Reilly