Quinn (88) – Oyenuga (3), Scullion (23 pen, 32), Pepper (25), Strapp (66), Miller (74, 86), McAleer (76)
Morton Under-20s bounced back from their Scottish Youth Cup exit at hands of Motherwell on Sunday with a resounding 8-1 league victory against Clyde at Lennoxtown last night.
Despite the incredible margin of victory, a dampener was put on the evening when Conor Pepper was forced off after suffering an injury to the same knee that caused him to miss nine months.
The midfielder, who had scored earlier in the match, was left clutching his leg in agony but was able to walk off the field unaided despite being inconsolable as he trudged to the dressing room.
There was an indication of the rout to come as early as 20 seconds into a dreich December night at Celtic’s east Dunbartonshire training complex when Jon Scullion side-footed a glaring chance wide after being picked out by Caolan McAleer.
They wouldn’t have to wait long to open the scoring, though, as Kudus Oyenuga controlled Jack Purdue’s square pass inside the box before rifling into the net on three minutes.
Oyenuga, playing through the middle alongside Scullion, then hit the woodwork twice in quick succession, clipping the outside of the post with a whipped finish before cracking the opposite outright with a fierce left-footed drive.
Ton eventually doubled their advantage on 23 minutes when Scullion nonchalantly rolled a penalty to the right as goalkeeper Mark McMillan dived the wrong way.
Winger McAleer earned the spot-kick after he was dumped inside the box, and he was a constant threat down the right, sending in the precise cross from which Pepper scored, showing tremendous desire to slid in and force the ball over the line.
Set-piece specialist Scullion added a fourth on 32 minutes with a sublime free-kick that he sent up and over the wall and flashed inside the left-hand post to make it eight goals in four Under-20s starts so far this term.
The second half was only five minutes old when the visitors suffered a cruel blow as Pepper crumpled after releasing a pass, seeming to have tweaked the knee that has so troubled him, and he was replaced by David Anderson.
Thereafter, Clyde enjoyed their only real spell of dominance in the game, with goalkeeper Jamie McGowan required to make a fine reflex save to flip clear a Craig Quinn effort.
But Lewis Strapp got his side back on the goal trail just after the hour mark by surging forward in support of Blair Docherty, picking up a poked pass into his path before driving on and sending a shot screaming into the roof of the net from 22 yards.
Substitute Scott Miller replaced Oyenuga on 63 minutes and scored twice, first making it 6-0 with an ice cool finish on 74 minutes before completing his side’s scoring by sliding in to prod under keeper McMillan four minutes from time.
Both goals were laid on by McAleer, the first with a sublime back-heel flick and the second with a low centre, and the winger got the goal his performance merited in between Miller’s brace, racing through on goal and placing into the net in the 76th minute.
As is often the case in these one-sided affairs, the opponents pulled back a consolation in spectacular style when, two minutes from time, Craig Quinn dropped a sensational clipped shot in under the bar from 35 yards.
But it was the injury to Irishman Pepper rather than that goal that took some of the shine off what was a polished performance from Andy Millen’s undefeated side, who sit second in the table one point behind Queen of the South with a game in hand.
2. Duffy 8. Langan (c) 5. Hynes 3. Strapp
7. McAleer 6. Purdue 4. Pepper 10. Docherty
9. Oyenuga 11. Scullion
Subs used: 15. Anderson (for Pepper, 52), 12. Miller (for Oyenuga, 63), and 14. Armour (for Purdue, 85).
Subs not used: 16. McWaters, 20 Connor (gk).
Image: Gary Bradley