Miller (81) – Thomson (19), McHugh (30, 37, 53),
Tidser (67 pen), Tiffoney (83)
Hat-trick hero Bob McHugh and fellow summer signing Robert Thomson both continued their fine starts to life at Morton by netting for the second successive game as Jim Duffy’s side hit Turriff United for six today.
Razor sharp former Falkirk hitman McHugh took his tally to four goals in two pre-season friendlies with his impressive treble, while ex-Sons striker Thomson opened the scoring to make it two in two.
Jai Quitongo also made his first public appearance in Ton colours in seven months and looked as though he’d never been away during an encouraging substitute outing in which he won a penalty.
Skipper for the day Michael Tidser converted from the spot, as well as laying on two assists, the last of which set up substitute Scott Tiffoney to wrap up the scoring at a healthy half dozen.
Tidser started in place of Ross Forbes, who was out with a knee injury, while player/development squad boss Darren Barr was handed his first Ton start with Thomas O’Ware and Lee Kilday still absent.
Gaffer Duffy set his side out in a 4-3-3 formation for the second game running, and they took the game by the scruff of the neck from the start and maintained a stranglehold of the ball for virtually the entire 90 minutes.
Gary Harkins has been charged with pulling the strings as the midfield pivot, and it was his vision that opened up the Highland League outfit on 14 minutes.
The local lad picked out Thomson by clipping a clever angled pass over the top, and the hitman controlled with a deft touch that took him inside a defender, opening up the space to rifle a drive into the bottom-right corner.
McHugh scored a simple second on the half hour by cushioning into the net from inside the six-yard box after Mark Russell had combined with Tidser before flashing a fantastic centre across the face of goal.
The Ton No.11 was proving a real menance in and around the box, and only a fine block from home goalkeeper Kevin Main denied him a second goal within 60 seconds of scoring.
McHugh, though, would bag his brace before the break, generating the necessary power and direction on a header to direct the ball into the top-right corner after Michael Doyle had stood up a cross that was begging to be attacked.
Turriff made four changes at the interval and came out with all guns blazing in the first five minutes of the second half, and a vital goal-line clearance by Ricki Lamie prevented Scott Miller from pulling one back.
The home pressure would not last, however, and normal service was resumed when McHugh completed his treble in the 53rd minute.
Captain Tidser was the architect, dropping a measured cross from the left into the frontman, who controlled and then coolly delayed, checking inside two desparate challenges before lifiting high into the net with his left foot.
Gaffer Duffy had revealed that Quitongo would get more game time against Turriff, and he sent the teenager on with around half an hour remaining in a double sub that also saw trialist defender Jack Iredale replace Lamie.
Within five minutes of joining the fray, he had won a penalty, going to ground under a robust Scott Miller challenge for as much of stonewaller as you’re likely to see.
Tidser had assumed responsibility from 12 yards in a recent bounce game against Partick Thistle, and he was successful again, placing a confident and firm penalty high to the left despite Main guessing correctly.
Ross Jack’s side finally had something to cheer about when Miller netted an 81st minute consolation when the ball broke kindly for him inside the box and he lifted a composed finish over sub Jamie McGowan.
But the last word fittingly went to the visitors, Tiffoney squeezing a left-footed half volley through a ruck of bodies and into the net after Tidser had done well to dig out a cross after bypassing keeper Main.
6. Doyle 4. Barr 5. Lamie 17. Russell
3. Murdoch 14. Harkins 12. Tidser (c)
9. Thomson 11. McHugh 7. Oliver
Subs used: 10. Quitongo (for McHugh, 63), 18. Trialist [Iredale] (for Lamie, 63), 15. Tiffoney (for Thomson, 67), 20. McGowan (for Gaston, 76), 2. Hynes (for Barr, 76), 16. Langan (for Harkins, 76).
Turriff United: Main; Chalmers, Cairns, Wood, Bowden (c), Botell, MacKenzie (Unnamed No.22, 22), Allen (Booth, 46), Myers (Ross, 46), Miller, Wozniak (Cuelho, 46).
Subs not used: Ironside, Walker, Nowosieski, Herd.
Referee: Liam Duncan
Images: Gary Bradley