Oliver (5), Tiffoney (44), Harkins (72 pen), Quitongo (83) – Layne (41)
Morton registered their second consecutive Ladbrokes Championship success with an emphatic 4-1 victory against basement side Brechin City at Cappielow.
Gary Oliver, Scott Tiffoney, his first senior strike, Gary Harkins, and Jai Quitongo all found the net as free-scoring Ton, who have racked up seven goals in their last two outings, picked up another important three points.
The Cappielow club hit Falkirk for three in last week’s away win, but manager Jim Duffy still elected to make two changes to the team that bested the Bairns.
In defence, the Greenock gaffer restored Luca Gasparotto to the rearguard after he was forced to sit out against his parent club due to the terms of his loan agreement.
Duffy facilitated this by moving Ricki Lamie to left-back and naming Mark Russell as a substitute to forge a more physically imposing back four.
Up top, Gary Oliver returned to the starting line-up up after fully recovering from an illness that only left him fit enough for a place on the bench at the Falkirk Stadium with Bob McHugh making way.
After opening his account for the season at Dunfermline, Oliver took just four minutes to add to that tally at the weekend, throwing himself at a dangerous Ross Forbes delivery to divert the ball into the net.
It was one-way traffic towards the Brechin goal, with Harkins on cruise control in the middle of the park as he conducted the orchestra while Derek Gaston was a complete bystander at the opposite end.
It did, however, take until the 25th minute for the Ton to register another attempt on goal worthy of note when Tiffoney, making his second consecutive start, ran at the home defence dragged a shot wide of the upright.
Ton should have had a penalty on the half hour when Graeme Smith completely wiped out Robert Thomson as the targetman got his head to a Michael Doyle cross before the Brechin goalkeeper.
Smith went from potential sinner to saint for his side three minutes later, clawing out a Harkins corner as it threatened to whip directly into the net before brilliantly blocking two point-blank range Forbes follow ups.
Besides a steamrollering burst out from the centre of defence and shot from Paul McLean, which was easily dealt with by Gaston, there appeared to be no real prospect of them scoring.
That was until the 41st minute when striker Isaac Layne bundled his way into the box, profited from a break of the ball, and lashed a feriocious angled finish inside the left-hand post from around 10 yards.
However, teenager Tiffoney picked the opportune moment to score his first senior goal, striking just three minutes later to fire his side back in front with the break looming.
Harkins flighted over a corner and academy graduate sent the ball sailing over the heads of everyone in the goalmouth and into the net with what appeared to be his thigh after Smith had punched the original deadball.
The second half wasn’t quite as one-sided but the outcome was never in question, and Harkins basically bagged all three points with a successful spot-kick in the 72nd minute.
As an award it seemed incredibly soft, Oliver suffering the slightest clip from a Brechin defender, but in the bigger picture it evened things out after Ton were denied the aforementioned stonewall penalty.
Despite missing from 12 yards at Falkirk seven days earlier, Harkins remained on duties and made no mistake, placing a cool penalty into the bottom-right corner, sending Smith the wrong way in the process.
It took the midfielder’s tally to five for the season, four of which have been scored in his last five matches coinciding with an impressive period of form for the 32-year-old.
The cherry on the icing on the cake arrived seven minutes from time when substitute Quitongo netted the fourth and final goal, to mark his comeback from a month-long absence.
After scoring for the Under-20s in midweek, he repeated the feat at senior level by turning into an empty net after Forbes had done well to anticipate a slack backpass and square for his team-mate to tap in.
The victory meant in-form Morton had won back-to-back league fixtures, extending their unbeaten run to three matches as well as suffering just one loss in their last six.
6. Doyle 4. O’Ware (c) 19. Gasparotto 5. Lamie
8. Forbes 3. Murdoch 14. Harkins 15. Tiffoney
Subs used: 12. Tidser (for Murdoch, 59), 9. Quitongo (for Tiffoney, 74), and 21. Langan (for Harkins, 89).
Subs not used: 11. McHugh, 17. Russell, 22. Armour, 20. Doohan (gk).
Booked: Murdoch (12)
Brechin City (5311): G. Smith; Lynas, Crighton, McLean, E. Smith, Spark; Graham (Jackson, 81), Layne, Watt; Orsi; (Sinclair, 56) Layne
Subs not used: Fusco, C. O’Neill, P. O’Neill (gk).
Booked: Layne (78).
Referee: Alan Newlands
Images: David Bell