O’Ware (35), Tiffoney (47), Iredale (80)
Morton ended a 39-year wait for a win at Tannadice Park in emphatic style with a resounding 3-0 victory over Dundee United on Saturday.
A Thomas O’Ware header and wonder goals from Scott Tiffoney and Jack Iredale earned Ton all three points there for the first time since Jim Rooney and Bobby Russell netted in a 2-1 triumph back in September 1978.
The result meant Jim Duffy’s side had recorded back-to-back successes after the 2-1 Scottish Cup win away at Dunfermline, and the Cappielow gaffer went with the exact same starting XI that produced against the Pars.
It meant a first league start for Aberdeen loan star Frank Ross, and the wideman conjured up an excellent goalscoring opportunity after just two minutes.
Twisting and turning on the edge of the area, the teenager dug out a delicate left-footed cross that Gary Oliver nodded into the net from close range only to see his early effort ruled out for an extremely tight offside.
Dundee United went close to opening the scoring shortly thereafter, striker Thomas Mikkelsen bundling Billy King’s inswinging corner against the outside of the right post and wide.
There followed a fairly even 30 minutes before Morton made the most of a set-piece high on the right, won and delivered by Michael Tidser who flashed a flat, inswinging delivery into the centre for O’Ware to head home.
Only an impressive reaction save from Harry Lewis prevented Ross from adding a second on 42 minutes, the keeper plunging to parry after the Dons loanee had drifted in off the flank to meet Michael Doyle’s cross.
Nevertheless, the visitors would go in at half-time holding a narrow – and precious – one-goal lead after a tight 45 minutes thanks to skipper O’Ware’s second goal of the campaign.
The second goal of the game would go a long way to deciding the outcome, and fortunately for the Sinclair Street side they doubled their advantage just two minutes after the restart.
There was absolutely nothing lucky about the goal, however, as teenager Tiffoney scooped up a Oliver touch off 25 yards out and unleashed a wicked, swerving drive that ripped into the top left-hand corner.
Ex-Dundee man Gary Harkins seemed to be relishing strutting his stuff at the home of his former City of Discovery rivals, and he forced Lewis into a smart 59th-minute save with a cute free-kick.
One mazy dribble down the left, in particular, was a joy to watch. Firstly, sub Idris Kadded bounced off him before he waltzed past Stewart Murdoch.
Harkins proceeded to nutmeg experienced midfielder Willo Flood and then nonchalantly prodded the ball past the aggressively outrushing Mark Durnan to complete a memorable moment of individual brilliance.
The home crowd were also growing increasingly frustrated with their side’s struggle to string a positive move together, never mind threaten Derek Gaston’s goal.
But a significant portion of the credit for that must be due to the visitors’ defence, with the back four of Doyle, Luca Gasparotto, O’Ware, and Iredale an impenetrable barrier.
Aussie defender Iredale has been deployed at left-back to real effect in Ton’s last two outings, and he put the game to bed with a stunning solo goal 10 minutes from time.
Charging onto a backwards pass from Mark Russell 10 yards inside the opposition half, the one-time winger surged forward.
The 21-year-old demonstrated a deceptive turn of pace as he burst between Flood and Craig Slater, danced inside Durnan, before a final surge saw him breeze beyond Paul Quinn.
You would have been forgiven for feeling Iredale might run out of ideas when faced with the goalkeeper, but it could not have been further from the case as he slipped a cool finish inside the far post to wrap up the victory.
After scoring his first senior goal in his last appearance for loan club Queen’s Park in a 2-2 draw with Albion Rovers on 30 December 2017, he had now opened his Ton account. And what a way to do it.
With this incredible outcome Duffy’s men had not only dealt a blow to Dundee United’s title aspirations but – and this is all that matters from a Morton perspective – pushed themselves right back into play-off contention.
6. Doyle 4. O’Ware (c) 19. Gasparotto 26. Iredale
12. Tidser 14. Harkins 3. Murdoch 25. Ross
Subs used: 17. Russell (for Ross, 73), 15. McHugh (for Tiffoney, 87), and 16. Strapp (for Oliver, 90).
Subs not used: 5. Lamie, 9. Quitongo, 21. Langan, 20. Brennan (gk).
Booked: Harkins (49), Ross (66).
Dundee United (4231): Lewis; Murdoch, Durnan, Quinn, Robson; Flood (c), Stanton; Lyng, McDonald (Kadded, 60), King (Slater, 66); Mikkelsen (Martin, 76).
Subs not used: Allardice, Ballantyne, Mason, Mehmet (gk).
Referee: Barry Cook
Images: David Bell