White (45) – Telfer (9)
Morton rebounded from last Saturday’s heavy home loss against Ayr United by picking up a precious point away at unbeaten Inverness Caledonian Thistle this afternoon.
Jonatan Johansson’s side took an important early lead through in-form Charlie Telfer, who steered home a shrewd Michael Tidser cutback to net his second goal in two matches.
The Highland outfit equalised with just 10 seconds of normal time remaining in the first half when striker Jordan White managed to squeeze the ball past Ryan Scully after finding a yard of space inside the Ton box.
Dundee loanee Kerr Waddell, making his first league start for the club, thought he had headed the visitors in front minutes after the restart, seeing his effort agonisingly cleared off the line.
After a spell of sustained Morton pressure, Inverness finished the game on top – but they could not find a way past an inspired Scully between the sticks as the Greenock men held out to claim a significant score draw.
Following last week’s home reversal, Ton boss Johansson made two personnel changes whilst making a slight tweak to his system to give it a more defensive dimension.
The injured Chris Millar was replaced by Jack Iredale, who was deployed in central midfield to add legs and energy in the engine room, while Waddell came in for his first league start in place of Reghan Tumilty.
Right-back Tumilty dropped to the bench with Lee Kilday moved out one. In front of the back four, widemen Telfer and Scott Tiffoney were deployed in a deeper starting position, turning last week’s 4-3-3 to a 4-1-4-1.
Telfer’s goal-scoring performance against the Honest Men was one of the few bright spots, and the former Dundee United schemer sustained his form by firing the Ton into a vital, ninth-minute lead in Inverness.
In the first instance, Gary Oliver did well to block a clearance before slipping a pass into the path of Tidser as he charged up in support on the right.
The playmaker would have been well within his rights to shoot but intelligently cut the ball back for Telfer to sweep a composed first-time shot into the bottom-left corner.
Not only was it his second goal in consecutive matches, but also Tidser’s seventh direct assist of a fruitful opening two and a half months of the campaign.
The hosts have enjoyed an undefeated start in league competition this term, and they were in no mood to surrender that record as they immediately began a concerted push to level things up as quickly as possible.
They looked most likely to do so through a set-play after forcing a series of corners and free-kicks, but the closest they came to a leveller was Brad McKay’s off-target header from a Tom Walsh corner.
Morton were still asking questions on the counter, though, and fantastic footwork from Tidser saw him dance away from a couple of Inverness players down the right to manufacture an opening.
After advancing to the bye-line, he picked out Oliver with a precise low pass, but he, in turn, attempted a lay-off rather than pulling the trigger and didn’t quite get his touch right.
Gaffer Johansson and assistant Peter Houston had spent much of the week drilling their side on the defensive side of their game, particularly maintaining their shape when out of possession.
The pair were pleased with how the players defended over the piece, particularly as the hosts enjoyed lengthy periods in control of the ball as they pushed for a leveller.
But on the occasion the rearguard was breached, goalkeeper Scully was on hand to keep the Highlanders out, twice denying Aaron Doran, once by darting off his line to block and another with a fine reaction stop.
John Robertson’s side would eventually find a way through, levelling in the final minute of the half with what was a disappointing goal to concede from a Morton perspective
Rangy striker White chased a simple clipped pass sent down the inside-left channel deep into the Ton half, held off Waddell inside the six-yard box, and span to hook past Scully.
For a group that may still have been feeling fragile following a 5-1 defeat, the timing of the goal, conceding right on the cusp of half-time, could have easily proven a psychological setback too far.
Yet, the Ton actually emerged with a renewed sense of belief, and took the game to their opponents for the next 20 minutes or so.
Centre-half Waddell thought he’d restored their lead within two minutes of the restart, meeting Tidser’s deep corner with a looping header that was set to drop into the net before Sean Welsh popped up to clear off the line.
Tidser’s deadball delivery was causing consternation in the home defence, and on 52 minutes his curled free-kick to the far post was nodded narrowly wide of his own goal by Coll Donaldson under pressure.
Substitute Ross MacLean was next up to threaten the hosts’ goal, nipping in to reach Shaun Rooney’s headed back pass and attempting a cute lob from an incredibly tight angle that rippled the outside netting.
Ton’s period on top was engendering a growing sense of unease amongst the frustrated home fans, with one terracing wag telling his team: “You’re chasing shadows, Caley!”
It was something of a coincidence that they turned the tide soon after and began to force the issue, finishing the match in the ascendancy.
That they didn’t snatch a winner was due in no small part to the performance of Cappielow custodian Scully, who not only commanded his box with real authority but also produced two tremendous saves.
On 84 minutes, the former Partick Thistle and Dunfermline shot-stopper pulled off a real jaw-dropping stop to somehow flip Daniel Mackay’s point-blank snapshot up onto the bar and over.
Irishman Scully then followed that up with another acrobatic save, scooping Inverness Caley sub Nathan Austin’s looping header over the top just as it threatened to drop over him and into the net.
Those vital contributions preserved the scoreline and ensured Morton would go some way towards exorcising the demons of the Ayr defeat by leaving the Highland capital with a share of the spoils.
2. Kilday 4. Buchanan 5. Waddell 25. McKeown
6. Telfer 12. Tidser 3. Iredale 17. Tiffoney
Subs used: 19. MacLean (for Tiffoney, 54), and 11. McHugh (for Iredale, 85).
Subs not used: 14. Tumilty, 22. Armour, 32. R. Lyon, 1. Gaston (gk).
Booked: Tiffoney (52), Iredale (66).
Inverness C.T. (4231): Ridgers; Rooney, McKay, Donaldson, Tremarco (c); Welsh, Chalmers (Mackay, 46); Walsh, Polworth, Doran (Calder, 59); White (Austin, 79).
Subs not used: McCart, Trafford, McGregor, Hoban (gk).
Referee: Craig Thomson
⭐️ Star Man: Michael Tidser / Ryan Scully
Image: Gary Bradley