Smith (78) – Purdue (67, 80)
A sensational second-half double from substitute Jack Purdue saw Morton open Reserve Cup Group D with a 2-1 win over Dundee at Links Park this afternoon.
After a goalless first half in Montrose, attacking midfielder Purdue set the game alight on 67 minutes by opening the scoring with a searing strike from 22 yards.
Home sub Cedwyn Scott took advantage of a lucky break to slot past goalkeeper Daniel Farrell and equalise 10 minutes later.
But the Ton hit back within 120 seconds, Purdue bagging his brace with another superbly taken goal to clinch all three points.
John Sutton made one enforced changed to the team that conquered Celtic a fortnight earlier, replacing the suspended Ben Eardley with Kieran Brophy on the right of midfield.
An uneventful first half finished goalless thanks in part due to profligate finishing from first-teamer Jean Alassane Mendy, the Senegalese striker failing to convert a couple of chances in and around the Ton box.
The second reason for the stalemate was the fact the Cappielow kids struggled to find their way through a Dark Blues back five marshalled by former Republic of Ireland centre-half Darren O’Dea.
Dundee switched to a flat back four at the break, likely through necessity, replacing Dan Jefferies with Grady McGrath, and this made for more space in the attacking third for the Ton.
Purdue would make it count eight minutes after joining the action, ignoring Darren Hynes screaming for the ball outside him on the right and blasting beyond Sam Jackson into the bottom-left corner from outside the box.
The visitors received a visible lift from taking the lead, and Reece Lyon came within a coat of paint of doubling their advantage with another sensational hit, from a little further out, that cracked the outside of the left post.
Lyon has been a standout for the second string this term, earning a senior bow at Dumbarton before recently following up with his first appearance at Cappielow, and he was foiled again by a smart Jackson block.
Ton were hit with a real sucker punch when Dundee equalised against the run of play through substitute Scott on 78 minutes.
Making the most of a break that saw Nathan Durham inadvertently scoop the ball into the middle of his own box while on the ground, the Berwick Rangers loan star fired past an exposed Farrell.
Parity would last less than two minutes, though, thanks to Purdue, who showed ice-cool composure to control Blair Docherty’s pass, step outside a lunging defender rather than shoot, before drilling inside the left post.
Infused with confidence, the 18-year-old was playing with a swagger and attempted an audacious curled shot that required a flying save from Jackson to prevent it from bending into the top-right corner for his hat-trick.
The deadly double was enough, however, to ensure the in-form Cappielow kids would make a winning start to their Reserve Cup campaign, in which they host Queen of the South this coming Monday in their second fixture.
2. Hynes (c) 4. Durham 5. Watt 3. Strapp
7. Brophy 6. McGrattan 8. R. Lyon 11. Docherty
10. Easdale 9. Armour
Subs used: 12. Purdue (for Armour, 59), 15. Rodgers (for Easdale, 59), and 16. J. Lyon (for Brophy, 73).
Subs not used: 14. Martins, 20. Coyle (gk).
Booked: Watt (42).
Celtic (532): Jackson; Curran, Jefferies (McGrath, 46), O’Dea, Bradbury, Johnston; Cunningham, Nelson, Hornyik; Mendy (Scott, 62), Anderson (Henvey, 62).
Subs not used: Sharpe (gk).
Booked: Hornyik (20), Curran (47).
Referee: Chris Fordyce
Images: Tommy Young