Morton and Falkirk could not be separated as the clubs shared the spoils after an uneventful goalless draw at a freezing cold Falkirk Stadium this afternoon.
Wintry weather conditions saw Westfield showered by icy sleet throughout the day, and it made a for a gruelling 90 minutes for all involved.
In terms of the Morton team that meant 10 of the 11 that started the 1-1 draw Dundee United seven days earlier, Bob McHugh’s return at the expense of Scott Tiffoney the only change made by manager Jonatan Johansson.
Bairns boss Ray McKinnon selected David Mitchell for the first time in six weeks, and the visitors asked questions of the recalled shot-stopper via two Michael Tidser corners in the opening quarter of an hour.
Mitchell showed a little rust after nine minutes when he dropped Tidser’s inswinging flag-kick before snatching at the second attempt, but he was more assertive when he reached over bodies to punch another deadball clear.
It would prove something of a quiet afternoon for both custodians, however, with chances at a premium until the closing stages of a what would turn out to be a forgettable encounter.
The best opportunity of the first half fell to Robert Thomson on 40 minutes, but the striker lost his footing on the slippery surface as he connected with Gregor Buchanan’s flick-on, causing him to slice his left-footed shot wide.
Besides Chelsea loan kid Ruben Sammut’s skewed shot that flashed high and wide at the end of a positive run at a retreating Ton rearguard, the hosts had offered little in the way of attacking threat.
Derek Gaston was required to palm Deimantas Petravicius’s speculative shot around his right-hand post within two minutes of the restart as Falkirk came out fired up for the second half.
The game settled into a holding pattern again until Charlie Telfer, who had been moved from left midfield to the right as Johansson adjusted his shape, hit the target with a free-kick that Mitchell plunged to collect.
Telfer tested him again with a fierce follow-up after the Falkirk keeper parried substitute Ross MacLean’s original effort – a well-worked low drive back across back his body – only to be flagged offside.
The game had opened up as both teams pushed for all three points, and Paul Paton passed up two excellent opportunities to break the deadlock.
On 80 minutes, the Northern Ireland international sent a gilt-edged header wide of the left post after Tommy Robson had picked out his late run into the box with a dangerous delivery from deep on the left.
Paton did hit the target with a rising shot that threatened to sail into the net until Gaston arched back and used both hands to desperately claw wide and then scramble to prevent the ball from running out for a corner.
It meant a first cleansheet on league duty since last month’s stalemate at Ayr United, and one that had to be achieved minus Buchanan after the centre-half limped off with an agonising knee injury in the closing stages.
14 Tumilty 2. Kilday 4. Buchanan 25. McKeown
7. Millar 8. McAlister (c) 12. Tidser 6. Telfer
Subs used: 19. MacLean (for Thomson, 72), and 5. Waddell (for Buchanan, 77).
Subs not used: 17. Tiffoney, 20. Bell, 22. Armour, 32. R. Lyon, 23. Scully (gk).
Booked: Telfer (36), Kilday (57), Tidser (63).
Falkirk (532): Mitchell; Kidd (Haber, 88), McGhee, Muirhead (c), Brough, Robson; Paton, Buaben, Sammut (Irving, 68); Rudden, Petravicius
Subs not used: Dallison, Lewis, Harrison, Russell, Fasan (gk).
Booked: Buaben (90+2).
Referee: Gavin Ross
Attendance: 3,517 (258 away fans)
Image: David Bell