Jim Duffy says Morton were disappointed to draw with Dundee United on Saturday – but feels that very fact can only be seen as a positive in terms of the bigger picture.
The Ton went into the final 10 minutes leading 1-0 at Tannadice thanks to a first-half header from Lee Kilday and looked on course to claim their first three points there since 1978.
Mark Durnan’s fortunate late leveller saw Ray McKinnon’s side take a point, though, leaving Duffy and his players feeling a twinge of regret that they didn’t hold on mixed with the sense that it was a source of encouragement they were feeling that way.
He told gmfc.net: “I think disappointment is my initial reaction – and I think that’s a good thing. It’s a sign how far we’ve come in a short period of time.
“We’ve come up to Tannadice, played as well as we did – first half we totally dominated it and second half they put a lot of balls forward and put Durnan up front in the last 10 minutes – and I thought defensively, we were outstanding.
“The goal was very fortuitous, just ricocheted off someone and fell perfectly for him – I don’t even think he knew it was there and it went into the net.
“But over the course of the 90 minutes, I thought the boys were absolutely terrific, and I think we can be rightfully disappointed we didn’t get all three points.
“Dundee United are a huge club with massive expectations of getting promotion, but, you know, we’re on their coattails. There’s a tinge of disappointment. Before the game you might think a point is not a bad result but we got to a stage …
“I mean, it wasn’t a carved open chance, it wasn’t a moment of creativity. We were undone by a bit of bad luck, and I think that makes it just a wee bit more painful.
“It was a wee bit quiet in the dressing room afterwards, which is understandable. But once we explained to them that they had to put in perspective of where we are and where Dundee United are and we were a few minutes away from a terrific three points.
“I said to them in there: ‘You deserve a lot of credit. Sometimes you get the breaks, sometimes you don’t, and today it just went against us a little bit in terms of the goal.’ But in general play I thought they were terrific.”
The travelling support were in fine voice throughout the 90 minutes and beyond, and Duffy reckons a real rapport has been established between the players and the fans.
He added: “We had a terrific support up as well and there was a great atmosphere [created] by the Morton fans. And I think they are bouncing off each other.
“They are giving the team rightful encouragement, and the players are responding to that; they’re working so hard, chasing lost causes, putting people under pressure for 90 minutes.
“That’s difficult. You need to be fit, but not just fit, you need that mental attitude to keep going and today the players’ application was absolutely outstanding.”
Duffy was thrilled to see his side score from another set-play and praised club captain Lee Kilday for a brave header and Ross Forbes for another deadly delivery.
He concluded: “Over the last couple of away games, Lee has contributed with important goals: down at Raith and then today. And it was a great header, a real brave header.
“It was going towards the post, there were people marking him, but it was a real thumping header and a great ball. We’ve said this time and time again, Ross will put more than his fair share of set-pieces in the right areas and we’ve been potent in those situations.”
Images: David Bell