Manager Jim Duffy hailed the combination of Ross Forbes’ deliveries and Thomas O’Ware’s goals as vital for the club this season after another collaboration earned Morton three points against Queen of the South.
Forbes swung over the free-kick from which top scorer O’Ware headed in the only of the game against the Doonhamers, with the midfielder registering his 15th assist of the campaign and the defender his ninth goal.
A delighted Duffy, who reckons his side just edged the Christmas Eve encounter, admitted that the threat posed by the pair at set-plays have been crucial to the team’s efforts this term.
He told gmfc.net: “I thought we played very well in the first half. We got the ball down, created some chances and it was a great goal – a fantastic delivery from Ross [Forbes].
“It was a very determined Queen of the South side we were up against. There wasn’t too much space to play but thankfully we capitalised on the one clear chance we got.
“That’s something that’s been vital for us this season: Ross’s delivery and Tam [O’Ware]’s goalscoring prowess, his determination to get on the end of it and the execution of it.
“I think we’ve scored two or three goals like that this season. As we’ve said time and time again, he’s got a wand of a left foot Ross – he nearly caught the goalkeeper out in the second half – and the players know he has that quality.
“If they can time their runs and time it right … and obviously Ross and Tam have been here for a few seasons now and they know each other well.
“Overall, without it being a classic match or performance, I was thrilled with the result, thrilled with the clean sheet and I felt we just merited it.
“Queens came into it towards the latter stages and Andy [McNeil] had one great save from a free-kick, but other than that I thought we defended resolutely and denied Queens too many opportunities.
The fixture was staged on Christmas Eve – just the 14th time the club have played on that date in its history and the first since 1988 – and Duffy was pleased to send everyone associated with the club home happy ahead of the festive season.
He added: “To win the game was vital and to get a clean sheet was terrific. Without being brilliant I thought we more than merited the three points.
“We were solid and reliable and organised, all those kind of adjectives. There wasn’t a lot of flair or imagination; there were other types of qualities that were required and I think we showed them. The commitment and work the players put in deserved three points.
“It’s always good for the players to get a win at this time of year. Everything is a wee bit more relaxed with their families and stuff like that over Christmas.
“Football does that – it puts smiles on faces when you win and frowns when you don’t, so it’s good for the fans and good for the club and it’s always better to look at your team when it’s higher up the league than lower down the league.
“But it’s still this side of 2016 and that’s the thing about football. Football managers are notoriously pragmatic and that’s what you’ve got to be like, because as soon as you start thinking too far ahead, you fall flat on your face.
“So what we keep trying to say to the players all the time is just to approach every game in the same away, and that’s why we changed things about a little bit.
“I wanted to bring Nizzy [Aidan Nesbitt] in to try and get a bit of natural width in the game, and I felt that in the first half in particular he did really well.
“Derek Gaston was ill, as was Andy McNeil. Andy felt okay to start with but was sick before the game and was very quite weak, so that wasn’t ideal.
“Overall, all the players who came in for us put in a shift and if you are asking players to go and fulfil a role and they do it for you, then all you can do is be pleased with that.”
Images: David Bell