Morton manager Jim Duffy watched his team go toe to toe with table topping Hibernian and said that his squad’s determination and attitude makes them a match for anyone.
The Greenock men held Hibs to a 1-1 draw at Cappielow on Saturday to share the spoils with the pre-season title favourites for the third time in four meetings this term.
And a delighted Duffy believes that this Ton team’s never-say-die spirit was key to them fighting back from behind in the second half to claim what he felt was deserved point against the Easter Road outfit.
Speaking exclusively to gmfc.net after the match, he said: “It was a difficult game, but as I said leading up to it, the thing we wanted to do was make it difficult for the opponents as well – and I think we did that.
“The first half was a bit scrappy from our point of view. There was no real fluency in the game and I think Hibs were slightly better and were a little bit more on the front foot.
“They peppered our box with crosses and things like that, but we managed to defend pretty well for the vast majority. Obviously we made one error and they scored, and it was a really good finish from Cummings. He’s got that in his locker.
“With regards to Jamie being off, we know the rules. Because he had a bleeding nose, the linesman has to check it. I think we had a similar situation in one of the early cup games when the linesman ran down, had a quick look and waved him on without stopping play.
“But the rules are that they either have to stop play or the linesman has to have a look to assess him. So I have no problem with Bobby Madden or any issues.
“After the goal we had to dig in, stay in the game really and keep it at 1-0. In the second half we didn’t change anything too dramatically; we just asked the players to take a wee bit more care and push up the pitch about 20 or 30 yards.
“We did that better and, without it being a classic match, we defended superbly in the second half. I thought the back four were outstanding and deserved a point in the second half. I’m not saying we deserved all three, but we deserved to draw.
“We’ve competed very well against everyone, but to do it against a side who are knocking on the door of winning the title, we showed our determination and attitude is a match for anyone.
“Some teams might have more resources or more quality in certain key areas, but what we can say without a shadow of a doubt is that no matter who we play, we’ll make it as difficult for them as they’ll make it for us.
“We never give in, we never throw the towel in, we work hard, we’re organised, and we give it everything even if we make mistakes. It’s been like that from day one and hopefully we’ll continue it for the rest of the season.”
Duffy replaced Gary Oliver with goalscorer Shankland just before the break and he explained the substitution as well as expressing his delight to see the hitman come on and find the net.
He added: “Gary was struggling with his calves early on. I don’t know why. He was stretching and couldn’t seem to accelerate or get to people, and even controlling the ball he was in pain.
“Both of his calves seemed to seize up. I don’t know why, he was fine on Friday. But he was certainly struggling for 10 or 15 minutes to the point where we had to make the change.
“It was a great turn from Shanks and a great run from Jamie and a definite penalty. And I was delighted for Shanks; he’s worked so hard in recent weeks.
“He’s had a goal chopped off against Falkirk, a goal chopped off against Dumbarton … he’s hit the bar, so he’s been a bit unlucky in recent weeks, so whether it was a penalty or not, it’s great for him to get another goal under his belt.
“It’ll help his confidence. Any striker, no matter what type of goal it is, is always more confident when they’re scoring goals, so from that perspective it was important.”
Images: David Bell