Jim Duffy was disappointed to lose the home leg of the Premiership promotion play-off quarter-final but insists Morton still have it all to play for in tomorrow’s return at Tannadice.
The Ton took an early lead against Dundee United at Cappielow on Tuesday night but conceded twice in the second half, leaving them requiring a win in the City of Discovery on Friday.
Gaffer Duffy felt his side put everything into keeping the tie alive despite tiring in the second half and firmly believes they have given themselves a fighting chance of reaching the semi-final stage.
Speaking exclusively to gmfc.net after the match, he said: “It was a bit of a frustrating night obviously. We’re disappointed with the result because we put such a lot into the first half.
“I thought in the first half we were terrific. We took time to settle into the game in the first five minutes and were a wee bit nervous, which is understandable, but after that I thought we really did well.
“Our energy levels were terrific, we closed the play down, I thought the front two really set the tone for us by putting their defenders under pressure and everybody else backed it up.
“We scored and were a wee bit unlucky not to get another one, and you maybe need that. That’s been the story of our season – if we could’ve capitalised on more of the chances we’ve created we might’ve been in an even healthier position.
“These are areas we know we need to improve on, but what I’ve said many, many times is that one area we don’t need to improve on is commitment.
“I mean, the players were dead on their feet in the last 20 minutes. Dundee United had a grip on the grip of the game. They are strong, have good players – Willo Flood, [Wato] Kuate and Tony Andreu are top class players.
“But we never gave in, even though they were tired and gritting their teeth and running back and working hard trying to stay in the tie.
“That’s all we could as them to do – and we did stay in the tie. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s 2-1 and away goals don’t count in this format so if we get a goal back we’re back level.
“Dundee United were the better team in the second half, I’m not disputing that, but if you take it over the 90 minutes, we gave a very good side a difficult evening, and we have to try and do it again on Friday.”
Ton had a couple of strong penalty appeals – Gary Oliver going down inside the box in the first half and Thomas O’Ware in the second – and Duffy certainly felt that one should have been awarded.
He added: “I was more disappointed with Gary’s. With the one involving Thomas, defenders are always wrestling and grappling, particularly at set-pieces, and they know Thomas is such a threat and they’re always going to get really close to him.
“But Gary’s one I definitely thought was a penalty. The player has come across him as Gary’s run into the box. I’m not saying he would have got the ball but he was certainly taken out of play.
“Maybe Willie [Collum] didn’t see it, but I thought maybe his assistant would have seen it. But listen it wasn’t given and these are the situations you’ve just got to deal with.”
Image (main): David Bell
Image (inset): Gary Bradley