Duffy: Sons success was as satisfying as St Mirren win

Morton manager Jim Duffy insisted that yesterday’s 2-0 win at Dumbarton was so pleasing that it gave him a similar sense of satisfaction as the recent derby success against rivals St Mirren.

The Ton are currently in a fantastic run of form, having won seven of their last 10 matches and embarking on an unbeaten run of six league matches.

They reached that half dozen on Saturday thanks to second-half goals from Mark Russell and Kudus Oyenuga at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium.

For a delighted Duffy, whose side climbed above Raith Rovers into third place in the Ladbrokes Championship, the manner in which they achieved the victory meant that he took as much pleasure in the three points as he did those they claimed against the Saints.

Speaking to gmfc.net, he said: “I wasn’t overly frustrated in the first half. I spoke to the players [at half-time] and I was really relaxed and calm.

“It was that type of game, a difficult game. They played 4-1-4-1 with Mark Docherty sitting in front of the back four, Robert Thomson out wide and Garry Fleming up front as a good outball. It was very difficult to break down.

“What you have to make sure is you don’t give them the lead, because then it becomes really difficult because you chase it and it becomes frantic and you rush things.

“So what we said to them at half-time was: ‘Fine. It’s 0-0. Just be calm, be patient, and let’s not be in a hurry to try and get a goal. Let’s bring it down, make a few passes and try and draw them out.

“I thought we did that a lot better in the second half, a lot better. We scored two terrific goals, Gary [Oliver] has gone through and the keeper has made a save, and he’s put another one across the face of goal and the keeper’s made another great save.

“Kudus also got in and there was a free header for Tam [O’Ware]. Mark Russell had another great strike and the keeper had another great save, so we had four or five really good attempts on goal in the second half.

“And against a team who are notoriously difficult to create against I thought that was pretty decent. I was really delighted with the overall performance and outcome today.

“You get the glamour results, like against a St Mirren where everyone raves about it and says it was fantastic, but as a coach that result today was as pleasing as any of the other results or performances.

“That’s because it’s not the best footballing match in the world: you have to know how to win and how to dig out a win, and we did that today.

“We’ve managed a win at a very difficult venue against a side who everybody will find it difficult to come to and get a result – and for me that was a terrific three points.”

Rated doubtful … Jai Quitongo was named as a substitute due to a tight hamstring                       © David Bell

Duffy made two changes to the team that drew with Falkirk, replacing Michael Doyle and Jai Quitongo with Jamie McDonagh and Ricki Lamie, and he explained that it was partly tactical and partly due to Quitongo and Aidan Nesbitt failing late fitness tests.

He explained: “We had Nizzy injured today and Jai injured. Jai was on the bench but unless it was an emergency I really didn’t want to use him.

“He came back from the 21s with an issue with his hamstring. Although he didn’t pull it, he felt as if it was extremely tight and if he printed it could go and it was a risk.

“Aidan got injured yesterday [Friday], he kicked the sole of Ricki Lamie’s foot, the studs, right on his instep. It was swollen and bruised and he couldn’t kick the ball. We tried a fitness test before the game but we just felt we had to eliminate those two.”

As part of the resultant tactical reshuffle, goalscorer Russell was deployed in the left-hand side of midfield with Lamie behind him at left-back.

And Duffy added: “Looking at the possibilities, we knew that they would have Thomson or Fleming playing wide and Ricki at full-back gave us that height and presence with Gavin [Gunning] and Tam.

“Also, that meant could Mark push on. The boy is a terrific player and loves running at players, and it gave him more of a licence not to worry about the defensive side.

“I think overall it worked. Ricki played really well defensively and Mark was a real threat going forward and was probably our most creative spark in the team today, particularly second half when I thought he was outstanding.”

Kudus to you … Oyenuga slots home the second goal to seal the win                                          © David Bell

With Quitongo only deemed fit enough for the a place on the bench, Oyenuga was deployed through the middle, and the Greenock gaffer was pleased to see him get a reward for his efforts by scoring his second goal of the season.

He said: “I was really delighted for Kudus to get his goal. He worked really hard right throughout the game. His natural position is centre forward and we’ve played him on the left a lot because Jai and Gary has been a real partnership.

“But he came in today and worked his socks off and gave everything. He was a real presence, a real handful for the back four, and I thought that was really important.

“He never stopped and eventually got his reward with the goal. I was really pleased for him because he’s a boy who’s fitted in really with us and given us different options.”


Images: David Bell