Johansson: Finishing fifth is huge incentive

Manager Jonatan Johansson says there is still a lot at stake for Morton when they host Dundee United tomorrow in their final fixture of the 2018/19 Ladbrokes Championship campaign.

The Greenock men guaranteed they would be playing in the second tier again next season with last weekend’s 1-0 win away at Dunfermline Athletic.

But Ton boss Johansson insists the prospect of finishing in fifth place is a huge incentive for his side and is positive they will go out determined to give the supporters a memorable send off to the season.

He told “For the club it’s important to finish as high as possible. For me and the team personally, we want to finish fifth. That’s our ambition and that’s enough motivation for the team.

“On top of that, it’s the last home game of the season and it’s a chance for the players to give the fans a great send off for the summer.

“Also, everybody is playing for personal pride as well as future contracts, and Dundee United are playing to see who will start in their play-off matches.

“Listening to Robbie Neilson’s press conference, I don’t think they are going to make massive changes, so it’s going to be a good game.

“And with no pressure on the teams as such, with no relegation or play-off places at stake, I think it is going to be an open game and an attacking game, so it’s going to be a fun game to watch.

“But Housty and I had a discussion on Monday that [we have to make sure] complacency and a sense of achievement doesn’t seep in early, because it’s easy to do that.

“However, I have rarely seen training as competitive as it has been this week. The players were angry at losing, shouting, and tackling … there was a real buzz about the place. They all want to play and they all want to win.”

He noted that the Tangerines boss would not make wholesale changes, and when asked whether he would do so with prize money based on league placings at stake, he replied: “For me, it’s not about the sponsorship money.

“Money does come into everything in football and we are no different, but I want to win this game for its own sake. For me, it’s about getting fifth and finishing as high as possible.

“But you also have to put untried players in in real situations sometimes, so in that way there is a possibility to do that. It depends on how we go and how I feel everybody has done in training and how we can compete.

“So it depends. I haven’t made my mind up on my starting line-up, but, in saying that, with the way that we have been playing, none of the players who have been in the team deserve to lose their place.”

One player who will not be in contention for a starting spot is Gary Oliver. Johansson explained: “It’s too early for Gary, unfortunately. He hasn’t trained yet and there’s too much pain there in the shoulder.

“Obviously, Denny [Johnstone], Thommo [Robert Thomson], who has an operation today, and Kerr Waddell are still out, as is Rory [McKeown]. ”


Image: Gary Bradley