Johansson: In our own hands to do the business

Manager Jonatan Johansson says that Morton have two cup finals left to play but believes it is of massive benefit that their Ladbrokes Championship fate is in their own hands.

The Greenock men travel through to Fife tomorrow to face Dunfermline Athletic in their penultimate fixture of the league campaign before bringing down the curtain with a home fixture against Dundee United seven days later.

A draw with Inverness and win over Falkirk last weekend boosted Ton’s bid to avoid the drop and Johansson has challenged his team to go out and secure safety by picking up the points required in the two outings to come.

He told “You do look at the table and other results, but the main thing for me is focusing on our own game. I know that’s not what the press want to hear, but it’s in our own hands to do the business.

“It’s massive for us that it’s in our own hands. Falkirk are bottom and they almost have to get favours from other teams, but we have it in our own hands.

“We have two huge games, two cup finals, and we need to do it ourselves. I totally believe that we can do it. Confidence-wise, performance-wise, it has been good lately.

“But history is no guarantee that you will do well in your next game, especially because of the unpredictibality of the league and the tightness of all the teams.

“It’s a difficult away game. I know Dunfermline haven’t been on a great run, but they are a good team with good players.

“I think now after getting that win against Falkirk and a good performance against Inverness, we can look towards this game positively and aim to be as hard to beat as we were in those games.

“[The] rewards could be fifth place in the league and we have to aim towards that. On the other hand, we have to be mindful of the situation below us.

“You can’t trust this league and think results will go a certain way, and we saw that in midweek [ninth-place Partick won 1-0 away at third-placed Ayr United].

“There hasn’t really been a team who have gone on a run, except maybe the top two and Inverness, in this calendar year. Everybody has been having some bad runs.

“Now you see Queen of the South winning, ourselves winning, and Partick Thistle winning, so it’s a very tight league, and there are two cup finals left.”

The Ton boss has named the same starting line-up in successive matches, but it looks as though he will be forced into at least one change tomorrow as a result of the shoulder injury suffered by Gary Oliver.

He explained: “I think Gary will miss the game, unfortunately. That’s a third striker out and that’s a blow because a slight tweak to our formation has helped us.

“We’re almost playing a 3-4-3, you might call it. I’ve been playing Greg [Kiltie] up front because I think it’s beneficial for him to have that free role.

“Gary and Charlie [Telfer] are playing in pockets, and getting Michael [Tidser] back in midfield has added to our creativity with the ball and our attacking play. I think it’s worked for us.

“Plus we look quite solid defensively. The last goal against Inverness was sloppy, but the first goal was a really good goal from their point of view. Against Falkirk, we limited their chances.

“So there is no one from the Falkirk game who deserves to come out of the team. Whether I change anybody or not at Dunfermline is not because they had a bad game, it would be tactical.”

In terms of other team news, the Ton boss confirmed: “Denny Johnstone, Robert Thomson, and Kerr Waddell’s seasons are over.

“Rory McKeown picked up a calf injury, something that he had been struggling with previously, in Tuesday’s reserve game and he’ll probably be out. As I said, Gary is probably out too.

“Bob McHugh suffered his hairline fracture but said to me he would come back and come off the bench and score against Falkirk a few weeks ago.

“I said ‘I will hold you to that’ last Tuesday before the game. He still hadn’t trained with the team yet, so it was a last-minute decision to involve him. I just thought I’d put him on the bench in case we needed him.

“Would he be able to start tomorrow? It’s about characters now. Sometimes you just have to go: ‘There are two games to go. You can do it on adrenaline if nothing else.’ Bob wouldn’t say no. But I haven’t made a decision yet.”


Image: David Bell