Morton had to settle for a share of the spoils on the opening day of the Ladbrokes Championship campaign after they were held to a goalless stalemate by Dumbarton at the Your Radio Stadium.
Despite dominating for much of the 90 minutes, Jim Duffy’s side could not find a way past Scott Gallacher in the Sons goal and start the 2017/18 season with a point.
By contrast the Ton had ended their participation in the Betfred Cup with a goal glut seven days earlier, recording an emphatic 5-0 victory over Edinburgh City.
Cappielow gaffer Duffy went with the same starting XI and shape for the league opener, with the only change being the return of an injury-free Ricki Lamie in place of rookie Australian defender Jack Iredale.
Besides the 4-0 loss at Motherwell, the Greenock men have controlled every game in which they have participated since returning to action this summer. Yesterday was no different.
Although the visitors would carve out the majority of the openings, the first real chance fell Dumbarton’s way in the 10th minute.
Midfielder Alastair Roy cleaved a path right through the heart of the Ton but shot straight at goalkeeper Derek Gaston under pressure from a recovering Lamie.
Former Scotland Under-21 cap Scott Gallacher, though, would be the more active shot-stopper over the course of the afternoon.
He produced his first meaningful save midway through the half, repelling Connor McManus’s fierce left-footed snapshot after Jai Quitongo had miscontrolled a Ross Forbes corner into feet and the ball ran on into his path.
Ref Steven Kirkland drew the ire of the travelling support on the day, which in the first instance came as a result of his decision to wave play on after Bob McHugh went down under an Andy Dowie challenge inside the box.
Shortly thereafter McHugh then whipped a cross to the near post for Robert Thomson to attack, causing keeper Gallacher to panic and flip the ball up into the air before catching at the second attempt.
Gaston also produced an unorthodox save to send the sides in level at the break, scrambling a Christian Nade volley from a Sam Wardrop cross around the post.
The first 25 minutes of the second half was largely made up of Morton creating a series of half chances, all of which Gallacher dealt with relatively comfortably, and broken up by a number of bookings for both teams.
It was in the final 20 minutes or so that the visitors really ramped up the intensity and urgency of their play and tested Sons custodian Gallacher.
He was fortunate to be let off the hook by Michael Doyle on 81 minutes, the right-back scooping a left foot shot over the bar on the stretch after the keeper had allowed a cross to squirm out of his grasp.
Gallacher’s luck was also in when playmaker Forbes unleashed a searing half volley from 22 yards that flashed a whisker wide of the right-hand post.
In the last minute of normal time, the former Rangers and Hibs netminder did well to parry a McHugh overhead kick from close range and then prevent Forbes’ low cross to the front post from sneaking into the net.
But his key stop arrived in the second minute of stoppage time, whereupon he acrobatically flipped a thunderous Forbes drive over the top after the Ton man had worked his way on off the right with a sublime nutmeg.
It preserved his shutout and both ensured that Stevie Aitken’s side would take a point from the match and frustrated a Morton team that will feel they deserved to walk away with all three rather than a draw.
6. Doyle 18. McManus 5. Lamie 17. Russell
3. Murdoch 8. Forbes 12. Tidser (c)
10. Thomson . Quitongo 11. McHugh
Subs used: 15. Tiffoney (for Quitongo, 86).
Subs not used: 16. Strapp, 21. Langan, 22. Armour, 30. McGowan (gk).
Booked: McHugh (52), Forbes (55), Lamie (62), Quitongo (7)
Dumbarton (442): Gallacher; Wardrop, Dowie, Hill, McLaughlin; Walsh (Smith, 86), Barr, Wilson (Gallagher, 77), Roy; Nade, Stewart
Subs not used: Johnston, Prior, Ewings (gk).
Booked: Barr (42), McLaughlin (58), Roy (78).
Referee: Steven Kirkland
Images: David Bell