We gave an outstanding account of ourselves

Jim Duffy was disappointed to exit the William Hill Scottish Cup at Rangers on Sunday – but was also proud of his players for giving what he described as an ‘outstanding account of themselves’.

Morton went ahead in Sunday’s fifth round tie at Ibrox when Michael Tidser volleyed home inside the first seven minutes.

But goals from veteran former Scotland striker Kenny Miller and Martyn Waghorn turned the match on its head and booked the Gers’ place in the quarter-finals of the competition with a 2-1 win.

Ton boss Duffy said there was a sense of frustration due to simple fact they had exited the cup but it was tempered by a feeling they had done themselves justice with their display on the day.

Speaking exclusively to gmfc.net, he said: “I’m just disappointed we didn’t capitalise on our early play a little bit more. It was quiet in the dressing room after it and I liked that.

“Because it showed how disappointed we were. Sometimes you can come Ibrox and a lot of teams will have lost 2-1 and thought: ‘That’s not bad.’ But our boys are gutted in there and that’s a good sign.

“I thought we started really well and scored an outstanding goal from Michael Tidser. The first goal we gave away was a poor goal from a defensive point of view, but we held it together well in the first half.

“In the second half, Rangers scored and then for 15 minutes after that we were a bit ragged. Rangers really upped the tempo and moved the ball much quicker because of course they got confidence from that.

“But once we got confidence from that, I thought in the last 15 minutes we were in the ascendancy and we had two fantastic chances to get an equaliser.

“Overall, I’m disappointed but I think the performance was a terrific performance and there is a lot the players can take from playing Rangers at Ibrox.

“With the spotlight that has been surrounding Rangers this week, I thought the players handled it really well. I think Rangers were galvanised; there was definitely a more positive atmosphere, which you could sense.

“And if you look at Rangers they did change it a little bit. They put a lot of corners in when a lot of time they take short corners or short free-kicks, so they were getting a lot of balls into the box.

“They also went 4-4-2 at the end as well with [Michael] O’Halloran going wide and [Martyn] Waghorn and [Kenny] Miller going up top, which is unlike them.

“But from our point of view, it didn’t give us too many problems that way. Gats [Derek Gaston] had a couple of good saves and a couple of good blocks.

“But generally speaking we had the two clearest cut chances of the game. That’s the difference sometimes, that little bit of composure to take those opportunities.

“If you look at it over the 90 minutes I think we gave an outstanding account of ourselves. We put so much into the game and played well. We had a terrific support there today and they were rightfully proud of the players

“We take the result as a disappointment and we congratulate Rangers as you do. They’re in the quarter-finals and good luck to them.”

Stopgap strikeforce … Michael Tidser and Aidan Nesbitt combined to open the scoring                © David Bell

With Gary Oliver, Jai Quitongo, Lawrence Shankland, who was cup-tied, all unavailable, and Kudus Oyenuga still short of match fitness, Duffy had limited attacking options.

The Cappielow gaffer decided to deploy Tidser in an attacking-midfield role behind Celtic loanee Aidan Nesbitt, and he was more than satisfied with how the pairing worked.

He added: “We thought that Michael’s ability and awareness of what’s round about him and the fact he’s a really fit lad. You’ve got to have that to press the game.

“I wanted Michael to hit it. When you see it dropping down, you think: ‘Go on, hit it.’ If it goes into row z, it goes into row z. I’ve not got a problem [with that].

“His goal was a fantastic finish. Composure and technically very good. It was a great start for us and gave all the players a lift.

“I thought he had a terrific performance. I thought him and Nizzy did really well together, and we really used have used Nizzy a little bit more, but I felt we didn’t play the ball early enough to him.

“I felt every time he got it, he could have been a threat and we could have played the percentage pass into Nizzy a little bit more.

“But considering we didn’t have a natural striker in the team and we still had three or four really good opportunities to score and scored an outstanding goal, the players should take a lot of credit.”


Image: David Bell