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Morton inflict first defeat of season on Partick Thistle

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Two first half headers by centre back powerhouses Kevin Rutkiewicz and Mark McLaughlin and a second half breakaway strike from David O’Brien done the trick for Allan Moore’s men, whilst Steven Craig slotted home for the Jags who also had the bulk of the second half play despite Hugh Murray being sent off.

The opening forty-five minutes were an excellent advert for the First Division, watched by an impressive 3,445 fans who packed into Cappielow.

It was the hosts who came closest first as with five minutes in a low Steven Stirling shot was parried by Thistle keeper Scott Fox.

A minute later and this time it was the visitors who were threatening when Aaron Muirhead’s cross from the right was almost touched home by Chris Erskine. He then turned provider setting up Steven Craig but he shot straight at Ton keeper Derek Garston.

And the visitors were made to pay for failing to make the breakthough in the fourteenth minute as the Ton took the lead when Kevin Ritkiewicz powered a header home when he got on the end of Michael Tidser corner.

Four minutes later, the Maryhill men came close to snatching an equaliser, but Erskine was to be denied again by a smart stop from Garston.

However the leveller arrived in the 20th minute, when Steven Craig fired home after getting on the end of an Aaron Muirhead throw-in.

But in an almost carbon copy of their first goal the Greenock men went back in front in the 39th minute. This time it was Mark McLaughlin who headed past a helpless Fox, after getting on the end of another Tidser corner.

With half time approaching Ross Forbes came close to snatching an unlikely leveller when his corner glanced off the left hand post.

With Fifty four minutes on the clock, Jackie McNamara’s half time team talk was thrown into the air as veteran midfielder Hugh Murray received his marching orders after diving into a wreckless challenge with Steven Stirling.

It was Murray’s second caution and referee Des Roache had no option but to send off the Thistle man, whilst the Ton midfielder was stretchered off.

Chances were limited in the second half with both managers taking full advantage of their options on the bench and with four minutes remaining it was one of the Morton substitutes Martin Hardie, who set up David O’Brien to score their third and kill off any realistic chances of their Glaswegian opponents taking anything from the match.

It was a thoroughly deserved victory for the Greenock side, who if they can maintain this form will have a big say in the outcome of the First Division title.

Morton: Garston, Reid, Dyer, Bachirou, Rutkiewicz, McLaughlin, Stirling, Tidser, Weatherson, Campbell, O’Brien

Subs: Graham, Wallace, Naislmith, Hardie, Hutton

Partick Thistle: Fox, O’Donnell, Bannigan, Paton, Muirhead, Archibald, Lawless, Forbes, Craig, Murray, Erskine

Subs: Doolan, Slane, Elliott, Sinclair, Scully

Referee: Des Roache

Attendance: 3445

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