Morton boss David Hopkin was not short of praise for Rangers loanee Josh McPake after the Scotland youth international’s Cappielow debut.
The Ton drew 2-2 in their first competitive match of the season against Queen of the South in the League Cup. Neither side could find a winner in 90 minutes with Queen’s winning the penalty shootout and taking the extra point back down to Palmerston.
It was only Morton’s third match in seven months and although the shootout didn’t go in their favour, Ton manager Hopkin was pleased with the overall performance.
Speaking after the game Hopkin praised his team’s effort on the park: “The good thing was when it went to 1-1, we brought it back to 2-1. I thought we should have
kicked on again but fair play to Queen’s, they came at us.
“Two mistakes from us and penalties is a lottery. The first half I thought we did okay for the first 25 minutes. We scored a good goal, but we should’ve scored two or three I thought. Josh McPake’s got to score just before half-time and I think Aidan Nesbitt can square it to Lewis Strapp and before half-time we could have been two or three up.
“Then Allan Johnston changed it and he goes 4-2-4 and that puts us on the back foot, but we gave away two sloppy goals from two passes that I tell players never to play. Everybody gave me everything I wanted but as I said it’s probably the two mistakes that’s cost us.”
Rangers loanee McPake made his debut in Greenock and his manager was impressed with his performance. McPake was Morton’s main attacking outlet when he had the ball at his feet and Hopkin spoke highly of him at the final whistle.
“He gives you something different,” said Hopkin. “You keep forgetting he’s a 19-year-old kid. He gets us up the pitch.
“I thought we’d give him 90 minutes to see how he copes with it because that’s probably his first game for seven months.
“I thought he was excellent. The boy’s got a fantastic chance in football.”
In the build-up to the cup tie Morton had only played two friendlies but Hopkin was delighted to get a first competitive game in over seven months under his belt.
He said: “It’s great to be back. I said that before the game. It’s disappointing when you draw and then lose on penalties, but I think myself, Allan, Morton fans and Queen of the South fans will be delighted that football’s back now.
“Even when you look now that the Premier League has started back, I think there’s three or four games to get your sharpness back. You’re playing competitive games now and it’s surreal when there’s no fans here.
“It’s like reserve games. I tell the players sometimes you have to make your own atmosphere and hopefully you can go and kick on again.”