By Blair McNally
Morton legend Jim McAllister has hung up his boots but Arbroath didn’t give him the perfect send-off as the Ton were defeated 1-0 at home by Dick Campbell’s side.
The first chance of the match fell to the visitors eight minutes in. Bobby Linn found himself in space on the edge of the box, unleashing a venomous strike, forcing Aidan McAdams into a flying save. Soon after Morton started to pick up the pace, creating numerous chances but found no end product.
With 10 minutes until half time, a lovely Arbroath interchange on the left-hand side resulted in a looping header being cleared off the line by Morton defender Brian McLean, denying Jack Hamilton a debut goal following his Gayfield arrival this week.
Minutes before half time and the Morton bench were off their seats as Craig McGuffie attempted an audacious overhead kick but former Ton keeper Derek Gaston was equal to it. The home side started the better of the pair in the second half.
The Arbroath bench were left thrilled with 15 minutes to go as loan signing from Livingston Hamilton provided instant reward with a deserved goal on his debut. A marauding Jason Thomson ran down the right hand side ended in a cross, deflecting up and over the Morton defence, leaving Hamilton to steer the ball with his head into the bottom left corner.
This goal ultimately proved the difference as Arbroath held on to comfortably take three crucial points back to Gayfield. Morton will need to regroup as they go through this phase of rebuilding with the announcement of two key departures in their club captain and chief executive Dave MacKinnon this week. Here are three things we learned.
Fans are evidently missing
A day like this should have been one to remember for Morton man McAllister, with a packed stadium giving him the goodbye he well and truly deserves after years of service to the Ton.
An emotional day for everyone involved with the club, Jim goes with with everyone’s best wishes, despite having no fans in attendance to cheer him off.
With the pitch recovering from the icy conditions of January, it was always going to be a bumpy ride for the ball. At this level though, both teams should have the mentality to settle down and play some football. A lack of patience and a wave of nervousness meant there was limited chances for both sides but Hamilton was the difference maker.
Rab Douglas on the Arbroath coaching staff seems to be making the world of difference for the Red Litchies. Similar to David Martindale’s approach at Livingston, Douglas uses his experience and expertise to spur on the side, constantly pressuring individuals to do better and produce to the best of their ability.
Tam O’Brien continues to look extremely confident at the back with Bobby Linn showing experience and energy up front.
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