St Mirren and Morton contested a competitive 1-1 draw during a wet Renfrewshire Derby, the League Cup bonus point going to the Buddies in a 6-5 Paisley penalty shootout.

David Hopkin’s men had held firm in the first half but were breached by Jon Obika’s effort from a corner prior to half-time. They got back level through Ross MacIver’s first touch before the hour mark as St Mirren were pegged back. Penalties would be needed to decide this as Jak Alnwick made sure the extra point stayed with the home team.

St Mirren v Greenock Morton - Betfred Cup

St Mirren and Morton played to a draw. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Group G on paper looked like the trickiest to navigate, a selection of teams who were all full-time. Jim Goodwin’s men knew that a win over their fierce rivals would all but secure their last 16 spot.

The Buddies were on the front foot in the first half as Morton built the barricades. Obika was first to have a go as his short-range effort brought the best out of Ton keeper Aidan McAdams.

He would almost gift Saints a goal though five minutes later in the 29th minute, Kyle McAllister’s free-kick skidding off the slippery surface, McAdams spilling the ball but fortunately gathering.

St Mirren v Greenock Morton - Betfred Cup

A wet evening. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Eventually Hopkin’s men succumbed to pressure. McAllister swung in a teasing free-kick which was hung up for a free Obika at the back stick to bundle into the net. St Mirren had to work for it, but they deserved their half-time lead.

Morton did show signs of life in attack during the early stages of the second 45 as Goodwin’s side started to drop deep, much to the Buddies boss’ frustration. The Ton got their reward too before the hour, a cross into the box put away by Motherwell loanee MacIver, with his first touch from the bench.

This gave the visitors a real boost and they were the only one’s who looked like scoring as the clock ticked down. Josh McPake was almost the next Morton sub to make an instant impact, getting in-behind and firing his effort inches past Alnwick’s post.

St Mirren v Greenock Morton - Betfred Cup

Morton were back level. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

St Mirren meanwhile were reduced to speculative efforts from range. McPake was again going close as Morton pressed hard for a big winner but his effort was deflected over six minutes from time. The Buddies would also have a shot at victory three minutes later, Dylan Connolly’s shot denied by McAdams.

Penalties were needed and it was a horror start for both as Kristian Dennis and Kyle Jacobs missed. Jamie McGrath got scoring underway for the Saints but MacIver responded, Connolly restoring a Buddies advantage.

 

Every player stepping up was cool under pressure as sudden death rolled about. Alnwick would eventually be the Saints hero, stopping McPake’s penalty well to secure a bonus point. Here are three things we learned from the interesting derby meeting.

Contrasting 45’s

Goodwin got a performance that was a continuation of last Friday’s during a 0-0 draw with Dundee United in this first half. St Mirren were in control against a Morton side who had lost 5-0 to Raith Rovers on Saturday.

But the Cappielow men were the much better team during the second half, MacIver getting his first goal in front of parent assistant boss Keith Lasley. If anyone was taking three points, it looked like Morton in the second half.

No fans hits hard

This was the first Renfrewshire Derby since 2018 and undoubtedly would have at least been close to a sell-out had fans been in attendance. Some did make themselves known at the game’s beginning though with an eruption of fireworks.

But overall that derby feeling was understandably missing, despite the players playing out a feisty contest. The absence of supporters has been well-documented this term but here the effects were laid bare.

St. Mirren v Dundee United - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

A quiet (ish) night. (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Wide open

Morton getting the draw after 90 minutes opens this group up in a big way. Current table-toppers Queen of the South have played all their matches, giving Saints, the Ton and Partick Thistle a chance to go top on Saturday.

There are four possible winners of this group heading into the final matchday, the Jags hosting Hopkin’s men whilst St Mirren travel to Queen’s Park.

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