ONE for sorrow, two for joy, hunners for … relegation?
Ok, so the mystic magpie might be pretty scarce around Greenock parts, but just after half past four on Saturday a flock of gulls swooped down and swirled and screeched around the pitch, seemingly having scented the carcass of Morton's SPFL Championship life lying twitching out on the pitch.
Hamilton Academical had just taken the lead - for the third time - and as their team headed towards SPFL League 1, the home supporters headed for the exits.
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This being Morton, of course, there was still time for a twist. Substitute Garry O'Connor - initially dropped to the bench in favour of Archie Campbell - fired a first-time shot from the edge of the area which deflected past the unfortunate Kevin Cuthbert in the Hamilton goal. The team's tail was up; they had somehow dragged themselves back to parity again.
Only a win would do, though, and as they threw caution to the wind, Hamilton's Louis Longridge - the best player on the park by the mile - took over on the left wing. "I've took it past the boy," he grinned. "I thought he was going to take me down for a penalty, but I've kept my balance, fired it across and Mickael [Antoine-Curier] is there at the right place at the right time …"
It was a splendid performance by the youngster, and Hamilton's dominance of the second half came almost entirely from the tactical switch which shifted Longridge to the left side to come up against Craig Knight, the Morton right-back making his full debut. Two goals - a back-post header and a little cut inside and curl into the far corner from just inside the box - came with the winning late assist.
"He tore the wee boy to pieces," said Alex Neil, the pleased Hamilton manager. "With Louis, he's got so much in his locker, he can go either side, he's got pace, he can shoot, he can score; it's just about decision-making. If he can continue to do that today, he can go and play anywhere."
Morton could take small comfort from another performance in which they matched one of the top sides in the division. Although survival is still mathematically possible, it is not by any other measure. Their first equaliser was a neat far-post curler from Rowan Vine; for their second Marc Fitzpatrick fired in from close range.
"We seem to be getting punished for every mistake," manager Kenny Shiels sighed. "It's just … the sequence of events has been unfortunate. We'll not be doing the lottery tonight, that's for sure."