The reality of relegation hit home for Morton some time ago.
It will announce itself at Cappielow tomorrow night with no more than a knock at the door, the visit of Dumbarton expected to result in confirmation that the Greenock club will be relegated from the SPFL Championship. Their hopes of staying up are on life-support and anything less than a win will result in the plug being pulled.
It remains possible that Morton will put it off for another night but it would be an act of endurance which the club's supporters might no longer have the stomach for, with only a handful making the journey to watch their team against Queen of the South on Saturday. The Greenock side have had their last meal but have been left waiting for the bill.
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A defeat on Saturday would offer few crumbs of comfort; Queens won so comfortably the match might have carried a tog rating. Kenny Shiels intimated that one of his defenders had been blocked off at a corner as Queens went ahead early in the first half, but the Kilmarnock manager was also left to reflect on a performance which had exposed the fragility of his side. A timid attempt to pass out from defence allowed Queens to score a second goal and a third was the result of a square pass.
There were bright moments from Barrie McKay after he was brought on as a substitute but this would have the same effect as the street lights coming on after the curtains are closed. MacKay is a youngster with promise. But he is also a footballer with a contract at Rangers and it is uncertain whether he will be one of the players asked to remain at Cappielow next season, albeit most likely on another loan deal.
"Most of the squad are playing for contracts for next season, whether that's here or somewhere else, so we need to go out and do ourselves proud," added Marc Fitzpatrick, the Morton full-back.
There is some uncertainty about the future of the Queens players too, since they remain among the promotion play-off places. The chance to compete for a place in the top flight is being pursued hungrily by the Dumfries side and not least Gavin Reilly, who scored his 11th goal of the season on Saturday. "I've been working with Billy Dodds in training and he's been brilliant," said the striker.
He's passing down his experience and that's been great, especially to me. We've also got guys like Derek Lyle in the squad and having them around, you are only going to learn and get better."