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Chairman sounds caution as Morton reach summit

FANS of Greenock Morton may have been celebrating reaching the top of the first division on Saturday but chairman Douglas Rae, pictured, sounded a cautionary note on part-time football rather than let thoughts drift to visiting Parkhead and Tynecastle next season.

His stark message, delivered in the match-day programme, came in the wake of dwindling crowds, averaging just 1400, though ironically more than 3000 watched them beat Dunfermline Athletic 4-2 on Saturday.

Rae said: "The question on the lips of all fans at this time is will our club survive the financial meltdown?

"Our club is experiencing worrying deficits every week. Our second division average attendance was 2808. This season our average gate has shrunk below 1400 which makes it impossible for us to be a full-time team. Frankly, there is not a team in the SFL that can currently afford to be full-time.

"This is a worrying position in a year when Allan Moore has assembled a team which is entertaining, winning frequently and who are in a three-way fight to gain entry to the Scottish Premier League."

However, goalscorer Michael Tidser was less downbeat. The midfielder said: "It was an all-round good day for the club. We're glad we're top but this game doesn't decide anything.

"Teams are out to beat you when you're top, but we have shown that we are good enough to compete. Hopefully, we can kick on from here. The confidence is high in the dressing room. We're buzzing."

The same cannot be said for faltering Dunfermline, who have now taken just one point from their past four games, dropping five points behind the leaders.Manager Jim Jefferies said: "That's probably our worst performance of the season. We were second-best all round the pitch and Morton thoroughly deserved their victory. We deserved nothing.

"We need to get back to winning ways."

The Fifers had led through Ryan Thomson before Fouad Bachirou, Peter Weatherson and Michael Tidser gave Morton control at the break. A Ryan Wallace goal threw Dunfermline a lifeline only for Tidser's second to put Morton clear at the top.

Livingston's match with Hamilton Academical was called off but Dumbarton produced the stand-out performance of the day.

The bottom club marked manager Ian Murray's first league game in charge with a 4-3 victory at Falkirk.

The Bairns, seeking a fifth straight league win, looked on course after Lyle Taylor put them ahead but Dumbarton levelled before half-time and stormed 4-1 ahead after the break as Jim Lister and Scott Agnew both scored twice.

Darren Dods was red-carded for the home side and Dumbarton suffered a scare after James Creaney was also sent off and saw Taylor complete his second hat-trick in a week, but the visitors held on.

Cowdenbeath threw away a two-goal lead against Raith Rovers for the third time in two games as the Fife derby ended 2-2 at Stark's Park.

Cowdenbeath, profligate in the 4-4 draw earlier in the season, led through a Lewis Milne strike and Jamie Stevenson's penalty However, Dougie Hill and Greig Spence netted in a second-half fightback by Raith.

It was business as usual in the second division where Queen of the South were comfortable 3-1 winners at Stenhousemuir.

Stewart Kean scored in the final minute for the Ochilview side, but Gavin Reilly's double and one from Nicky Clark proved enough to extend the Dumfries side's advantage to 11 points since Alloa Athletic could only fight out a stalemate at Ayr United.

East Fife were two-up at Station Park before Darren McCormack's red card allowed Forfar Athletic to recover for a 3-2 win.

A controversial last-minute penalty by Steven Doris allowed Arbroath to beat Albion Rovers 2-1 at Gayfield while Brechin City stepped up their promotion push with a 2-0 win at Stranraer.

Home advantage proved crucial in all but one of the games in the third division when Rangers defeated Queen's Park by a single goal. Annan Athletic dented Elgin City's title hopes with a 2-0 win at Galabank and Montrose continued their excellent run with a 3-2 success against Stirling Albion.

Peterhead moved back into the play-off places thanks to a regulation 2-0 win over East Stirlingshire while Clyde went level with Berwick Rangers after beating their visitors 2-1.

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