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Morton 3 Dumbarton 0: Shiels' men win stay of execution

MORTON boosted their paltry home record last night with an excellent performance, staving off the inevitable drop to League One while damaging Dumbarton's hopes of reaching the play-offs.

A year ago, Morton were playing in front of 9000 fans at Firhill in a winner-takes-all match for promotion to the Premiership. Last night, just 826 souls turned up to watch Kenny Shiels' side record only their third home win of the season.

And for those disgruntled fans who would demand change at the club, there was a stark message in the programme notes from the chairman and owner Douglas Rae.

"If there are any fans out there who think that they could do better then I suggest they put their money where their mouths are and come in, pay off the debt, pay for acquiring the club and also purchase the Morton shares that my company purchased.

"If supporters want me out then I am prepared to go, but they will need to raise over £1m per season to pay for the present level of rewarding players plus all the other costs which are applicable to running a football club."

Rowan Vine headed the opener in 13 minutes and the lead was doubled seven minutes from the break when Thomas O'Ware flicked the ball into the net from a free-kick after Hugh Murray barged into Vine. Barrie McKay added a third 12 minutes after the restart with a fine solo effort, running from the halfway line to score from 15 yards.

"It's the first time the outcome has matched the performance," said Shiels. "We got the breaks at the right time. There is a big rebuilding job for the third tier and I have already targeted players and spoken to managers and agents in England. I'm here for the long haul to develop the club and get them back up

"A lot of things have to be addressed at this club and take things to the next level, and I'm the person to do that. We're going down to come back up again. Everyone needs to take a good look at themselves and that's a big thing for me."

Dejected Dumbarton manageer Ian Murray said: "We didn't deserve anything out of that, we didn't create anything and were a yard off the pace. A few of them were tired, but even then it still wasn't acceptable. I didn't see anything that suggested we were a Champonship team let alone a team going for the play-offs. Obviously we are still in there but it has made it more difficult."

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