By Alan Gallacher at St Mirren Park
WITH the season fast approaching Saints posted a performance far from where we would want to be as is possible to imagine.
For their first domestic outing of the pre-season Saints were along fairly familiar lines with only young Sean Kelly at left back, midfielder Gary Harkins and goalkeeper, David Cornell, unrecognisable from those deployed last term. Most importantly perhaps was the return of Darren McGregor after another long lay-off with everyone hoping the defender can stay fit and get back to or near the level he was once at.
Morton for their part were all change. Dougie Imrie was a well-known face as was Joe McKee who both started alongside a flurry of new Cappielow signings from all over Europe.
As was to be expected Morton were well-up for the game and it took Saints fully 10-minutes to prise them visitors open with Steven Thompson sliding wide from close range after Gary Teale’s cross had picked him out.
Saints though were to hit the front soon after. Paul McGowan bamboozled Michael Habai with some nice footwork before chipping a sumptuous finish over the advancing Nicolas Caraux.
The lead was to be short-lived as Saints gift-wrapped Morton the softest of levellers. David van Zanten turned and smashed a clearance off the shins of David O’Brien which flew in past David Cornell into the netting.
With Saints by and large struggling to create much it was Morton who hit the lead a little under 10-minutes from the break. The defence failed to deal with a low ball across the area where new Greenock capture, Kabba-Modou Cham was lurking to force the ball home.
It was hard to grudge the visitors their lead as they had carried more threat, however a moment of defensive madness from Tomas Peciar saw Saints level on the brink of half-time. Peciar was miles short with a backpass and Gary Teale stole in to slot past Caraux.
Half-Time: St Mirren 2-2 Greenock Morton
However any plans hatched at half-time were destroyed seconds after the turnaround. There looked little danger when Reece Hands gathered the ball 35-yards out, but the former Blackburn youngster sent a shot sailing over the hands of Cornell who looked more than a little at fault.
Morton were well on top as they had been for long spells and they doubled their lead on 65-minutes amid more chaos in the Saints defence. Joe McKee was allowed to get the to the byeline and square for Cham who slammed the ball past Cornell.
Saints did try to rally and twice threatened through Steven Thompson. These half-chances aside the home side had nothing to offer.
Full-Time: St Mirren 2-4 Greenock Morton
St Mirren: Cornell, van Zanten (Naismith 37), McAusland, McGregor, Teale, Goodwin, McGinn, Harkins, Thompson, McGowan, Kelly (Reilly 73).
Subs Not Used: Mair, Brady, Yaqub, Dillon, Dilo (GK).
Greenock Morton: Caraux, Taggart, Peciar, Bachirou, Habai, McLaughlin, Imrie, Hands, Cham (Campbell 70), McKee (Wallace 85), O’Brien (Fitzpatrick 63).
Subs Not Used: Knight, Russell, Irvine, Gaston (GK).
Referee: Greg Aitken.
Assistant Referee: Charlie Smith.
Assistant Referee: William Wilson.
Match pictures by Allan Picken – © Allan Picken Photography.