Samuel proud of Spartans after narrow Morton defeat

Spartans manager Dougie Samuels. Photograph: Steven Scott Taylor
Spartans manager Dougie Samuels. Photograph: Steven Scott Taylor
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Spartans manager Dougie Samuel was proud of his players performance following their narrow 1-0 defeat by League One side Morton at Cappielow in the first round of the Petrofac Training Cup.

A goal by David McNeil in the first half was the only difference between the two sides, with the Ainslie Park side missing four key players in Errol Douglas, Iain Thomson, John Grant and Kevin Motion.

“I’m really proud of our performance today and it says a lot that we are all feeling really disappointed that we couldn’t find that goal to at least take the tie into extra time,” said Samuel.

“We started the game nervously, but I think we had by far the better chances in the second half and think we made a good account of ourselves today.”

The hosts started strongest and Andy Barrowman forced Kevin Swain into a superb reaction save after just two minutes.

Spartans had Craig Stevenson to thank for keeping the scores level when he cleared a McNeil shot off the line following a long throw into the box.

McNeil, however, eventually opened the scoring in the 26th minute, placing the ball into the net from 10 yards out.

Michael Herd had an excellent chance to pull the Lowland League champions level, but his shot from 10 yards out lacked power and was easily held.

Spartans started the second half with intent and Michael Herd fired just wide from 12 yards out after just 11 seconds following neat link up play with Donal Henretty.

Willie Bremner was next to have a chance for an equaliser, but he fired Jack Beesley’s cross just over the bar.

Spartans piled on the pressure in the closing stages, but the Morton defence stood strong.

Morton: Gatson, Kilday, Lamie, Miller, O’Ware, Milojevic, McKee, O’Neil (Stevenson), Barrowman (Allan), McNeil (Scullion), Russell Unused: Hands, Knight, Caraux.

Spartans: Swain, O’Donnell (MacKinnon), Cennerazzo, Sivewright, Bruce, Stevenson, Beesley, Muhsin (McLeod), Henretty, Herd, Bremner Unused: McWhirter, Atkinson, Hunter, Gilpin.