December 23, 2023
The season’s third meeting between Airdrie and Morton was more damp squib than Christmas cracker as the sides served up a dull 0-0 draw in miserable conditions at the Excelsior.
Striker Gabby McGill returned to the Airdrie starting line-up, with Craig Watson making way in the only change to the side which lost at Ayr last weekend.
The Diamonds were first to threaten, Mason Hancock hitting the bye-line and crossing for McGill to nod on to Calum Gallagher, but the striker slipped. Charlie Telfer kept the ball alive, and only a last-ditch block at the near post stopped McGill opening the scoring.
Morton’s first chance came through defender Darragh O’Connor, who headed a sixth-minute free kick delivery wide of the target.
Gallagher looked to be through on goal five minutes later as he chased a superb kick from goalkeeper Josh Rae, but opposite number Ryan Mullen got out to clear the danger.
Captain Adam Frizzell stabbed an effort wide of the post on 15 minutes after Telfer’s initial cross was blocked, and Gallagher saw an effort blocked nine minutes later before sending a strike fizzing over the bar from McGill’s pass.
A tackle in the middle saw the ball break in Morton’s favour on 26 minute, with Rhys McCabe timing his sliding interception perfectly to prevent a one-one-one situation.
There was no further action of note as a turgid first half limped to an end.
It took until ten minutes into the second half for a shot on target to materialise, Gallagher failing to connect properly as he found space, which allowed Mullen to get down and smother the ball.
Double changes for both sides did little to improve the quality on display, but Rae had to react to keep out Lewis Strapp’s 63rd-minute effort before a nice passing move around the Diamonds box was only halted by some alert defending from Hancock.
The Englishman was impressing going forward as well as at the back, and a tempting cross from the left on the 76th minute was just out of reach of substitute Nikolay Todorov and Josh O’Connor.
Morton sub Jack Bearne should have done better after a clever touch took him past Hancock a minute later, but he got his shot all wrong and it veered away from goal. When the former Liverpool player found himself in a similar position shortly after, Hancock ensured there was no way through to goal.
Former Morton man Lewis McGregor joined the fray, and almost repeated his goalscoring feat from the first meeting of the sides, bursting through with ten minutes remaining only to see his shot brilliantly blocked.
The Diamonds had two penalty claims in the last five minutes, McGregor’s on 85 was somewhat hopeful, but Frizzell had a stronger case two minutes later as a barge sent him sprawling after playing a neat one-two to get into the box. Referee Willie Collum waved play on.
A Morton corner in stoppage-time was nodded over the bar, and the referee called time on an uninspiring match.
With draws all across the Championship card, it’s as you were as we head into Christmas and look forward to a trip to Hampden Park to close out the year.
Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.
Photos © Redacted Media. Click to view full-size.