Morton 2-1 Berwick Rangers

Red card: Paul Currie
Red card: Paul Currie

Berwick bowed out of the Scottish League Cup at the first hurdle when they were beaten by Morton at Cappielow.

It was always going to be a tough ask against the first division side - they also play them in the Challenge Cup second round - and it was a Joe McKee double strike which led to their downfall.

The game swung around a dramatic spell of just over a minute in the second half, when Morton scored their match-winning second goal, immediately after Rangers had equalised from the penalty spot.

A McKee goal separated the sides at half-time, but Berwick hauled themselves level after 63 minutes, Lee Currie firing home from the penalty spot after a handball in the box.

But straight from the re-start Morton went upfield and McKee struck for his second to win the game.

With player-manager Colin Cameron ruling himself out with sore ribs, Lee Currie, who had been suspended for last week’s opening Challenge Cup win over Queen’s Park, returned to the starting line-up, whilst new signing Dean Horribine was on the bench. Scott Dalziel was preferred up front ahead of Andy Russell.

Early in the first half Berwick keeper Billy Bald had to make a good save to deny Sean Crighton from a header. And three minutes later the visiting stopper had to be alert again, preventing Joe McKee, who found himself in a one-on-one situation after a sweeping move up the pitch.

After quarter of an hour Bald was at it again, saving in the top corner from a long range effort by Thomas O’Ware.

As Morton continued to make all the early running a McKee shot from outside the box was blocked by the Berwick defence, and it wasn’t until the 22nd minute that Rangers threatened when Paul Wilis headed wide.

But the Greenock side were in the ascendency and it came as no surprise when McKee put the home side in front after 27 minutes, finding the net from outside the box after being set up by Conor Pepper.

Bald saved again from O’Ware after half an hour, whilst at the other end, just a minute later, Willis shot wide.

With the first division side enjoying the lion’s share of the chances, Berwick were probably quite happy to get to the interval at only 1-0 down.

In a positive start to the second half, Darren Lavery was unlucky when he saw a low shot from outside the box clip a Morton post.

Fullback Devon Jacobs then saw a shot from distance saved in a central position by Nicolas Caraux and as Rangers tried desperately to force their way back into contention, Lee Currie saw a shot from outside the box blocked.

In the 63rd minute Berwick got themselves back on level terms when Lee Currie converted from the penalty spot after Stefan McCluskey handled in the box, but straight from the re-start Morton re-took the lead when McKee shot home for his second goal from inside the box after being set up by O’Ware.

Both sides made substitutions in an attempt to see the game out, but Berwick were further hampered when they were reduced to ten men, Paul Currie being shown a straight red card for a foul in the 86th minute.

Right at the death McKee went in search of his hat-trick but his shot was wide and high.

Morton: Caraux, Kilday, Lamie, Crighton, S McCluskey, Miller, McKee, Hands (J McCluskey 65), Russell (Allan 75), Pepper (O’Neill 83), O’Ware

Berwick: Bald, Jacobs (Russell 64), Maxwell, Notman, Fairbairn, Tulloch, Willis (Hoskins 75), P Currie, Dalziel (Gold 65), L Currie, Lavery.

Referee: Calum Murray

Attendance: 931