IT was a perfect, if belated, start to 2011 for Morton on Saturday as they cruised to a 3-0 victory over fellow strugglers Cowdenbeath.
Ton had failed to beat the Blue Brazil on two previous occasions this season, but when David O'Brien opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, it looked like there would only be one winner.
And so it proved as second-half strikes by Allan Jenkins and Brian Graham completed a comfortable afternoon for Allan Moore's men.
Beath came into the match on the back of four consecutive defeats, in which they had scored no goals while conceding 13, and their lack of confidence was apparent as Morton controlled the match from start to finish.
Ton signalled their intent with just 20 seconds on the clock when Grant Evans sent over a deep cross which Graham headed wide at the near post.
They went even closer in the second minute. Evans directed O'Brien's outswinging corner back across goal to unmarked debutant Derek Lyle, who sent a weak header straight at Beath goalkeeper David Hay from six yards.
Graeme Holmes fired over at the near post, while Lyle dragged a shot wide of the upright from 22 yards as Ton piled on the pressure.
At the other end, Greig Stewart sent a crisp effort skidding across the wet surface in the 16th minute, but Colin Stewart was never unduly troubled and watched as the ball ran wide.
Hay was much the busier keeper, however, and was forced into an impressive stop in the 27th minute to parry Michael Tidser's intentionally-sliced drive.
His defence were not doing him any favours, though, and contrived to let Morton in for the opening goal just after the half hour.
The ever-alert Lyle dispossessed Craig Winter wide on the right and instantly picked out O'Brien with a pin-point centre. The wide-man made an acrobatic leap to connect with the cross and send an unorthodox effort looping over Hay and into the far corner to give his side a half-time lead.
Ton began the second 45 in a similar vein and only superb defending from Scott Linton, who flew in ahead of Graham to knock O'Brien's low cross past the post, denied them a second.
Then, less than 60 seconds later, Richie Vaul made an almost identical lunging block to thwart Lyle as the visitors clung on for dear life.
But Ton would not be denied and Jenkins made it 2-0 in the 54th minute when he showed nimble footwork to dance between two players before unleashing a powerful drive which deflected high into the air and dropped into the net behind Hay.
Graham put the result beyond doubt three minutes later. The in-form striker accepted a slide-rule pass from Holmes, beat the offside trap and used the sole of his boot to nonchalantly roll the ball past Hay's flailing arms before tapping the ball into an empty net.
It wasn't until the 67th minute that Cowdenbeath managed their one and only shot on target. John Ferguson crept into the box unnoticed, but found Stewart in unbeatable form as he expertly flipped the striker's drive around the post.
It was then Hay's turn to pull off a strong save of his own, using both hands to bat away Lyle's powerful half-volley in the 68th minute.
In an uneventful final 20 minutes, Ton were content to keep possession and limit their exertion, safe in the knowledge the three points were in the bag.