GREENOCK failed to do the double over Shettleston in the space of a fortnight after a below-par performance at Ravenscraig on Saturday.

The game was important to both clubs for different reasons, with Greenock aiming to stay well clear of the relegation zone, whilst Shettleston are very much in the promotion mix.

But in a very subdued first half the match was played in an atmosphere more akin to a meaningless end-of-season affair.

In an opening 45 devoid of any real scoring chances, the best opportunity fell to Kenny Munro in the 6th minute, when a slack cross-field pass by visiting right back Paul Martin looked set to put the Greenock winger through on goal - but Munro lost control of the ball and the chance was gone.

At the other end, home keeper Ryan McWilliams was rarely troubled, with a couple of tame headers and a free-kick from just outside the box about all he had to deal with. However, the second half was a much livelier affair, with more action in the opening 15 minutes than in the entire first half.

Just two minutes in, Munro came inches away from connecting with a Craig Brown cross on the six-yard line.

But it was Shettleston who opened the scoring in the 52nd minute.

Barri Stanton was booked for a foul, and from the resultant free-kick into the box, Shettleston’s centre-half Ross Dickson tumbled under a challenge from David McGarrigle.

Referee Calum Scott pointed to the spot, with Kenny Marshall comfortably beating McWilliams with the penalty to put the visitors ahead. Greenock were still very much in the game, but yet another red card in a season of many put paid to their chances.

This time it was Tam Jamieson, pictured right, who was ordered off, for a stamp on earlier scorer Marshall.

With John Boyd now on as a sub, there were shades of the previous week’s match at Thorniewood, when the veteran striker came on with Greenock a man and a goal down, before battling back to grab a stoppage time winner through Boyd.

But there was to be no fairytale comeback this time, as Shettleston put the issue beyond doubt with a second goal five minutes from time.

To be fair, it was an excellently crafted goal from bustling front-man Scott Anson, who swivelled on the edge of the box before unleashing an unstoppable drive past McWilliams to seal the points.

Greenock now have more than a week to wait before their next league game, when Yoker come to Ravenscraig on Wednesday 6 May. By then they will have a much clearer picture of where they stand in the league table, with a number of teams playing catch up with midweek fixtures tonight and Wednesday, as well as Saturday.

But before their next league fixture, Greenock will be involved in two cup ties, the first of which is an away game against Renfrew in the Central League Cup on Wednesday night, with the game due to go ahead at the now repaired Keanie Park, the home of Johnstone Burgh.

Speaking after Saturday’s game, manager Martin Campbell said: ‘’That was one of our poorest performances of the season. I don’t know if maybe the players think we are safe from relegation, but we are far from it, and all it would take would be for one or two of the teams below us to go on a wee run to drag us back into it.

‘’But hopefully the forthcoming cup games will give us a chance to get back on track and get the spirits lifted.’’ GREENOCK: McWilliams, Orr, Cunning, Jamieson, McGarrigle, Begley, T. Docherty, Stanton (Murray 63), Brown (Boyd 83), Craig, Munro (Scott 83). Subs not used: Doherty, McQuilkin.

l Greenock Juniors are sponsored by SAVEHEAT, and the Lighthouse Bar. Match sponsored by Lawrence Miller.