GUS MacPherson says Morton were forced to play their Premier Sports Cup tie against medical guidelines after having to field youngsters who had only trained for ONE day.

With his squad ravaged by Covid-19, the Ton manager had no option but to give first-team debuts to teenagers Alex King and Lewis McGregor against East Kilbride, with fellow academy youngsters Ross Taylor, Sean McLeod, Reegan Aitken and Josh Cooper making up the bench.

The Ton manager watched the penalty shoot-out win over the Lowland League outfit at home on Tuesday while carrying out a period of self-isolation.

MacPherson says the authorities shouldn't have backed the club into a corner with the Ton colts unable to properly prepare for the Group G clash.

He told the Tele: “The start to the season has been severely disrupted.

"We’re forced to play a game in very difficult circumstances and that’s the part that the players have to take the positives from.

"It then becomes that fitness exercise for the main part of the group and it will stand them in good stead.

“The pleasing thing for me was the performance of the younger players because these boys have done very little, they had trained one day.

“I think even probably the powers that be, their medical guidance is that that shouldn’t happen.

“Those players should be built up to a level of fitness before you throw them into a game.

“They’re young boys and their raw enthusiasm will get them through the game.

“It probably goes against the guidelines that were put in place but it’s what we were forced to do and they did a great job for us.

“You’ve got to give credit to the senior first team players as well as the ones coming through from the youth academy because they are the ones who have been challenged in the circumstances.

“The younger players have had to come in and they’ve done a job for us, but we cannot get away from the fact that the senior players are the most important at the moment and it cannot be forgotten about.

“There's a few of them in the group who hadn’t played at Cappielow with us before and again, that gets them a bit more accustomed to their surroundings as well."

The Ton manager praised goalkeeper Jack Hamilton who provided a great double save as well as a crucial stop in the penalty shootout victory.

He believes that the 27-year-old, as well as Michael Ledger and summer arrival Alan Lithgow, helped give a base for the youth stars to go and express themselves against a well-experienced East Kilbride side.

He said: “It was a really solid debut from Jack. He's an experienced goalkeeper who gives us that assurance at the back.

“I think Alan Lithgow and Michael Ledger did very well in front of him and they limited East Kilbride to very few clear-cut opportunities, but there was a foundation there and that comes from the senior players within the group.

“There were seven or eight in there on Tuesday night and that gives you the foundation for the younger players to go in and do what they have to do for us."