MORTON'S toughest test of the season so far awaits as they make the long trip to the Highlands tomorrow to meet Inverness.

As they complete the first quarter of the season, Gus MacPherson and his men will be facing the Championship league leaders who have made a terrific start to the campaign.

Caley have racked up six wins and a draw and tasted defeat just once, leaving them three points clear at the top of the table.

They will now look to complete the first round of matches by at least maintaining their lead over nearest rivals Kilmarnock and will go in as heavy favourites to overcome a Morton side which has struggled thus far.

With only a solitary win to their name, Ton lie second bottom and they trail their opponents by 13 points already.

They have however steadied the ship somewhat in recent weeks with two draws in the league - against Ayr and Arbroath - followed by the penalty shootout victory over Montrose which carried them into the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup.

But tomorrow's fixture represents a different scale of challenge.

If they want to get anything out of their trip up the A9 they are going to have hit a new gear and produce a level of performance they have not found until now.

In their last league outing there were some encouraging signs for the Greenock men, with the 2-2 draw against Arbroath a game which could easily have seen them collect all three points.

They were hampered by the early loss of striker Gozie Ugwu, inset, to injury and unable to find much of a rhythm in a first half where they conceded a goal just before the break.

It would have been easy for their heads to go down but they showed commendable spirit and no shortage of quality in a second half where they turned the game on its head only to then be denied by a controversial late penalty kick.

A quickfire Gary Oliver leveller, pictured, seemed to lift their confidence and when Cameron Blues added a fine second goal a few minutes later the home side looked well on their way to a win against opponents who'd been in impressive form.

It was not to be, with the concession of a debatable late spot kick leaving them forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

If that was harsh then at least there were some encouraging signs, especially during the second period.

Centre back Oisin McEntee was the man who fell foul of the referee at the late penalty, but that aside it was a promising display from the on loan Newcastle United centre back.

He looks to have all the raw materials to succeed during his formative spell in Scotland and by learning every week it's likely he will only get better.

Fellow loanee Jakko Oksanen was once again the main man in the middle of the pitch.

The little Finn has a touch of class and composure and always appears to have more time on the ball than others to pick a pass.

As the weeks go by his capture from Brentford looks to be more and more of a coup and Ton will surely already be trying to reach an agreement to extend his temporary transfer beyond January.

Another key figure in the turnaround was substitute Mark Russell, who has been something of a forgotten man since coming back to the club in the summer after three years away and was excellent as he gave everyone a reminder of what he can do.

An experienced performer at this level, Russell has a trick in his locker and with his quick feet, technique and ability to go past a man he brings something different to a squad which has, to be frank, lacked creativity for some time.

He got another 70 minutes under his belt at Links Park last weekend and that will do him no harm as he looks to re-establish himself in the side.

Another player who will take heart from the last couple of weeks is young striker Jimmy Knowles.

He has been frustrated sitting on the sidelines but was thrust into the action early against Arbroath, improved as the game went on and then with all the changes he got a start last week which should help him kick on.

With Oksanen and McEntee back from international duty, MacPherson will shuffle the pack again at the Caledonian Stadium and there could be other changes as well, with Billy Dodds' men a whole different proposition to the Gable Endies.

It was a summer of transition for Caley and new boss Dodds must be delighted with the way his newly-assembled squad have acquitted themselves.

They will go into this game off the back of a victory over Elgin in the cup, but in their previous league fixture they came a cropper at Hamilton, who notably had to contend with being a man light for 60 minutes.

That result ended the Jags' unbeaten start and it shows they have limitations.

But back at home they'll be keen to get on track again quickly and confirm a formbook which shows a considerable gulf between the two clubs in the table, so there is no doubt Morton are facing a stern examination.