IT is unlucky for some, but 13 was a more than welcome number for Morton last night as they dismantled amateurs Viewfield Rovers at Cappielow in their Renfrewshire Cup semi-final.

Over the course of the last decade, the Ton have faced the same opposition at this stage of the competition four times and run up some convincing scorelines.

They won 10-1 in 2004, 5-0 in 2007, 11-0 in 2009, and 9-0 in last year’s meeting, but none of those resounding victories were as comfortable as last night’s 13-1 mauling. They set the tone right from the first whistle, with trialist left-back Chris McDonald, a 17-year-old recently released by Rangers, bursting forward and forcing a fine save from keeper Ross Anderson.

It took seven minutes for the hosts to open the scoring, Joe McKee robbing a defender of possession before finding Andy Barrowman with a pin-point cross which he bulleted home from five yards.

The hitman added a second five minutes later when he peeled off the shoulder of the last defender, collected Mark Russell’s threaded through ball and swept a cool finish into the bottom left-corner.

Playing in a more advanced role than the left-back berth he occupied in the first-team last term allowed Russell to demonstrate the direct style that was his hallmark at Under-17 level.

His ability to weave his way through tight spaces was amplified as he exploited the gaping holes in the visitors’ midfield.

One such slaloming run was brought to a shuddering halt 20 yards out and slightly to the left of the box on 25 minutes.

McKee whipped the resultant free-kick around the wall and inside the right post to make it 3-0, deceiving keeper Anderson who expected the ball to go over the wall.

Like Russell, playmaker McKee was proving influential, and he rocked the upright with a crisp left-footed strike on 28 minutes.

After starting in a more advanced position, he seemed to naturally drop deeper to dictate the rhythm of Morton’s play, and it was from there he orchestrated Ton’s fourth goal.

Feeding a slick pass into Barrowman’s feet, he set in motion a move that ended with last year’s Under-17s captain Dylan Stevenson slamming a rising drive into the roof of the net.

Driving in from his starting position on the right-flank, he screamed for Barrowman to ‘leave it’. The experienced striker duly obliged, intelligently stepping over the ball to send Stevenson clear.

McKee then completed his brace on 43 minutes with something of a collector’s edition — a header, which he expertly steered into the top corner after Russell sent in a centre from wide on the left.

Russell’s contribution to the sixth goal right on the stroke of half-time was less direct but would have been equally as satisfying for manager Jim Duffy.

The tireless 18-year-old closed down right-back Steven Turnbull as he attempted to put the ball down the line, and his effort was rewarded as the ball broke kindly for Stefan McCluskey.

McCluskey collected possession and hared in on goal, before unselfishly nudging the ball outside to Barrowman to whip the ball past Anderson to complete his hat-trick.

With his work done for the evening, Barrowman was replaced by David McNeil — still listed as a trialist — while Jordan Cairnie came on for skipper for the evening Thomas O’Ware.

McNeil registered an assist within seven minutes of the restart, picking out McCluskey from the right with a drilled cross after he himself was slipped clear down the inside-right channel by Russell.

McCluskey has looked more of a provider than a finisher in his short time at Morton so far, but he showed real striking instinct to improvise and knock the ball into the net with his thigh.

Before leaving the field on 58 minutes, McKee contributed to the eighth goal when he flashed the ball into the box and saw the cross cleared as far as Cairnie.

The versatile 18-year-old smoothly sidestepped Gary Alexander’s attempt to close him down and placed a firm side-footed finish low to Anderson’s left beyond his despairing dive.

After a season blighted by injury, Reece Hands is easing himself back into action this summer, but he made an instant impact upon replacing McKee last night.

Four minutes after joining the fray, he picked up possession when his corner from the left broke back to him.

Faced with an oncoming opponent, Hands threw in four rapid-fire step-overs to bamboozle the hapless defender before whipping in a low shot that caught out everyone as it found the far corner.

More unfortunate defending saw Ton reach double figures, Zoltan Istvan diverting McNeil’s cut-back into his own net with a touch he knew little about.

Substitute Craig Brown finally gave the visitors something to cheer by thrashing a David Bannerman cross into the net via the post for a consolation goal on 72 minutes.

However, Russell breezed into the box and fired into the net to restore his side’s 10-goal advantage two minutes later.

And he doubled his own tally six minutes from time when he fastened onto Cairnie’s quarterback-like through-ball from inside his own half, strolled round Brown and stroked into an empty net.

Pocket dynamo Jon Scullion put the cherry on the icing on the cake in the final minute with a thunderous rising drive that cracked the crossbar before bouncing down over the line.

It would be short-sighted to hold up this victory against an honest amateur outfit as proof of a great season to come, of course.

But this was a no-win situation, in which a comfortable victory is demanded and anything less seen as failure.

In that respect this largely inexperienced Morton side managed to achieve what was expected of them, and perhaps slightly exceed that with their professionalism and the margin of victory.

At the very least, they have boosted confidence and built more on-field understanding ahead of Saturday’s derby with St Mirren and the upcoming cup matches against Spartans and Berwick.

Morton (4-1-3-2): Caraux (McIntyre, 66); Knight, Irvine, O’Ware © (Cairnie, 46), McDonald [Trialist]; Tennent; Stevenson, McKee (Hands, 58), Russell; Barrowman (McNeil [Trialist], 46), McCluskey (Scullion [Trialist], 63).

Morton scorers: Barrowman (7, 12, 45), McKee (25, 43), Stevenson (38), McCluskey (52), Cairnie (57), Hands (62), Istvan O.G. (68), Russell (72, 84), Scullion (89).

Viewfield Rovers scorer: Brown (70).