Ton last faced the Inverness outfit at Grant Street Park in July 2004 and ran out resounding 6-0 victors that night.

But it was clear from quite early on that there would be no repeat mauling on this occasion, despite the fact the first 45 minutes were played almost exclusively in the hosts’ half of the field.

Clach, in actual fact, created the first real chance when, with just six minutes gone, Daniel MacLennan clipped a clever ball over the top of the Ton defence to release Andrew Fraser.

The impressive former shinty star’s pass sent striker Fraser clean through on goal, but he weakly side-footed a panicked finish straight at Derek Gaston.

Morton quickly seized control of the game, and Ross Forbes went close twice in quick succession, whipping a free-kick just over the crossbar before flashing a fierce drive narrowly wide.

Forbes was operating in a narrow central midfield three alongside Conor Pepper and Michael Tidser, with Bobby Barr stationed wide of them on the left and slightly advanced. Tidser was wearing the armband in his first public top-team appearance since returning to the Cappielow club in January, and he almost marked the occasion with a goal on 24 minutes.

Stefan McCluskey fed him the ball deep inside the box, and the playmaker worked a yard of space before jabbing in a right-footed shot that Clach keeper Ally Ridgers saved low to his right.

Teenage hitman Thomas Orr was rewarded for his Tuesday hat-trick against BSC Glasgow with a second consecutive start.

And he thought he had continued his fine goal-scoring form when he instinctively shot out a leg to divert Tidser’s low drive into the net, but linesman Darren Munro had raised his flag for offside.

Orr then turned creator three minutes later when he drove in off the right flank and picked out McCluskey’s perfectly-timed burst into the box with a clever angled pass.

McCluskey would not have the best of nights in front of goal, though, and scooped a tame effort at goal which Ridgers saved fairly comfortably.

Ton must have had approaching 75 per cent of possession, but despite the chances previously mentioned they didn’t quite click into high gear against their Highland League opponents. Orr passed up two more reasonable chances within the first 11 minutes of the second half, lashing one rushed effort over the top from close range before prodding a Barr cross wide at the far post.

On 63 minutes, Forbes went closer still, cracking the face of the crossbar with a bending free-kick that looped over the wall and shot-stopper Ridgers.

Jim Duffy made a raft of changes at this juncture, and it was sub Jon Scullion who was at the centre of a second Ton offside ‘goal’.

Picking up the ball on the right of the box, the diminutive striker rifled off an angled drive that McCluskey stole in to tap home at the back post.

The former Clyde man appeared to break from behind a defender to apply the finishing touch, but linesman Gavin Dearie’s flag cut short any celebrations.

As in the first half, goal-scoring opportunities had been as rare as a hen’s tooth for the Inverness outfit — until the 69th minute when they were presented with the chance of the match.

Sub keeper Grant Adam got into a muddle with the ball at his feet at the edge of the box and was dispossessed by Michael Grimes.

The Clach midfielder was left with an open goal and seemed certain to roll home, but Under-20s utility man Jordan Cairnie did superbly well to get in a last-ditch challenge to force a panicked finish which trundled wide of the right-hand post.

Buoyed by the opening, the defensively disciplined Highland League side grew more adventurous and fashioned another chance on 81 minutes.

Fraser Robertson burst clear down the left-hand side and pulled back for the inrushing Martin Callum, who slammed a side-footed effort straight down the throat of Adam.

But Ton should have taken the win in the final five minutes when McCluskey was presented with two gilt-edged chances.

On 84 minutes, he demonstrated excellent movement to dart into the six-yard box unnoticed and meet a deep Dylan Stevenson cross from wide on the right. But his finish failed to live up to the approach play as he met the centre with an unconvincing downwards header that bounced down into the grass and up into Ridgers’ grasp.

The 24-year-old was left cursing himself to a group of Ton fans gathered behind the goal a minute later when he failed to convert the final chance of the evening.

Haring clear down the inside-left channel after a measured Mark Russell pass, he collected the ball and arrowed in on goal before pushing his finish beyond Ridgers and the right-hand post.

Ton intensify their preparations when they meet Brora Rangers tomorrow, and a step up in performance will be required against the experienced Highland League champions as they continue their build towards competitive action and the upcoming Championship campaign.

Morton (4-4-1-1): Gaston (Adam, 63); Kilday (Tennent, 71), O’Ware (Cairnie, 63), Lamie, Russell; Tidser © (Stevenson, 76), Pepper (Miller, 76), Forbes (McKee, 68); Barr; McCluskey; Orr (Scullion, 63).