MORTON manager Jim Duffy saluted his patched-up squad after they overcame illness and injury last night to post a 1-0 win over Dumbarton.

Duffy’s side extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to six thanks to Thomas O’Ware’s 74th-minute header.

The result has hoisted Ton four points clear of promotion play-off rivals Dunfermline and Queen of the South — but it was by no means an easy victory at the Rock.

It also came at a price, with centre-half Luca Gasparotto being rushed to hospital after suffering breathing difficulties early in the second half.

And goalkeeper Derek Gaston was a late call-off after he succumbed to a virus, resulting in a top team debut for back-up ‘keeper Conor Brennan.

Despite the personnel problems, Duffy’s side dug deep into their reserves to notch a priceless win.

Duffy told Tele Sport: “It’s a magnificent result.

“We started the game a little bit slowly and we changed the shape a little bit but it took the players time to adjust to it.

“And Conor Brennan, who made his debut, made a couple of fantastic saves - one right at the start of the game from [Dimitris] Froxylias and one after that as well.

“In the first 10 to 15 minutes it took us time to adjust but after 20 minutes we settled into the game and started playing a bit after that.

“We created a few chances and I thought the game was pretty even.

“In the second half I thought we were in charge of the game.

“There weren’t many goalmouth incidents, maybe one or two, but obviously Tam’s come up with the goods.

“He’s been a very important player for us at set plays and it was a great ball in and a great header.

“After that, I thought we saw out the game really well.”
Duffy paid tribute to Stevie Aitken’s side for the way they pushed Ton to the limit.

He said: “It was a really difficult game.

“There was plenty of energy from Dumbarton, real pace in the wide areas with [Andrew] Stirling and [Liam] Burt and they were a real threat, so to come and win was outstanding.”

Duffy hopes to get an update on the condition of Gasparotto, pictured, whose night ended prematurely.

He said: “It’s his rib. We don’t know if he’s damaged it but he literally couldn’t breathe.

“We continually seem to be picking up injuries.

“And Derek Gaston wasn’t well, he was ill and couldn’t play.

He didn’t even go out for the warm-up so we wrapped him up. Unfortunately for him he’s got a virus.

“But the boys are showing tremendous resolve to dig out results and 1-0 victories, although not in the prettiest of games. That’s always important.

“And if you can add two or three of them to your points tally at the end of the season then it can be vital.”

Duffy was also pleased to see back-up goalie Brennan come in at short notice and play his part in the win.

He said: “I’m delighted for Conor. It’s his debut and it’s a clean sheet for him — with a couple of outstanding saves, so we’re delighted.”