MORTON manager Jonatan Johansson has challenged his players to go out and prove themselves against table-toppers Ayr United today.

Ian McCall’s side are sitting clear in first place of the Championship, and are this season’s surprise package after being promoted from League One last term.

They haven’t lost a game at Somerset Park this campaign, with former Ton striker Lawrence Shankland leading the way for the Honest Men.

The forward has found the back of the net 21 times in 20 appearances so far this season, with five of those coming against the Ton in two games.

Morton have been beaten convincingly by Ayr twice, losing 3-1 in the Betfred Cup then 5-1 at Cappielow in the league back in September.

After Morton’s indifferent form in recent weeks, where they have gone from looking like a good side to then completing collapsing in some fixtures, the Finn wants his players to perform more consistently on a regular basis.

He told the Tele: “It’s a tough game and we have a lot to prove to them and to ourselves after our last home game against them. 

“It’s a chance for all the players to prove they can do much better than last time.

“It’s also about us showing we can do it on a consistent basis. I’ve seen some really good performances from us and some poor ones as well.

“For me the concentration between now and January will be key, and help make us more solid. We need to find that level of consistency that we don’t have yet.”

The Ton manager made his first move on the transfer front this week since become Ton boss back in September, extending Dundee defender Kerr Waddell’s loan with the Cappielow outfit until the end of the season.

The former Rangers and Finland assistant manager said the deal was a ‘no-brainer’ for the club.

He added: “I’m really pleased to do it this early. He’s a good character and a good old-fashioned defender, he loves to defend, head the ball and he’s aggressive.

“He’s only 20 and I enjoy working with him, there’s a lot of room for improvement and being 20 he’s quite experienced having played in the Premiership.

“I was keen to do it before the Scottish Cup game next week so we could use him in that.

“When the opportunity came, if you’ve seen us play recently it was a no-brainer for us.”

The future of the club’s other two loanees, Ross MacLean and Scott Tiffoney, remain uncertain.

MacLean is on a season-long deal from Motherwell, but both Morton and the Well can end the deal in January if they desire, and Tiffoney’s current contract is until January.

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson was at Cappielow this week, watching his reserve team take on the Ton’s second string on Monday.

Johansson spoke to his counterpart at length during the game, but said there was nothing new to add at this stage.

He added: “I have a very good relationship with Motherwell and we spoke at length about a lot of things, and it’s one we’ll have to wait and see, as it’s in the parent club’s hands.

“It’s a similar situation with Tiffoney, we speak to Livingston quite a lot and you have to respect the confidentiality between the clubs and what we speak about.

“Decisions on both those players will hopefully become clearer in the next few weeks.”