JONATAN Johansson has told his players they will have to be up to the task when they face a ‘physical and direct’ Ayr United today.

Ton host the Honest Men at Cappielow this afternoon, as they look to get back to winning ways.

The Greenock outfit’s last victory came against league leaders Ross County at the start of 2019.

Since they toppled the Highland side they’ve lost three and drawn one. Johansson hopes they can build on their second half performance against Dundee United a fortnight ago and get the three points against Ian McCall’s team.

He told the Tele: “It’s been a testing January, it gives you time to reflect, and looking back on the Dundee United game, there were a lot of things in the second half, with the new players doing really well. It’s easy to become too negative and not seeing the big


“After the second half against Dundee United there has been a real positive atmosphere around the group and we’re looking forward to the end of the season.

“We’ve got different options now with younger players coming in with hunger and putting competition in the squad.

“Ayr have played well so far. They beat Alloa and Dundee United recently, and before that they had Lawrence Shankland out for a few games and they didn’t score as many goals and they lost a few games, but he’s back scoring goals now.

“They’re a tough team and they play direct, they play well and we did play well against them away from home.

“That was one of our better games in the back five, and we could have easily won that game. It will be a tough and physical game, and it has to be something you have to think about when you’re setting up your team, because they are very physical and direct.”

Former Morton striker Shankland has been a particular thorn in the Ton’s side this season, scoring five goals against them in three games.

The 23-year-old has helped his team inflict two defeats on Morton this season, with the Ton being beaten 5-1 at Cappielow back in September.

It was Morton’s heaviest home defeat in almost five years, and Johansson said it was a real learning curve for him and his side.

He added: “Against Ayr United at home, that was a big wake-up call for me personally.

“We were way too open, we were way too easy to score against.

“That has been my main priority at the beginning, to make us solid, and that’s why we played a back five for so long.

“Shankland has scored almost 30 goals so you can’t dismiss that, but the team around him works really hard.

“They have a dogged 4-4-1-1, they win the ball, the strikers try to hit you on the break, they have good wingers who will take you on one-on-one, and it’s something we need to be wary