JIM McAlister today issued a stark warning to the rest of his Morton team-mates — improve urgently or face damaging your future careers.

The Ton club captain says it was ‘alarming’ that his side conceded another set-piece goal to Inverness Caley Thistle at the weekend.

Morton slipped down to seventh place in the Championship as a result and now they face Queen of the South tonight.

The Ton then have a quick turnaround to host Falkirk on Friday night, with the Bairns just five points off Morton, and currently in the relegation play-off spot.

McAlister, who has suffered relegation with Hamilton Accies, Dundee and Blackpool, says the Ton must improve quickly, or he and his squad face damaging their prospects in football.

He told the Tele: “We were going over it in the dressing room after the game.

“Even in the last few games it’s alarming.

“Boys are given instructions before they go out onto the field, stop your man from scoring and take pride in stopping him, and unfortunately for one reason or another one or two players switch off. I’ve said many times this season how important the first goals are in these types of games, and that’s how we’ve found ourselves a goal down.

“It’s got to be a bit of personal pride for players, go out and win your individual battles, take pride in bettering the man you’re playing against.

“If seven or eight of you win your individual battles nine times out of 10 you’ll win a game. That’s a given, that’s the way football operates.

“It boils down to pride.

“You don’t want a relegation on your CV at the end of the day. I’ve been there before and it’s not nice. Where do players’ careers go from there?

“Folk have got to look at the long-term picture and react very, very quickly.”

But the midfielder stopped short of saying Ton are looking over their shoulders just yet at teams behind them in the table, insisting that is a dangerous mindset to get into.

He added: “When you start doing that things go downhill quickly, in football you need to remain positive all the time, and do things as a squad.”

Tonight’s opponents Queen of the South are level on points with the Ton and have also hit a rough patch recently.

Morton got the better of the Doonhamers last time out, with Reece Lyon scoring a dramatic late winner at Palmerston to seal all three points back in October.

The players were in training the day after the Caley Thistle defeat and yesterday, and 33-year-old McAlister says this is an ideal time to turn around Morton’s fortunes.

He said: “We’re fortunate enough that we’ve got a game very quickly.

“We can’t rest now, and that will allow the boys to get going again and prepare for the game tonight.”