JIM McAlister says Morton players must learn from their mauling against Dundee United if they are to be a success in the Championship.

The skipper admitted they shot themselves in the foot by conceding twice early on as Lawrence Shankland’s brace put the hosts on easy street.

Ton conceded after just 57 seconds as Shankland crept in at the back post to hammer the ball into the bottom right corner.

The on-form striker then effectively put the game to bed just four minutes later which left Ton skipper McAlister lamenting his side’s slow start.

He told the Tele: “It’s a harsh lesson for us to learn, especially after the last two defensive performances at Queens, even though we lost, and against


“We emphasised during the week how they would come out the traps early and we find ourselves 2-0 down after five minutes.

“We recovered well and settled down a bit but then we shot ourselves in the foot.

“If we go into half-time at 2-0 we know there’s a slight chance, but we conceded another sloppy goal going back to the way it was against Inverness and it’s so frustrating to see.

“Every game in this league is tough and we’ve learned that you need to grow up quickly in this league regardless of who you’re playing.

“It’s a steep learning curve for us and it shows that you either sink or swim against these sides.

“We’ve got a good bunch of boys in the dressing room and we’ll rally round to get a reaction with a good week’s training next week.

“It’s two mistakes that put us in this position, obviously Pete [Peter Grant] has hit an air shot for the first one, but others have let him get into that position unmarked.

“It’s just frustrating because we’d started to turn a corner with our performances over the last few weeks.

“We’ve actually started defending properly in recent weeks but that’s obviously been undone.

“It’s a really big learning curve for us because you want to come with an extra point to prove.”

McAlister admits that Saturday’s result puts a lot of significance on this weekend’s home clash against Dunfermline if the Ton want to challenge for a play-off position.

He added: “Our home form is obviously the complete opposite of our away form.

“That’s something we need to use to keep challenging ourselves, to keep going at home and keep picking up maximum points.

“We need to put this on the back burner pretty quickly and I’m sure we’ll analyse the performance to see where we went wrong, but we’ll need a good week’s training for next week.”