MORTON gaffer David Hopkin has challenged his players to continue their solid defensive displays after seeing them pick up their first point on the road in Saturday's stalemate at Gayfield.

Ton couldn't find a killer touch in the final third against Arbroath - but the Ton manager was delighted with his side's discipline on a cold and wild afternoon on the east coast.

Hopkin is determined to make sure his side are hard to beat and praised their performance which saw them secure their second shutout in a row.

He told the Tele: “It’s pleasing to have our first point on the road this season so early on compared to last year.

“We’ve played five tough games, all of them have been hard, and I thought even in the Dundee game we should’ve come away with something.

“That’s the way we’re going to be, we want to be hard to break down.

"I’ve been saying to the players that if we can keep that work-rate and discipline up then we’ll be hard to play against which is what we’re going to need to be this season, with it being a shortened campaign.

“It was a disciplined performance from the players because we knew we’d be in for a tough game coming up to Gayfield.

“I watched them play against Hearts here and I thought that they were unlucky not to win the game.

“We knew that with the conditions, it would be tough so we decided to go with a bigger midfield to try and combat that with Luca [Colville] and Reece [Lyon] coming in again, and I thought that they were excellent.

“In the second half we had chances to go on and score, Luca’s free-kick was absolutely unbelievable.

“Nine times out of 10 that’s going into the top corner but instead it’s hit the inside of the post and gone back across goal and away and then he’s gone and hit the crossbar from a corner as well.

“It was a game of limited chances, which we knew it was going to be but I don’t think that Aidan [McAdams] has had a save to make.

“I’m delighted with that aspect as we’re not giving teams a lot of clear-cut chances.

“You have to look at where we are in the league and I think we’d have taken that at the start of the season.

“We’ve got all the big boys either below us or round about us so we’re delighted, the players are delighted and I think everyone knows their roles now when they’re playing.

“We’ve had four tough games away from home on the spin and I think that the Raith Rovers game was a blip.

“We’ve come up against three very good sides since and only conceded once and I think we’ve showed in those games what we’re trying to build at the club and that’s keeping clean sheets.”

Hopkin highlighted the significance of academy graduates Reece Lyon and Lewis Strapp racking up a century of first-team appearances between them.

He challenged them to kick on and cement their place in his starting 11.

Hopkin added: “It’s fantastic for Reece Lyon and Lewis Strapp to have made their 50th appearances for the club in the space of a week.

“It’s great that they’ve come through the academy and have made their mark on the first team, taking their chance.

“It comes down to the same thing that I say to every player, they have to work hard because there are players coming in who are the same age as them.

“They have to compete with those players to win their place in the team and I thought Strappy was really disciplined again with his performance, as were the back five who I thought were excellent.”