MORTON’S most unusual season continues today as they get set for the novelty of playing a Scottish Cup third round tie in April.

The competition would of course normally be in its latter stages by this point, with semi-finals being played at Hampden.

But the second wave of coronavirus cases and new year decision by the authorities to mothball matches means it is now being condensed at the end of the campaign.

The second round tie Ton should have fulfilled in January was deferred and their reward for their recent 120-minute slog and penalty shootout triumph over Dunfermline is a trip to play their neighbours, League One outfit East Fife.

It means an interruption to the Greenock men’s ongoing fight for Championship survival, with just five league fixtures left.

The first will be played on Tuesday night, the rearranged date against Inverness, and frankly it’s difficult not to let thoughts turn to that one already.

Whether today's cup breather will turn out a good or bad thing remains to be seen.

It could prove to be a morale boosting distraction which helps boost confidence, or it could go the other way and simply prove a hindrance — only time will tell.

Arguably there is an even more important match for Morton happening elsewhere, as Arbroath host Alloa on league duty. While Gus MacPherson is right that his team have to concentrate fully on themselves it is also the case that they have an inescapable interest in events at Gayfield and will be taking a keen interest in the final scoreline from there.

One definite positive of the scheduling is that their cup tie means they’ll know the outcome of the clash between their two relegation rivals before their next league commitment, and if nothing else that should help focus minds for that critically important midweek game against Caley at Cappielow.

Before then they have the cup tie to deal with, and as they are up against opponents from a lower league it is one they should be looking to win.

They fought hard to navigate their way past the Pars and will not want all that hard work to go to waste now when they have a good opportunity to make the fourth round.

The tie means a return to the scene of an unhappy recent memory in this competition, with Darren Young’s men sending them crashing in the fourth round in January 2019, below.

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From that point of view they go into this tie with their eyes open and well warned about the potential pitfalls that await if they do not get things right.

Gary Oliver, Chris Millar and Reece Lyon were all in the squad that day and while it’s unlikely the current dressing room could go into any game with a sense of complacency, it’ll do no harm to have a few survivors around from that embarrassment.

Ton couldn’t be blamed for being sick of the sight of Fife, with this their third visit in four weeks after last Saturday’s defeat against Raith.

McLean says Scottish Cup can be welcome distraction for Morton

It was a disappointing afternoon where they failed to build on a solid first half.

They were organised, pressed well and had a good-looking shape about them, so much so that the normally fluent home side were unable to find a way through.

Almost every time Rovers advanced over the halfway line they met a roadblock and they were clearly becoming frustrated by the interval.

What happened next, from Morton’s point of view, was a big let-down as they dropped off from the word go after half-time.

They were immediately hemmed in and as the scoring chances built up for the hosts an opening goal looked a matter of time — the only surprise was that it took until the 82nd minute for John McGlynn’s men to find the breakthrough.

Rovers are clearly a decent side but all the same Morton showed precious little in the way of possession or attacking threat and they were deservedly punished for their lacklustre performance in the second period.

Today's game will be a different type of test — as the side from a higher league the onus is quite clearly on Morton to stamp their authority on the proceedings.

The men from Methil have had a gruelling week, playing Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday.

For a part-time squad that is a tough shift and Morton surely have to be looking to capitalise. 

Yes the hosts will be fired up and out of the traps determined to cause another upset, but the visitors must look to take the game to them and put them under pressure.

Morton need to get on the front foot and move the ball with pace and purpose — if they can do that then the heavy-legged hosts may find things happening too quickly for them.