MORTON play what they fervently hope will be their final home match of the season today as they take on already-relegated Alloa Athletic.

If it proves not to be their final 2020-21 fixture on home turf, that means they will end it in the dreaded play-off slot and could ultimately end up joining tomorrow’s opponents in taking the drop.

It is proving to be a nerve-shredding and uncomfortable end to the season, but in all honesty the campaign had been shaping up like that for some time.

For all that Ton would wish to be a bit higher up in the table, the bottom line is they have not collected enough victories.

But at least they still hold their fate in their own hands.

They know that if they can win their two last matches then irrespective of what happens elsewhere, regardless of all the permutations, they will be safe.

Another positive is that they have shown a significant degree of improvement in recent weeks and are hopefully peaking at just the right moment.

The alternative doesn’t really bear thinking about, given all the potential ramifications, especially with the club on the cusp of a change of ownership for the first time in 20 years and a historic community takeover.

It says it all about the second tier of Scottish football that the battle to avoid the play-off involves no fewer than four sides with only two games to go.

Queen of the South in sixth probably felt they had done enough for another year but they are not yet out of reach of the other protagonists in this dogfight.

Ayr United have meanwhile been left shellshocked by a 4-0 drubbing by rivals Arbroath and are under pressure to respond, while Morton have been battling on gamely but have as yet found the wins they need elusive.

It seems certain to go to the wire and Ton simply have to deliver a victory today if they are to keep their heads above water.

If there was a fixture they could have hand-picked in this scenario then surely it would have been Alloa at home.

The Wasps have had a torrid season which was capped last Saturday as relegation was officially confirmed in a 2-1 defeat to Raith.

Their goalkeeper Neil Parry was sent off, they are parting company with manager Peter Grant and their squad is now likely to break up.

While today's game is a disconsolate dead rubber for them, the stakes are massive for Morton.

Elsewhere, Ayr will be entertaining Queens, meaning that one or both will spill points.

Arbroath meanwhile make the trip to Dunfermline to face a side desperate for points to serve their own agenda and secure a promotion play-off place.

Morton simply have to take advantage of whatever damage is done elsewhere — and if they cannot produce a victory in their hour of need against a club doomed to the drop then there can be no excuses.

They go into this vital game off the back of three good performances in a row.

Gus MacPherson’s men were unlucky not to hang on for a victory at Dens Park, below, and they followed that up with a 120-minute marathon against Motherwell in the Scottish Cup which couldn’t separate the sides.

Aidan Nesbitt

Aidan Nesbitt

It was an evening where Ton looked as assured as they have been in a long time — calm and comfortable in possession, resolute at the back and showing tremendous character to bounce back from a cruel last minute goal to equalise in added time and force penalty kicks.

They carried on in the same vein against Hearts on Tuesday, delivering an excellent performance against the champions where they had the better of the play and the chances created.

We will not know for another week if the 0-0 draw was a missed opportunity or the priceless point that could end up making all the difference.

While all three performances give great encouragement that the Greenock men can get the job done and consolidate their status, the obvious issue is that the 300 minutes of football yielded just two goals.

Picture gallery: Morton 0 Hearts 0

That has been the problem all season — what Ton would give for the dam bursting this afternoon with an early opener and an emphatic win which would put them into a stronger position and boost confidence ahead of the visit to Gayfield.

If it seems outlandish to even talk of a winning margin then don’t forget the goal difference column on that league table — it could yet come into play.

But first and foremost Morton have to take the opportunity they have and ensure a win at all costs.