MORTON travel to Dumfries tomorrow desperate for the win which would break their barren run and alleviate some of the pressure that is steadily building upon them with each passing week.

After a first quarter of the season which has seen them collect a meagre six points, they sit only a point off the foot of the Championship, with fans already bracing themselves for what could be a long cold winter.

With only one win so far and goals proving very hard to come by, it's difficult to blame them for that outlook.

The signs at the moment are all pointing towards another relegation battle for the Greenock men unless something changes very soon indeed.

The latest setback for them was last Saturday's 2-0 defeat against league leaders Inverness and if there was a sense of the inevitable about the final outcome, then exactly the same was true of the self-inflicted manner in which it came about.

Once again, Morton contrived to shoot themselves in the foot, with their profligacy at one end of the park matched by some lousy defending at the other.

They have been waiting pretty much all season to go away from home and be able to fashion some clear cut chances and when they finally did manage it, they couldn't take any of them.

At the other end meanwhile, a Boys' Brigade team would have been embarrassed by the opening goal scored on by the hosts' Billy McKay.

From their own corner, and with two men held back on the halfway line, Morton's last line somehow managed to allow a quickly taken speculative goal kick to sail over their heads for McKay to punish with brutal ruthlessness.

It was schoolboy stuff and a stark matter of just why the two sides are separated by almost a full division.

More costly chaotic defending was to follow in the second half, as a game of pinball in the box ended with Michael Gardyne in splendid isolation to easily ram home the second goal.

Finding a way back into the game after that was always going to be difficult - and it's made nigh on impossible when players pass up the kind of glaring opportunity that Gary Oliver somehow headed past the post from close range.

It's not the first time we have seen bad defending at one end and a lack of goalscoring threat at the other and this toxic combination will drag Morton under soon enough if they cannot stamp it out.

All in all it was a troubling afternoon which made you fear for this Morton side and racking your brains as to how they can get out of the rut that they are currently in.

They're an honest hard working group and are doubtless grafting in training to try and put things right, but sooner or later they are going to have to show some tangible signs of improvement and put wins on the board, or confidence and morale will drain away and then the real trouble begins.

They can certainly not afford a second quarter of the campaign as bad as the first and have put themselves under pressure with some of the defeats they have suffered.

You could point to the fact that they have already played the best three sides in the division away from home and that is a mitigating factor in their form figures to some extent, but it does not account for losing at home to tomorrow's opponents, or Raith Rovers.

When you do that, you put yourself in a position where you have to make up ground elsewhere, and that means Morton really need to at least get something on their travels tomorrow.

The old maxim goes that when a team is in a situation like this, it is imperative that they can pick up points from the teams around about them.

It's a well-worn cliche but it has a ring of truth and with Queens just three points ahead of Morton - and having lost even more games than them - the Palmerston Park outfit come into that category.

They are clearly not as strong as the likes of Inverness or Thistle, and it means Ton have to view this game as one where they can begin the process of turning the corner.

The players in Morton's dressing room feel that they are a good bit better than results and the league table would suggest, but now they have to start demonstrating that.

As much as they can work on things collectively to try and remedy their problems, the feeling persists that a lot of it comes down to personal responsibility and the need to raise individual standards right across the park.

They have to cut out the basic mistakes, show bravery and leadership, take better decisions and display the level of competence that has been missing at key moments in almost all of their matches so far.

Getting that elusive win could work wonders, but the only way they are going to get themselves out of this slump is to step things up a gear and show that they can back up the belief they have in themselves.