MORTON'S torrid Championship campaign mercifully takes a break tomorrow for the first of two cup ties at Cappielow in successive weeks.

The Greenock men are preparing to host Airdrie in the quarter finals of the SPFL Trust Trophy, as they continue their bid towards what would be a first 'Challenge Cup' final since 1992.

The game will be followed next Saturday by the opening of their Scottish Cup campaign, when Bo'ness United head for the Tail of the Bank for a third round clash.

It's fair to say the two competitions enter the fray as a welcome distraction at the moment.

Beleaguered Ton badly need a break from the rigours of the league, as they sit bottom of the table and are now four points adrift following last Saturday's loss to Partick Thistle.

It was their third successive 2-1 defeat as they continue to struggle along with a stretched squad that has been beset by injuries ever since kick-off.

Greenock Telegraph:

This hiatus from the bread and butter cannot come a moment too soon, as the first third of the season has been a bruising episode for Dougie Imrie's outfit in more ways than one.

While the cup competitions are important for their own distinct reasons, the league is the obvious priority and Morton need a bit of breathing space away from it right now.

It will hopefully give them a chance to clear their heads, reset and try and gain a couple of confidence-boosting wins.

Just as crucially, the two weeks on cup duty may give some leeway for a couple of their injured players to come closer to a return.

Ton badly need all hands on deck and to get back to a full strength squad as quickly as possible if they are to fight their way out of the trouble they are in.

It deepened last weekend despite what was, overall, an improved performance at Firhill.

Granted, Morton again started a game by losing a goal almost immediately but they rallied well after that bodyblow.

Greenock Telegraph:

After settling down they began to get the ball on the deck and make a few passes, something which we haven't seen enough of this term.

Greenock Telegraph:

They got their reward when Partick conceded a penalty which was dispatched by captain Grant Gillespie to restore parity by half-time.

Greenock Telegraph:

For much of the second half it looked like the Ton were going to emerge with what would have been a creditable share of the spoils, only to be undone by a cutback and clever backheel by Blair Alston which gave the home side all three points.

Greenock Telegraph:

It would have been especially galling for the away support who had just moments earlier revelled in bête noire Brian Graham's gesture and touchline meltdown which saw him sent off immediately after being substituted, before then appearing to challenge the visiting fans to a confrontation while on his way to the tunnel.

Morton may feel they merited a draw but they cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves and will simply need to dust themselves down from the latest disappointment and get on with it.

There were a couple of encouraging signs during the 90 minutes in Maryhill but they did themselves no favours by losing such an early opener and as the game progressed they appeared to run out of ideas as to how to threaten the opposition goal.

Once again their only breakthrough came from the penalty spot, and until they can find a way to regularly carve out and take chances from open play then they are going to struggle.

Greenock Telegraph:

They also drew a blank against their opponents for tomorrow's tie in the only meeting between the two sides so far this season, something which ex-Ton youngster Lewis McGregor punished with the only goal of the match.

While Morton accounted for Kelty Hearts readily enough with a 4-1 win in the previous round, The Diamonds needed a late goal to put some gloss on their 4-2 victory against Rangers B.

Both sides will fancy their chances of going through, with Rhys McCabe's men acquitting themselves confidently on their return to the second tier after a long exile and Ton at home and hopeful of a third successive home victory in the competition.

The prize at stake is not insignificant; the cash rewards from this tournament may not be huge but the prestige of having a shot at silverware at this level counts.

The victors will face a last-four trip to play the winners of the Hamilton v Raith tie, which is not an insurmountable test and offers a more than decent incentive.