MORTON continued their remarkable run under new manager Dougie Imrie with a 2-0 victory over Ayr United at Somerset Park.

Striker Gavin Reilly doubled his tally for the season with a brace, leaving his side unbeaten in three in the cinch Championship since Imrie took charge. It followed a draw away to Kilmarnock and a thumping 5-0 win over Dunfermline.

Imrie, who started the weekend implicated in a betting scandal, said his head was “bursting” when it was suggested management was coming easily to him. “I’ve got to give all the credit to the boy, even one of them to a man was excellent,” he added.

The home side started the better, lining up in a 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 formation, and should have taken the lead in the fourth minute. The ball was wildly misjudged by Morton's Alan Lithgow around the centre circle, allowing the returning Tomi Adeloye a run at goal. The striker appeared to have too much time to think about it and his indecision was met by goalkeeper Jack Hamilton collecting the ball at his feet.

Bullen’s side attempted to get the ball down and play, with Rangers loanee James Maxwell at the heart of it with a number of clever flicks and well-timed runs while Aaron Muirhead mopped up in front of the defence before finding a simple pass.

Morton took time to settle into the match and when they did there was a clear David Martindale influence, with Imrie spending time as a coach at Livingston before taking the reins at Cappielow: a back three, getting the ball forward quickly to play football in the right areas, complete with long throws into the box.

They opened the scoring on 27 minutes when Brian McLean found Lewis Strapp down the left. The wingback was allowed to advance before aiming a low cross at the near post, met by an unmarked Gavin Reilly. It was the striker’s second goal in as many games yet just his third of the season.

Ayr’s play subsequently became rushed and whereas before they had struggled with the final ball, they were now struggling to create – compounded when Adeloye was booked for going down easily in the box.

The other best chance of the half fell to Morton shortly before the break, and shortly after a few vocal away fans had been ejected from their seats, when Aidan McAdams saved well from a Cameron Blues effort from range.

The Honest Men struggled to regain their early promise after the break, with the visitors now with something to defend and looking to counter. It took Bullen until the 59th minute to make a change, bringing on 24-year-old Ryan Gondoh for his debut. His first action was to watch helplessly as his new side went further behind.

Gozie Ugwu was fed on the right wing and showed great skill to turn his man before driving into the box and firing a low cross across the goalmouth. Again Reilly was unmarked, this time to stretch and tap in from yards out for his second of the game.

Imrie explained that the renewed bounce about his striker, and his side, was down to one thing, “confidence”. He added: “That’s what players breed off of. When things aren’t going well the confidence is down, the heads are down. They might not make the run to get on the end of things.

“You see today with his second goal, he’s waiting on the ball coming across and it’s a tap-in.”

Daire O’Connor and youngster Fraser Bryden were introduced to freshen up the Ayr attack but the changes failed to make the required impact as Hamilton enjoyed a fairly quiet afternoon in the Morton goal. Gondoh came close to hitting the target after a decent run, as did O’Connor, briefly worried the keeper before flying over the bar.

The win leaves Imrie’s side in eighth place, a point and a position behind Ayr. The defeat was a difficult one to take for Ayr boss Lee Bullen, also not long in the door, after his side started the match brightly.

Bullen rued the early missed opportunity. "Goals change games,” he said. “Goals make a big difference, especially down the bottom of the league.

"But if you'd had given us six points out of nine we'd have bitten your hand off. And if we continue to take six out of nine points we're heading in the right direction."