Published: 28th September 2019

United make it 6-0 against Greenock Morton as Shankland grabs another hat-trick to keep the Tangerines top of the league.

By Ian Isbister

Dundee United went into today’s encounter with Greenock Morton looking to continue their rich vein of form at home. Three straight league victories at Tannadice had seen United sit top of the Scottish Championship on goal difference.

Last week’s 2-1 victory against Arbroath, courtesy of two late goals from goal machine Lawrence Shankland, showed United’s determination to play to the final whistle in an encounter that had looked likely to end in defeat for much of the second half, a valuable three points that could be so vital by the end of the Championship race.

Today’s visitors, Greenock Morton, would be looking to make it a Tayside double after their 1-0 win against neighbours Dundee last weekend at Cappielow. Manager David Hopkin, in his first season with the Greenock side, had steered the team to fourth place in the Championship, and would be looking to replicate the kind of form that saw Livingston promoted into the Premiership under his tenure in 2018.

First Half - United took an early lead in the 1st minute when a speculative McMullan cross from the right was missed by the Morton defence and it was that man Shankland who was on hand to sweep home past the despairing Rogers.

United made it 2-0 after only five minutes when Shankland doubled his tally for the day. Neat build-up play by Pawlett and his pass finds the in form striker in space to drill his low first time shot into the net. The ideal start for Robbie Neilson’s side.

United continued to press and were unlucky in the 20th minute when a quick taken free-kick by Pawlett saw Shankland through on goal with only the advancing Rogers saving Morton’s blushes.

United were playing some lovely football in the first half, with Smith, Pawlett and Spörle all linking up well down the left flank.

In the 33rd minute, Harkes was unlucky to see his left foot drive take a deflection and skim past Rogers right hand post.

Spörle continued to impress down the left wing and showed plenty of skill as he dribbled past four Morton players, the Argentinian now looking comfortable in that left back position.

United made it 3-0 in the 40th minute when McMullan found himself one on one with the goalkeeper. On the right side of the box and around 15 yards out, the winger calmly slotted the ball past Rogers, no less than United deserved for a comprehensive first half.

As referee Alan Muir blew for half-time the cheers from around Tannadice tell the players what the fans thought of such a positive display.

28.09.19 v Morton (H)

Second Half - Morton boss David Hopkin made two changes at the beginning of the second half, replacing Sutton and Millar with Blues and Colville, the away side clearly looking to change the pattern of the first half.

In the 52nd minute United had the goal of the season chalked off for offside. Neat play from Shankland set up Pawlett with his back to goal. The midfielder quickly did a bicycle kick into the back off the net but the linesman already had his flag up to spoil the party.

United did make it 4-0 in the 56th minute and it was Shankland again to complete his hat-trick. Picking the ball up on the left edge of the Morton box the striker danced into position and deftly picked his spot in the Morton net. Shankland’s already impressive record was a goal every 109 minutes, but the forward has actually improved on that total since his arrival at Tannadice.

With the game entering the final third, United didn’t let up in their quest for more goals. With Ayr United starting the day level on points with the Tangerines, goal difference was vital.

United had an appeal for a penalty waived away in the 66th minute when Shankland appeared to be tripped trying to reach a McMullan cross. Despite the protestations, referee Alan Muir kept his whistle quiet.

New signing Troy Brown looked comfortable at the back and dealt with anything thrown at him, particularly in the air. Manager Robbie Neilson will be delighted with the defender’s start at Tannadice.

By the 80th minute both sides had made all their substitutions and the game looked to be winding down. McMullan had other ideas though as he flew into the Morton box and after skipping by 2 defenders, shot low past Rogers to make it 5-0 United.

In the 84th minute it was substitute Logan Chalmer’s turn to get in on the act. The youngster found himself unmarked at the back post and had the easiest of headers to grab United’s 6th goal of the game.

Referee Alan Muir blew for full-time with United’s 6-0 score line shining brightly on the Jerry Kerr scoreboard. United’s players deserved all six goals, keeping a clean sheet and the standing ovation they received at the end of the game. United stay top, and on today’s performance will be hard to shift. 

Man of the Match - Who else but Lawrence Shankland! Lots of impressive performances including Spörle and Harkes but the hat-trick man gets today’s award.

Dundee United - Siegrist, Smith, Spörle, Reynolds, McMullan, Pawlett (Chalmers 71 mins), Butcher (Stanton 63 mins), Brown, Harkes, Shankland (Appéré 78 mins), Watson, 

Subs not used - Deniz, C.Smith, King, Graham, 

Greenock Morton - Rogers, Welsh, Grant, Millar (Blues 45 mins), McAlister (C), McHugh, Strapp, Lyon (King 77 mins), Cadden, Sutton (Colville 45 mins), Baird, 

Subs not used - McLean, Muirhead, Salkeld, Ramsbottom,