FOOTBALL goal celebrations have become so obscure and convoluted in the modern era that even the Bletchley Park codebreakers would have been left scratching their heads trying to figure some of them out.
The insistence on post-match omerta by many of the scorers often does not help matters, although mercifully Michael Tidser was rather more forthcoming about his actions in the immediate aftermath of the first of his two penalties that paved the way for a comfortable derby day win for Morton over St Mirren at Cappielow on Saturday.
No sooner had the midfielder clipped his first kick past goalkeeper Craig Samson then he was haring over to the rustic main stand, before pointing at someone in the crowd and then putting his fingers over his eyes in a glasses-type motion.
It was the sort of gesture normally reserved for defenders unhappy with assistant referees not raising their flags for offside but, on this occasion, there was a happier reason behind the motion.
Tidser’s spectacle-wearing son marked his third birthday by leading the teams out as one of the matchday mascots and the goalscorer was happy to have delivered this particular derby-day present to his boy.
“My son Aaron was the mascot and it was his third birthday too so it was the perfect day for me,” he explained. “He’s delighted and I dedicated both goals to him. He hasn’t been to too many games so it was great.
“The gaffer put me on penalties at the tail end of last season so I’m delighted to have scored two. Big Sammy in the St Mirren goal was trying to double bluff me and they were two pressure penalties so I’m delighted.
“I wasn’t really thinking about a hat-trick – two goals was great and the main thing was winning the game.”
Few have tipped Morton to emulate their achievements of last season when they reached the promotion play-offs but on this evidence they perhaps deserve to be taken more seriously.
As well as Tidser’s two penalties, they added further goals from Bob McHugh and Andy Murdoch against a St Mirren side reduced to 10 men following Jack Baird’s red card early in the second half.
A terrific Cammy Smith strike that cancelled out Tidser’s first penalty would turn out to be no more than a consolation.
The key man for Morton, however, was Jai Quitongo. It is surely not a coincidence that Morton’s slump in the second half of last season occurred with the striker sidelined with a knee injury and he posted a reminder of his talents on Saturday, winning a penalty and laying on two assists. St Mirren simply could not handle his pace or power.
“I’m really delighted for Jai and if he keeps playing like that I’ll get me 10 penalties this season,” added Tidser.
“We travel in to training and games together and so I know how hard it was when he was injured so I’s great to see him doing so well. It was a bad injury but he’s that kind of boy to come back from it – he’s mentally strong.
“I’m not going to say we’ll win the league. Some of their [St Mirren] camp have been saying that and that’s fine. We will always make it hard for teams at Cappielow. It’s a bit of a fortress.
“And our manager has bags of experience so we will simply take each game as it comes and do our best.”
Losing a derby so heavily is always a difficult pill to swallow but St Mirren captain Stephen McGinn felt the scoreline did not accurately reflect the run of play.
The Paisley side had been beaten 5-0 by Partick Thistle in the Betfred Cup earlier in the summer but McGinn feel this derby loss was not the same.
“I hate losing games and I feel the brunt of it as captain and as someone who came through the youth ranks here,” he said. “It hurts more at St Mirren than any of my previous clubs.
“We brought such a fantastic support down to Morton as well. But hopefully those who were there will have seen that there wasn’t much in the game.
“We were on the wrong end of a heavy defeat to Partick a few weeks ago and that really felt like a heavy defeat. This one, though, was really strange as for large spells we were the team looking to make the play and create chances. But to defend that poorly let us down. We gave them goals, especially conceding two penalties. We shot ourselves in the foot.
“It doesn’t feel like a day where we were really under-par and they were the better team. It felt more like a typical derby, blood and thunder, not much in it and looking for a bit of quality to win the game. But we gave them goals and that’s so disappointing.
“To go from last weekend beating Falkirk to defend as poorly as this is a real blow. But I definitely don’t think we were as bad as we were at Thistle and we will be looking to put it right next week.”