JIM McALISTER insisted the conduct of Morton’s supporters was as important as the three points which ended a run of five games without victory.

Preparations had been overshadowed by the return of Falkirk manager Ray McKinnon just two months after he controversially walked out of his role as manager at Cappielow to take up the reins at Falkirk.

Police Scotland had expressed their concerns over McKinnon’s safety but McAlister praised the fans’ restraint and their important role in spurring Morton on to win their first game under Jonatan Johansson.

The club captain said: “We needed to kickstart our season after losing momentum when Ray left. The crowd was brilliant today.

“It’s always good to play when the crowd is hot – it gives you that wee bit extra. They behaved themselves as well after all the talk and that’s the most important thing.”

The experienced midfielder temporarily became interim manager when McKinnon departed but, despite studying for his UEFA B licence, it’s not a role he can envisage taking in the future.

“It was a good experience, it gives you an insight into what life is like as a manager," McAlister said. "Fair play to anybody who is a player/manager because putting on a training session and making sure people pull their weight is difficult. It was tough but enjoyable."

Morton secured their win on 76 minutes when substitute Bob McHugh nodded home from close range after Kerr Waddell had headed Rory McKeown’s diagonal ball across goal.

However, the turning point to a keenly contested affair had come early in the second half when Falkirk goalkeeper Leo Fasan was shown a straight red card after he pulled down the excellent Michael Tidser just outside the area.

Substitute keeper David Mitchell produced an acrobatic save to keep out a stunning Tidser strike before McHugh scored the winner that McAlister believed was deserved.

“It’s always hard when teams go down to 10 men but I thought we kept our discipline well. We kept playing in the same manner and luckily Bob popped up with a goal at the end.

“We limited them to very few chances, were solid at the back and had that wee bit of quality at the end.”

Centre-of-attention McKinnon, having cryptically suggested that the full circumstances of his Cappielow departure have yet to be revealed, went on to focus on the performance of referee John Beaton.

He said: “It wasn’t a red, it was a booking but that summed up his performance today. I thought he was pretty poor.”