Montrose suffered League One play-off heartbreak as Morton midfielder Craig McGuffie netted a 118th minute winner for the Greenock side.
McGuffie curled home from 15 yards as Ton overturned a 2-1 first leg deficit to book their place in the play-off final.
It was a cruel blow for the Angus side who had gone toe-to-toe with Morton all evening with Russell McLean netting the goal that forced extra-time after the hosts had gone 2-0 up through Gary Oliver and Cameron Salkeld.
Montrose travelled to Greenock bidding to join their Angus rivals Arbroath in the Championship.
Protecting a 2-1 first leg lead, the task for Stewart Petrie’s men was clear – avoid defeat and they would be 180 minutes away from promotion.
However, this was not going to be easy.
The picture perfect 4G surface at Links Park suits the intricate passing game that helped Montrose to victory on Saturday.
The pitch at Cappielow could not be more different. Bumpy in several places, it was more fit for a battleground than a free-flowing game of football.
With fans locked out of the game for at least another week, a crowd of around 20 drum-beating Morton fans made their way to the hill behind the Montrose goal to catch the first-half action.
And they didn’t have long to wait to celebrate as Cameron Salkeld robbed Kerr Waddell of the ball and blasted a ten-yard drive off Allan Fleming.
The rebound fell kindly for Gary Oliver who fired in the rebound.
Ironically, the 5th minute goal was scored by exactly the same player at exactly the same time as Oliver netted in Saturday’s first leg.
Was that an omen?
Certainly Montrose began to spark into life, with Lewis Milne pulling the strings for the Angus men.
And it was from a Milne corner that the visitors had a decent shout for a penalty as Russell McLean’s header appeared to come off namesake Brian’s hand in the box.
Referee Euan Anderson waved away Montrose’s appeals and Morton made the Gable Endies pay with their second goal on 19 minutes.
A Markus Fjortoft looping header evaded Fleming and Salkeld nipped in at the back post to tap home.
At that point it looked like a dominant Morton side would run away with it as Montrose fielded wave after wave of attack.
However, this is a Montrose side who never know when they are beaten and McLean met defender Cammy Ballantyne’s 35th minute cross to plant the ball into the net from 15 yards.
It was now 3-3 on aggregate with everything to play for in the second half.
Towering striker McLean was proving to be a real handful for the Morton defence as Montrose stepped up the pressure in the second period.
They were now very much in this tie and looked the more likely side to net a winner in normal time.
Morton had brave keeper Aidan McAdams to thank for keeping the tie level on 58 minutes as on loan St Johnstone midfielder Cammy Ballantyne broke clear on the edge of the penalty box.
McAdams raced off his line to block and play had to be held up for several minutes as he received treatment.
With the clock ticking down Montrose had Kerr Waddell to thank for keeping them in it as he made a brave goal-line clearance to block from Kyle Jacobs to force extra-time.
— Ewan Smith (@ewansmithpr) May 11, 2021
The game appeared to be headed for penalties before McGuffie popped up with a stunning late winner to send Montrose out.
Morton: McAdams; Fjortoft, McLean, Strapp, Salkeld Jacobs, Millar, McGinn, Muirhead, Oliver (Nesbitt 86), Blues (Lyon 75). Subs: Wylie; Ledger, McGuffie, Colville, Hynes.
Montrose: Fleming; Cammy Ballantyne, Steeves, Waddell, Dillon, Masson, Webster (Callaghan 103), Milne, Cammy F Ballantyne (Johnston 93), Rennie (Mochrie 67) McLean. Subs: Lennox; Quinn, Antoniazzi, Ross Campbell.
Referee – Euan Anderson