Dundee moved to within three points of Championship leaders Dundee United thanks to super sub Jamie Ness.
This result means they will go into next Friday’s home derby against their city rivals on the back of three successive league victories over Ayr, Alloa and now Morton.
The Dark Blues deserved to win and the sweeping shot from Ness on 79 minutes proved to be decisive. It was apt that the provider was man-of-the-match Graham Dorrans.
After a poor and goalless first half, the match came to life after the hour when Kane Hemmings opened the scoring for James McPake’s side with a fine headed goal on 62 minutes.
They could only maintain that advantage for a couple of minutes, though, as the visitors equalised thanks to Cameron Salkeld.
Digging deep, Dundee raced back and Ness, who had replaced Paul McGowan just minutes earlier, steered the ball up and into the Morton net to make it 2-1.
The Dark Blues were – unsurprisingly – unchanged from the side that started the impressive Tuesday night 3-0 win at Alloa.
It was a damp, dreich night at Dens and every spectator deserved a pat on the back for leaving their cosy living room to back their team in person rather than watching on TV.
On five minutes, a good period of pressure from the hosts created a chance for Andrew Nelson 12 yards out but his shot was blocked.
Morton’s Jack Baird was a relieved man on 13 minutes when he sliced Jordan Marshall’s cross over his own crossbar for a Dundee corner that came to nothing.
With quarter of an hour gone, the Dark Blues were forced into an early change when an injured Marshall had to be replaced by sub Sean Mackie.
The visitors tried their luck with a 30-yard freekick from Robbie Muirhead on 20 minutes but it didn’t threaten Conor Hazard’s goal.
Bob McHugh got in front of his man at the near post after good work from Salkeld but couldn’t get a proper connection as the Greenock men enjoyed a decent spell.
It was a bit of a tough watch for the fans as both sides struggled to make a breakthrough and all too often fouls, mainly committed by Morton, broke up the play.
The game needed a moment of magic to break the spell of mediocrity and it almost came from the Dark Blues’ Dorrans on 40 minutes when his low drive flashed across goal and just inches wide of the far post.
Declan McDaid skewed a shot well wide on 44 minutes and it was something of a relief when referee Greg Aitken’s whistle brought the first half to a close.
Hemmings fired a 20-yarder wide two minutes after the restart as Dundee went searching for the elusive opener.
Given the physical nature of some of the visitors’ play, a booking seemed overdue and Muirhead’s name became the first in the book for a late one on Cammy Kerr.
With 55 minutes of the clock, the hosts came closest yet to making it 1-0 when Dorrans played a quick ball to McDaid, who got a shot in on the turn but couldn’t beat well-placed Ton keeper Sam Ramsbottom.
The Dark Blues were dominating possession now and Ramsbottom dived to push away a low strike from defender Jordan McGhee on 59 minutes. The resultant corner was headed over by Jordon Forster.
Terrible defending from the visitors led to their conceding a crucial corner on 62 minutes.
The kick was swung over from the left by Dorrans and head-flicked inside the far post by Hemmings to, finally, put the home team ahead.
However, it was all square just two minutes later as the Dark Blues threw away their lead.
A terrific cross from Muirhead reached Salkeld at the back post and he knocked it home to level.
The Dark Blues then made their second change of the night, bringing on Danny Johnson for Nelson.
There was a scary moment for the home fans on 71 minutes when Morton’s McHugh blasted a half-volley just over the bar from the edge of the box.
Ness was the Dark Blues’ third and final substitution of the night when he replaced McGowan with 15 minutes to go.
The visitors then introduced former Dundee frontman John Sutton for McHugh as they chased a winner.
It was the Dark Blues, however, who found the back of the net on 79 minutes and sub Ness was the hero.
He swept his shot home from 15 yards after being found by Dorrans’ pinpoint pass and the Dundee fans were on their feet.
Morton huffed and puffed but McPake’s men saw the game out – they even had a last-gasp chance when Hemmings tried to score from distance – and now the attention turns to the derby.
Dundee: Hazard, Kerr, McGhee, Forster, Byrne, Nelson (Johnson 68), McGowan (Ness 75), McDaid, Dorrans, Marshall (Mackie 15), Hemmings. Subs not used: Ferrie, Meekings, McPake, Robertson.
Greenock Morton: Ramsbottom, Welsh, Grant, Jacobs, Millar (Lyon 83), McAlister (Nesbitt 88), Muirhead, McHugh (Sutton 76), Salkeld, Strapp, Baird. Subs not used: Rogers, McLean, King, Blues.
Referee: Greg Aitken.