MARTIN HARDIE is hoping he is on course for a rapid return from the thigh injury that saw him miss the 1-1 draw at Cowdenbeath against Falkirk on Saturday.

The Morton midfielder has weighed in with five vital strikes for the Ton this term and scored three times in his last five games, including a vital strike in the recent 2-1 success over Partick Thistle.

And the experienced Cappielow star is setting his sights on a Bairns return this weekend as he hopes to fire Morton back to the top of the Irn-Bru First Division.

Hardie said: "It was frustrating to sit out the Cowdenbeath game, but I had a thigh strain and there was no point in taking any chances.

"I will be back in training towards the end of the week and I can return against Falkirk.

"The last two games have been frustrating for us in losing to Dumbarton at home and drawing at Cowdenbeath.

"I think we maybe suffered from a bit of fatigue after the two huge games we had with Thistle and Dunfermline.

"Now we have Falkirk at their place and they have already beaten us this season.

"So it's vital we make the trip fully focused and determined to win."

Although the 36-year-old is playing in a sitting role in a 4-3-3 formation, Hardie is still determined for his goal tally to reach double figures once again from the centre of the park.

He said: "I have always scored goals from midfield and you don't lose those instincts even if my role is more defensively orientated.

"I have five goals already to my name this season and I will be doing everything I can to hit double figures as usual.

"Goals from midfield are vital to any side going for a title and if we want to kick on then it will be important we continue to have a decent spread of goals.

"But Falkirk are a very good young team as they showed at Cappielow when we lost to them

"We are under no illusions as to how tough it will be at their place on Saturday."