A 0-0 draw saw Stevie Crawford’s East Fife make-up a bit of ground on those above them, while the point reinforced Mo’s place inside the top four.
With second bottom Dumbarton visiting Bayview next weekend, giving East Fife a chance to cut the gap to second bottom to just three points, there’s no overstating just how big that game is now.
East Fife boss Stevie Crawford was well aware of Mo’s strengths and was pretty content that his side were able to match them.
“The one thing I have respect for is that Stewart Petrie, Ross and Iain Campbell have put together a really fit squad,” said the Fife boss.
“Their position in the league tells you that and they’ve done it for a number of seasons now.
“We knew it was going to be a hard game because their fitness levels are good and they have good quality.
“They can mix it up by going direct or also playing good football.
“Under normal circumstances, if you go to Montrose and take a point you’re pretty happy.
“In the first half, albeit they hit the post, we had three decent chances and were unfortunate not to take one of them.
“They then went down to 10 men and we probably didn’t show enough quality on the ball and bring a calmness to the game to get the overloads in the right areas to hurt them.”
East Fife had a let off with just a couple of minutes gone when Graham Webster failed to steer an Andy Steeves delivery on target from six yards out.
Montrose stayed on the front foot and the Fifers had the post to thank for keeping out a Terry Masson header.
Out of the blue East Fife almost got their noses in front when Kyle Connell met a Jack Healy delivery but headed a foot wide.
After an open start the game got bogged down into something of a midfield battle with neither team getting the upper hand.
The best of what little was created fell the way of Montrose and Elijah Simpson should have done better with a header from just a couple of yards out.
East Fife started the second half well with Connell unlucky with a snapshot from the edge of the Montrose box.
Fife boss Crawford made some changes as he aimed to spark new life into the game, introducing Danny Swanson and Jamie Semple.
Their cause was helped with 20 minutes to go when Aidan Quinn was shown a straight red after clattering into Connell.
But the sending off proved to be a catalyst for Montrose who enjoyed their best spell of the game when down to 10 men.
Ultimately neither goal was breached and Montrose assistant manager Ross Campbell called for his side to develop a ruthless streak.
“Credit to Stevie Crawford, we’ve played East Fife a couple of times now and that’s the toughest match we’ve had,” said Campbell.
“Credit to them, they’re clearly starting to get a bit of traction now.
“Good luck to them for the rest of the season because we care about them and I have a connection to the club.
“But it’s starting to become a recurring theme, and it’s credit to the boys for earning it, that we’re finding it difficult to break down teams.
“We had four or five great chances.
“That’s frustrating and we need to get ahead of teams because it starts to become a scrap and this league is very tough.”