Ayr held off a brief Morton fightback to begin their Ladbrokes Championship campaign with a 4-2 victory.
The Honest Men were beaten quarter-finalists in last season’s Premiership promotion play-offs after finishing fourth – one place ahead of Morton.
But there looked like being a gulf between the sides at Somerset Park, where Michael Moffat opened the scoring with a left-footed strike from the centre of the box after nine minutes.
Luke McCowan doubled the advantage with a close-range effort 10 minutes into the second half, before Alan Forrest gave Ayr an even bigger cushion in the 65th minute.
Two goals in six minutes from Reghan Tumilty and Nicky Cadden set up a tense final 10 minutes for Ayr, but substitute Craig McGuffie netted in stoppage time to make sure of the win.