PETER Weatherson has revealed that his impending release by Morton left him so distraught that he decamped to Newcastle to seek solace from his family.
After featuring in what would be his last ever match for the club against Hamilton Accies on 27 April, the frontman informed manager Allan Moore that he had decided to head south to regroup.
He spent around two weeks with his parents in an attempt to get his head around the fact he had played his last competitive match in Ton colours, before returning to Greenock earlier this month. In an exclusive interview, Weatherson told the Tele how he struggled to cope with the realisation he was about to leave the club with which he'd spent 10 years of his life and grown so fond of.
With emotion in his voice, he explained: "As a player it's so difficult to let go of something you've been so used to being part of for so long.
"It was hard to leave. It still is hard; I'm still hurting from it. But everybody gets older so I just have to get to grips with it and understand it. There have been quite a lot of rumours and stuff. What happened was that towards the end of the season I kind of knew what was going to happen, and I found myself in a bad place.
"I came on as a sub against Hamilton at Cappielow and it was in the back of my head. I'm not stupid; I'd read between the lines and knew that I wasn't going to be offered a new contract.
"After that game I started to feel things then. My affection for the club had grown and grown and grown over the years and I thought: 'My God, that's me finished as a Morton player after 10 years.' "There was a build-up from then, knowing that I'd be taking that step away from full-time football. I couldn't really cope with it if I'm honest. I found it difficult and didn't know where to turn.
"I spoke to the manager about it and I ended up going home to Newcastle to be with my parents and speak to them about it.
"The manager knew everything that was going on and he reassured me that everything would be alright.
"He'd been in a similar situation when he retired to become a manager.
"I spoke to a lot of other ex-professionals and I've since found out it's a common feeling. I'm starting to understand it and get my head round things but it is still raw."
A month on, Weatherson, who turned 33 on Wednesday, is coming to terms with his situation and now finds himself in a much better mindset.
He has signed on a one-year deal as a player/coach with Third Division Annan Athletic and says he is already looking forward to next season.
He added: "I've signed a year's contract with Annan for next year. They're investing in me as a player and a coach.
"We will train two nights a week and as part of that I'll be taking a hand in the reserve team and trying to get the younger players through.
"I'll still be part of the Morton youth academy, with the 15s on a Monday and a Wednesday, and then for the game on the Sunday.
"It's an exciting opportunity. I've worked with [Annan manager] Jim Chapman on Mark McLaughlin's Key Fitness programme in the past and I can learn a lot from him.
"Coaching is something that interests me and that will help me to push on and become a manager further down the line in my career.
"But I'm a player first and foremost at the moment.
"With Annan nearer Newcastle it'll be an opportunity for my dad to come and watch me more often, which is great.
"I want to get back playing every week and getting my name on the scoresheet as regularly as possible."
l See Monday's Tele for Part I of an exclusive interview in which Weatherson relives the highs and lows of his 10 years at Morton, beginning with the hurt he felt at unfounded allegations he had bet against the club.