JIM Duffy believes Jai Quitongo penning a new deal at Cappielow will allow the young striker the opportunity to take time and recuperate properly as he bids to return to action following knee surgery.
Quitongo has been out since December with a knee injury, suffered against Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park.
But his boss insists he is delighted to have the contract situation resolved — so that his full focus can be on the necessary rehab, and not any off-field distractions.
Duffy said: “As a manager you’re always delighted to have good young players signed up who you feel are important to the club.
“The thing for Jai just now is to focus on his rehab to get back fit and playing again.
“That’s the important thing that [the new contract] allows him to take a wee bit more time.
“Sometimes if you’re coming towards the end of your contract you become a wee bit apprehensive, so it allows him some breathing space and time to fully focus on that and not worry too much about getting games in.
“He’s only a young player, just 19, and I think sometimes your mind can drift when you’re coming out of contract. It’s good to have that issue dealt with.
“We’ve got a very talented player signed up and that’s always good news for the club and for the supporters.”
Duffy says Quitongo has been working day in and day out to recover from the injury, but admits he can see how demoralising it must be for the player to be missing such key games as the season enters its final stretch.
But the 57-year-old knows that he needs to be concerned with the players he does have at his disposal at the moment as Ton push to cement their play-off push.
He said: “As manager I’ve now got to focus on the players who are currently available to me and that’s always going to be key.
"As harsh as it is for injured players, they will just have to work hard in the background.
“That’s always difficult and maybe some people don’t appreciate the psychological aspect of that, they think just about the physical side.
“It’s a bit demoralising every day coming in and having to get treatment or go to the gym while the rest of the boys are out playing important games.
“They want to be part of that and try and influence that as well, so it’s not just the physical aspect, it’s the other side of it as well which sometimes people tend to dismiss.”
With the season nearing its conclusion, Duffy could be doing with having Quitongo’s pace and athleticism back in his ranks.
But the gaffer insists he won’t be putting any date on the return, for risk of adding extra pressure to the 19-year-old’s return.
He said: “I would never put any timescale on anything like Jai’s injury.
“You can be close, and then you get a setback or something else can happen.
“I was reading the other day about a player who picked up another injury not related to the current injury they had.
“Your other muscles and other areas can sometimes overcompensate or put too much emphasis on certain things.
“Also I think when you start putting dates and deadlines, you sometimes put a wee bit of added pressure.
“We just want him to be 100 per cent fit, and if he is, and can contribute again this season great — if he can’t, then fine.
“The most important thing is he can get himself to a level where he can do himself justice and then after that make a contribution to the
“I’m just happy for Jai that he’s put pen to paper and hopefully he’s back soon and can make another significant contribution to moving his career forward playing with Morton.
“That’s all I’m focusing on, there’s no timescale yet.”