JIM Duffy admits he would have happily conceded the Ladbrokes Championship Manager of the Year gong to Hibs boss Neil Lennon — but he’s delighted to have scooped the accolade following Morton’s impressive season.

Duffy guided Ton to the Premiership play-offs via fourth place in Scottish football’s second tier, as well as taking his team all the way to the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden where they narrowly lost out to Aberdeen.

The Morton boss praised his backroom staff and players for ‘mucking in’ throughout the season and helping bring the level of achievement to Cappielow that they did.

But the humble 58-year-old believes his Northern Irish counterpart was also deserving of the award for bringing domestic success to Easter Road.

He said: “It’s quite humbling and even slightly embarrassing. I think generally speaking, awards go to the winners and probably rightfully so. If it was up to me I’d have probably given it to Neil Lennon for winning the league title and getting to a semi-final of a cup.

“Nevertheless it’s still a very prestigious award and one that I’m thrilled to receive.

"Football management is a very precarious business so when it’s going okay you have to enjoy it, and obviously this season has been a very good season for Morton and for me.

"This award is obviously a personal accolade for myself but you’re the manager of a football club, it’s not just an individual.

"What you do reflects on the team and the community. And in a town like Greenock, these types of things are very important. A successful football team is a big lift for the town.

“It’s always the case that it is a team effort. Every manager will tell you the sharp end of the stick and that’s the role you play. 

“But there’s a lot of people behind you that have very important roles, very significant roles. Whether it’s Craig McPherson my assistant or the medical staff, everyone that is involved. Andy [Bryan] the kit man has been here over 40 years!

“It’s particularly the smaller clubs, everyone chips in and does that wee bit extra. We don’t just do THE job, everybody mucks in with other jobs.

"David Wylie for example when Andy was away with the Scotland set-up, David was doing the kit. So when you get that you’ve got a really good bond and with that comes a really good atmosphere.”

Duffy watched his side go one better on last season’s fifth-placed finish in the Ladbrokes Championship, despite having to constantly adapt to injury set-backs throughout the campaign.

And he believes the Ton squad’s resilience is commendable because they managed to do so well under difficult circumstances.

He added: “We lost an awful lot of players last year in the summer, particularly at the top end of the pitch.

"And although we regrouped and did well, that area was an area we never really fully recovered from. It’s difficult even when you’ve got a lot of money to get those types of players in.

“If you look at the top end of the table, guys like Simon Murray at Dundee United, Jason Cummings at Hibs, they’re the goal scorers. These are the guys who get you up to that next level, so if we can add a bit more of a potent goal threat next year and keep the nucleus of the squad then hopefully we can have another good season.

“We had Jai [Quitongo] out for most of the season, Gary Oliver out for a couple of months and everyone else probably had a spell of about six weeks out at various times.

"There was only maybe two or three players who escaped injury and even those guys — for example Thomas O’Ware — just had an operation on his ankle. He played the last six weeks taking painkillers to get through it. 

“We had to adapt so many times to changes and as a manager you like to play a certain way. But we had to adapt and ask the players to adapt or play unfamiliar roles during games, then the next game against really good sides. 

“But the players always gave their best and there were some terrific performances throughout the season and the pleasing thing is we’re progressing as a club.”