DARREN Barr was announced as Morton’s new development team coach on Tuesday and the 32-year-old insists he’s keen to develop the club’s fledgling youngsters into first-team stars.

Ex-Hearts, Ross County and Dumbarton defender Barr — who also has a Scotland cap to his name — is raring to go in the new role that will also see him registered as a player in order to allow himself to help the Ton teens on the pitch as well as off it.

Having spent some time recently working with Falkirk’s youth academy, Barr already has experience of coaching younger players. 

And he’s been desperate to get more involved in the coaching side of the game after rejecting the offer of a new contract from the Sons earlier this summer to remain at the Rock.

He exclusively told the Tele: “Excited is the word! I think it’s a great opportunity for myself, I felt like it was a great chance and I’m looking forward to it, definitely.

“Within the club you can definitely tell there’s already a structure and a plan there and if anything I just want to be a part of it. Warren Hawke was excellent with me during the interview process and from that side of things it’s a bit new to myself. 

“From putting my CV in I don’t know if the club were maybe a bit surprised. But it’s something that I’ve wanted to get into.

“Andy Millen has done a great job before me obviously and he’s away to Kilmarnock now. But I’m looking forward to it, I know there’s a really good set-up and I know there are good boys at the club. I want to be able to take it on and looking at the first team there’s a lot of youth players there already and I want to add to that because that’s what I’m there to do.”

He added: “I wouldn’t say it’s going to be strange to be on the coaching side rather than the playing because I’ve been coaching for the last couple of years now, just myself doing it voluntarily and things like that at Falkirk, who have been very good with me.

“I’ve been working with their 17s and different age groups like that, so I’d like to think hopefully I’ve got a wee bit more experience behind me that I know that set-up and that side of things to be able to bring something different for these boys at Morton.”

Barr will be kept on as a player/coach, allowing him to play some games himself with the under-20s.

And he believes this can only be a benefit to the youngsters who will learn from a player who has played at the highest level in Scotland for the majority of his career.

He said: “The big thing is to help the 20s and bring them through. I can play as well and if I do that, so be it. That’s what I’ve been asked to do and if I can help the boys, I’d like to think I can bring some experience to the role.

“I like to think experience is what I can bring from the playing side of the game. I want to help them get ready for first-team football, which is the reason I think this is my next step.

"Morton do give younger players opportunities and I’ve grown up in that environment myself, I got my chance, so hopefully I can bring that to the table.

“I’m registered to play and to help the youngsters through games. The playing side is there if needed, I’m still fit, I’ve been keeping myself that way and I’m competitive that way so I’d like to think everything can work.

“Over time there have been loads of guys who have been player/coach or player/manager and that’s something that can work well. I’m there to learn as well.”

On potentially starring for Jim Duffy’s first team next term, Barr said: “That’s something for the gaffer and I to discuss. I am registered as a player, and if I’m needed I’ll be more than happy to do it.”