GARY Harkins insists he jumped at the chance to put pen to paper on a one-year deal at Morton yesterday and says he’s delighted to finally be plying his trade at his local team.

Local lad Harkins — formerly of Dundee, Partick Thistle and Kilmarnock — negotiated his release from previous club Ayr United and was desperate sign on the dotted line at Cappielow the minute he heard of Jim Duffy’s interest in his services.

And he called the move a ‘no-brainer’ as he gets ready to try and help his new team build on last season’s excellent fourth place finish in the Championship.

He told the Tele: “I’m absolutely delighted to have signed for Morton. I’ve grown up here, it’s my hometown club so I’m delighted to be here and hopefully we can have a really good season.

“It’s a completely different experience for me, it’s my hometown club and that’s something special to look forward to. My first ever game inside a stadium was at Cappielow so from then on you dream about growing up and playing professionally. 

“Obviously Cappielow was the one place that was close to home so I’m delighted to be at the club and playing there.

“It’s ideal that everything has been done as early as possible and that we can start the season knowing that I’m going into pre-season at Morton. 

“As I’ve said, I’m delighted. I have a lot of family and friends that are Morton supporters and it’s something I’m really happy with.

“It was pretty much a no-brainer to come here. As soon as I heard that the manager wanted to speak to me I was just hoping there was a contract offered and I could get there and jump at the chance.

“After last year I think the manager did a great job then and the team were really unlucky not to get promoted. 

“For him to then add some good players already and for me to have myself signed up, I’m looking forward to it. You always want to improve on your previous year.”

At 32-years-old, Harkins will be one of the oldest members of the current Ton squad and he reckons his experience can help everyone at the club, especially the youngsters.

The midfielder has played at a high level of Scottish football throughout his career and he hopes to use that knowledge to help the players around him improve. 

But he insists he’ll continue to learn and adapt his own game if the manager wants to use him in a different role.

He said: “I’m at that stage of my career now that I am one of the older ones and if the younger boys need help with anything at all I’m more than happy to help them. So I’ll bring a wee bit of experience to the dressing room and hopefully I can do my bit on and off the pitch.

“I’ll play wherever the manager tells me and I’ll play whatever way the manager tells me, I’ve always been like that. I’ll play going forward, I’ll play further back, if he tells me to play left-back I’ll do that. I’m just happy to be playing football because I’m very lucky to do that.”

The playmaker has been given a rough ride from the Cowshed on his past visits with other clubs but is confident that will all be forgotten the moment he pulls on a Ton top.

He said: “I’ve grown up in Greenock, lived in Greenock most of my life, the last game I paid into was at Cappielow, the first game I ever paid into was at Cappielow.

“Whenever I’ve played against the club I’ve had a bit of stick because I’m a local boy, but that’s it.

“I’ve always held the club and the place quite highly in my thoughts.”