DARREN Barr is used to playing a starring role for every team he’s been with — but he hopes he’ll be kept OUT of the starting 11 for Morton’s development squad this season.

Barr recently joined up with Ton’s under-20s side as head coach and has been registered as player/manager for the upcoming campaign. 

But for the first time in his career, the 32-year-old is desperate to be outshone by the players he has at his disposal.

The ex-Dumbarton, Hearts and Kilmarnock defender took charge of his first session on day one of 
pre-season training yesterday and he admits the coach’s role is a far cry from coming into day one of training as a player.

But he’s ready to knuckle down and do his best to help Morton’s teens make the step-up from development football to Jim Duffy’s first-team this term.

He told the Tele: “Coming into pre-season as a player and a coach is a lot different. If needed obviously I’ll play, I’m still competitive. 

“But I felt I’ve got to an age where I’ve had a few injuries. 
“And while I’ll play to help them out, hopefully they can keep me out the team!

“That’s the main thing. That’s what you want, to try and build a squad where the boys can kick on, and if they can do that with the 20s then you never know what can happen with them in the first-team.

“It was my first day today, with it being the first day of pre-season, so I was in seeing everyone and meeting them all. I’m looking forward to it.

“The big thing for me is that the coaching side of it is a bit different for me. I’m in there trying to learn as well through my job.

"The start of the season will probably just be all about getting fit and getting some match practice, but they’ve definitely got that base there. You can see with some of them they have some really good quality and hopefully I can help them realise that.

“I’d like them to take to me personally as well. Obviously there’s a different manager, different things but if they react in the right way we can do some good things.”

Morton under-20s are no strangers to success having won the Development League West back in 2015 and finished runners-up to eventual winners Queen of the South last season.

Barr believes that foundation is something he can build on — because there’s plenty of talent in the squad to work with.

He said: “I’ve not seen a lot of them because I’m only just here but I’ve been doing a bit of homework on them and I know that they’ve got a good squad there and have done well in the last couple of years.

“I know they lost a couple of players as well but hopefully the boys coming in can kick on and progress like the rest of the squad has done. The main objective is obviously to get these boys around the first-team so whatever way I can do that, I will. I’ll guide them the right way and in the right manner.

“I’m used to that pressure having played myself when it came to staying in the league [with Dumbarton] or winning games so that’ll lie with me as well.”