MORTON midfielder Connor McManus insists he’s enjoyedplaying as a makeshift defender at Cappielow — but his ultimate aim remains nailing down a starting midfield berth.

McManus joined on a free transfer from Celtic in the summer and was pitched in at centre-half to cover injuries to Thomas O’Ware and Lee Kilday. 

But the 21-year-old still harbours ambitions of securing a slot in the Ton engine room alongside the likes of Michael Tidser and Andy Murdoch.

The ex-Celt admits he knew it was always going to be tough to break into the midfield in Greenock due to the strength of competition, but says he’s still up to the challenge following the return of O’Ware and Ricki Lamie to the defensive line-up.

He told the Tele: “Ultimately I want to be able to hold down a midfield spot at Morton, of course. I think it was something like four games or so before I actually got a chance to play in midfield.

“That’s something that hopefully I can do more of going forward. Obviously if the team needs me elsewhere I’m happy to do that but long-term, on a more individual basis I’d like to try and keep working hard to play midfield again.

“I knew the challenge when I came into Morton, it’s a very good midfield.

“I knew the challenge would be to try and get into that midfield and stay there. So in that situation, that is still the aim.”

McManus has now been part of the dressing room at Cappielow for just under two months and he is thoroughly enjoying the camaraderie amongst the players.

He is pleased with the close bond he is developing with his team-mates.

He said: “When I first came in it was difficult to have that advice chat with anyone.

“Because I wasn’t too sure of things yet, it was a new workplace and a new environment at the time.

“But it’s overall a great dressing room. I’ve really taken to it well, it’s great to come into with the banter of the boys. Although I’ve only been there a short time, I can see that. It’s not just one or two, the dressing room is full of players who will talk you through a game.”

Asked if there were any team-mates he can go to for advice at any time, McManus recalled: “I remember when I made my debut against Motherwell, Michael Tidser was the player who came up to me and talked me through things before the game.

“He told me to go and enjoy it, to play even though it’s not my position. He said ‘go and give everything, there’s no real pressure on you so go and try to enjoy it and play the best you can’. So he has been good for advice.

“When I went to centre-back I had a different partner every time I played there. That gets the trust from other people and I think I gained that from more players throughout those games.

“I hope to be able to use that trust to push on now and try to get myself into the starting 11."