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Youngster was never in doubt about signing

Published: 28 May 2013 11:300 comments

MORTON'S latest signing says he was so impressed by the pitch made by manager Allan Moore and club development consultant Warren Hawke that he agreed to sign on the spot.

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DAVID McNeil says he was so impressed by the pitch made by Morton manager Allan Moore and club development consultant Warren Hawke that he agreed to sign on the spot.

The 18-year-old striker was one of 13 teenagers invited to Cappielow last week for an induction evening at which they were offered full-time contracts with the club.

At the end of the presentation, the players were afforded the opportunity to go away and think over the proposition put to them.

However, former Kilmarnock frontman McNeil had already made up his mind and immediately approached Ton boss Moore to say he would be taking him up on the offer.

Local lad McNeil, who is the son of former Ton favourite John McNeil, said: "Everything seemed really positive so my dad and I had a word with the gaffer after the presentation. I told him I would be signing with the club. It was always in my mind to sign because all I want to do this year is play football.

"I was 100 per cent for it, and as soon as I knew the gaffer was positive about me that was it, decision made.

"My dad played for Morton and they obviously have a big place in his heart. I grew up supporting Morton.

"We didn't go near the Old Firm, we were always Morton supporters, and he's very happy that I'm going to sign for the club."

McNeil joined Ton on trial towards the end of last season following his release by SPL outfit Kilmarnock, with whom he had spent five years since joining from First Touch at age 12.

The hitman impressed in outings for David Hopkin's reserve side, scoring in matches against Annan Athletic and Queen of the South as well as standing out after coming on as a substitute against Rangers at Murray Park.

He added: "I developed as a player at First Touch and then signed for Kilmarnock as soon as I left. I'd been there since I was 12 but was unlucky with injuries down there.

"At under-17s I got a few injuries in my right foot. That affected my fitness and I never quite recovered from that.

"I did get a chance to go full-time at Kilmarnock. I was in full-time for six months and they were good to me, having the faith to take me on despite the injury. I enjoyed my time there. [Ex-Kimarnock and Morton striker] Paul Wright was one of my coaches and he really brought me on.

"We are similar types of player and he would take me out at training and teach me how to hold the ball up and things like that to improve my game. He was a great coach. But at the end of the Christmas period they said to me that I was better off looking for something else because they had boys who would be playing in front of me. I respected them for that. After I left, a few clubs were in contact. But my dad got Davie Hopkin's number from Craig McPherson and he told me to come in and start training.

"It was good to come into the reserves here at Morton, play four games and show what I could do, and I owe Davie a lot for giving me that chance.

"I'm very excited about coming in full-time now.

"I was training full-time for two weeks at the end of the season there, and if I get another chance in pre-season I'll do my best to take it."

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