Ex-Morton skipper's agony over exit statement

Published: 9 Jan 2014 16:30

FORMER Morton skipper Mark McLaughlin has expressed his disappointment with the way the club announced his Cappielow departure.

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FORMER Morton skipper Mark McLaughlin has expressed his disappointment with the way the club announced his Cappielow departure.

The 38-year-old’s contract was officially cancelled last Friday after previously reaching an agreement with new boss Kenny Shiels that would see him leave to find regular first-team football elsewhere.

However, a news item posted on Ton’s official website on Christmas Eve stated that he had ‘been released with immediate effect’.

Experienced defender McLaughlin was left hurt by the wording of the announcement and insisted he was not dumped by the club and had actually agreed to leave by mutual consent.

The club statement had read: “Regretfully, club captain Mark McLaughlin, whose contract does not expire until May 2014, has also been released with immediate effect.

“McLaughlin has been a major player with the club since joining in 2012. The club thank Mark for his contribution over the years, especially last season where he captained the team through an incredible challenge for the First Division title.”

McLaughlin told the Tele: “The club put something on the website on Christmas Eve.

“I spoke to Gillian [Donaldson] on Friday and told her I was disappointed with the way it had come out. It was on the website saying that I had been released with immediate effect. It was also in the national papers saying Mark McLaughlin and Nacho Novo had been released with immediate effect.

“That has been disappointing, because I wasn’t just released.

“We agreed that I would leave by mutual consent.

“Kenny Shiels said to me that I maybe wasn’t going to play much. That’s fair enough.

“He then told me that Airdrie had come in and asked if they could take me on loan.

“He said Airdrie would pay half my wages and Morton would pay half my wages, but I said, ‘Well, I don’t want to go out on loan’.

“I said that we should come to an agreement for me to leave instead. I’m not greedy. I didn’t say ‘give me all my wages or I’m going to sit on my contract’.

“It’s not the way I am. I just want to play football. So I came to an agreement with the club — a really fair agreement — shook everybody’s hand and wished them all the best.

“The timing of the club’s statement was also disappointing because it only went through recently. I might not have been in with the club but it only went through on Friday.

“I don’t go away with any hard feelings. That’s not the person I am.

“Dumbarton are my employer now and I’m going to do my best for them, but I grew up a Morton supporter and wish them well.”

As a Sons player, McLaughlin is now in direct competition with his former club as the sides scrap it out with the likes of Cowdenbeath and Queen of the South to avoid relegation.

Although his new team’s 2-0 victory on Saturday put them firmly in the driving seat, he isn’t writing Ton off yet.

He added: “We need to keep pushing up the table. Cowdenbeath’s win at Alloa didn’t help us or Morton, but winning on Saturday gave us that wee gap

again. With them losing on Saturday and Cowdenbeath winning, it makes it hard for Morton. But the next time you see Morton there will be more changes.

“Kenny Shiels wants to get his own players there and try and turn the situation around.

“Until it actually is impossible, it’s always possible. It’s not over until it’s over.”

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