MORTON's youth academy have the goal-den touch after they smashed a charity challenge target to hand over almost £10,000 to hospital staff.

The coaches and players have pushed themselves to the limit during lockdown with a series of fitness challenges to raise money for an Inverclyde Royal fund which helps patients.

It was one of many activities the coaching team have set their players over the last three months.

They hope that the money can help make life easier for people in the hospital, which was at the centre of one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the country.

Head of the Ton children's academy Peter Dunn said: "We were really overwhelmed by it all.

"The amount just kept going up and up as people donated.

"We thought it would stop at £3,000, then £6,000, but it kept rising until it reached over £9,000.

"The staff couldn't believe it when we handed it over.

"They said that we had no idea the difference this would make.

"The money will be used to help patients by providing comforts in the hospital and things that have not been available because of the restrictions."

Peter and fellow coach Callum Robb helped organise a five day fitness challenge at the start of the lockdown.

Since then all the teams have taken part in virtual training sessions and events.

As the end of lockdown draws closer and hopes are raised that youth football can finally return, the coaches are still keeping the players motivated.

At a recent virtual event the under 10s and 11s got the chance to meet three former academy boys who are now in the first team squad at Cappielow.

Top trio Reece Lyon, Lewis Strapp and Alexander Easdale took part in a question and answer session.

Peter added: "The guys were brilliant with the boys and answered all their questions.

"They are still young themselves and came through academy the system.

"I am proud to have coached them all."