INTERIM Morton boss Anton McElhone has revealed former manager David Hopkin paid players out of his own pocket to help support the cash-strapped club. 

McElhone says his former boss went beyond the call of duty during his 18 months in charge at Cappielow by paying appearance money, covering travel expenses — and even paying catering costs.

The Tele understands Hopkin resigned over a dispute with Ton chairman Crawford Rae about finances and was facing the prospect of having to cut his playing squad.

McElhone told the Tele: “The first thing I would say is that people don’t realise just what David did for the club.

“The money that he spent and the things he did for the players, like appearance money, players’ wages and giving players who aren’t signed travel expenses. 

“He also bought food in. You’ve got Tony and Jane who make us our breakfast and lunch in at Cappielow but he was paying the shortfall for that every week.

“He did so many things selflessly and that’s something I want to make sure that people know about because he did so much for us.

“Not only was he managing a football club, but he was managing people and all the ins and outs going on at the club. 
“If the gaffer had come to the club maybe four years ago then it would’ve been a totally different scenario with where the club was financially.

“What he did in the 18 months that he was here, it beggars belief for what he’s done and what he’s created with all the wee finer details, like the food, the gym and the ice baths, stuff like that keeps players happy.

“Massive credit should go to David, and what he did for the club as well as guys like Timmo [Dave Timmins] and Dave MacKinnon, who’s still here, who run about ragged to do things for us. These guys put in a shift.”

McElhone believes it’s important to build on the good work Hopkin put into the club.

The Ton caretaker says he faced a difficult team selection before Saturday’s 2-1 win over Dunfermline and praised the players for pulling off a stunning victory. 

He said: “My job from here is to provide stability for the players and the club going forward until a new manager is appointed.

“At the minute it’s a case of on you go, keep doing what you’re doing because that’s what they have been doing for the last 18 months, working hard for each other and for the club.

“The most important thing is when you look at the team selection from the weekend and you’ve got guys who’ve been at the club a little bit longer, guys that we know can do the job and that we trust.

“There were some really tough decisions made in the build-up to the Dunfermline game — Ross MacIver was so unlucky because he’s played so well and not done anything wrong, Markus Fjortoft was the same.

“Luca Colville was another one who was in and out, he’d been in against Arbroath and on the bench against Hearts but wasn’t in the squad.

“They were huge decisions but it needed to be done because it’s a team game and as a club we needed to go up to Dunfermline at the weekend and get something to essentially keep things rolling.

“We’re always one game away from catastrophe and that’s just the way football is but it was a fantastic result and that’s all credit to the players.”

McElhone hopes Ton can build on the East End Park triumph during the festive period, starting with this weekend’s clash against Queen of the South.

He added: “The Christmas period is important regardless of what’s going on but this year it’s even more important that we do well.

“It’s a shortened season and we can’t afford to be caught wanting and we want the club to be in a good place going into the New Year.

“We’ve got Queen of the South on Saturday, Inverness on Boxing Day and Alloa away, they’re all tough games but we need to go into those games with the same mentality of being hard to beat, and on the front foot from the get-go.

“These are the same things that the manager wanted from the squad, so it will be the same but the only thing is that it’s not him standing on the touchline.”