DEREK Anderson has acknowledged the sterling work being done by local boys’ club East End United after swooping to sign six of their players for next season.

Ryan O’Hare, Daniel Ferguson, Shaun Rodgers, Kenny Scullion, Josh Lafferty and Jack Lindsay will all link up with the Ton academy’s Under-15s side next term after putting pen to paper recently.

The number could even rise to seven, with fellow East End 2001s team-mate Declan Stewart currently on trial with the Cappielow club.

And impressed head of youth Anderson thanked coach Shaun McWaters for his co-operation and support over recent months as he permitted his boys to take part in training and trial matches.

He told the Tele: “We’ve signed six boys from East End for next year’s Under-15s and have one or two on trial. They’ve come in and done really well. The likes of Shaun Rodgers and Ryan O’Hare were in high demand. Kilmarnock and Partick wanted Ryan and he went and had a look, but he came back and said he wanted to sign for Morton.

“At the moment, the boys come in with us when they can and they will join up with us permanently in the summer.

“Shaun McWaters has been absolutely brilliant, being very accommodating by giving us the boys as trialists whenever he can.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him and East End.

“Big Alex [McWaters] takes their 2005s and he let the head of our junior academy Ross Gourdie go up and talk to their boys and parents to tell them about our plans at Morton. It’s been great.” East End 2001s coach Shaun McWaters, the uncle of Ton 17s player Alex McWaters, said: “From our team, Morton have signed six players so far and another boy Alistair Taylor has signed with Kilmarnock.

“So I’ve actually got about seven or eight leaving to go pro-youth next year, and it’s a big year for the boys because pro-youth jumps from Under-15s to Under-17s the following year.

“I’ve had [Morton scout] Mick King, the Blackburn scout John Jackson, John Joyce the Liverpool scout, and Everton scouts at our games. We’ve had tons of scouts.

“We thought it would be better for the boys to go to Morton, because an hour and a half training is only an hour and a half.

“If you’ve got a boy and they want him training at Celtic three nights a week and then on a Sunday, you’re leaving at 5pm to train at 6.30pm and you’re not getting back down until 9pm.

“But most of our boys can make their way down to Battery Park themselves and don’t need to rely on their parents.

“It’s not such a big financial pressure either.

“And Morton have been great too. We came to an agreement that they could have the boys in for training to have a look.

“I’ve had this wee team since they were under-nines, so that’s been about five or six years. Our team will fold this year because losing eight or nine makes it a big ask to go out and find that many again.

“But you’re proud when you see the boys move on.

“That’s obviously what guys like us take football teams for: you’re there to help the boys progress and push them up to the next level.”