MORTON manager Jim Duffy has tied up five of last season’s squad on new deals as well as agreeing terms with four others.

Skipper Lee Kilday and Thomas O’Ware have joined midfielder Ross Forbes in putting pen to paper on new two-year deals.

Defender Ricki Lamie has signed on for one year after a stop-start season while diminutive forward Jon Scullion has been given six months.

Conor Pepper, Jamie McGowan and Thomas Orr are expected to sign in the coming days after agreeing one-year extensions, as are Dylan Stevenson and John Tennent with six-month deals.

However, veteran striker Peter MacDonald has followed defenders Frank McKeown, Jordan Cairnie and Luke Irvine out of the Cappielow exit gates after he was told his contract would not be renewed.

Speaking exclusively to the Tele, Duffy said: “Lee has signed a two-year deal now and we’re delighted with that.

“I think when you look at players, particularly defenders, you look at consistency, and I think he has probably been the most consistent defender, last year and this year.

“He played right-back last season and then we put him in at centre-half this season, and he did really well against some top-class players.

“He has had very few injuries, and these things are important because it allows him to have that consistency and gives continuity to the team.

“Ricki has signed for a year and he’s someone who had two significant injuries through the season. He started off very well but got injured, lost his place and found it hard to get in again.

“He was a bit stop-start after that with injuries, and for him first of all he’s got to try and get a run injury free and then get in the team.

“I think that he’s shown he’s good enough to play in the Championship, but he is still searching for that consistency.

“If he can add that to his game then again he gives different options because he’s left-sided and gives us more balance.”

Scullion starred as Andy Millen’s side lifted the Development League West title this term and he has signed on again, with four fellow Under-20s players and Irishman Pepper set to follow suit.

Duffy added: “Jon Scullion has signed a short-term deal until the end of December and Conor has agreed a one-year deal.

“We just agreed that with Conor on Tuesday and he’s not put pen to paper yet. I’m delighted with that and his situation is a wee bit similar to Ricki’s.

“He’s had injuries - one towards the end of last year and one towards the end of this year – so he’s another who’ll be looking to stay injury-free.

“Conor’s only just turned 22 and was moved to right-back, where he did very well for the vast majority of the season.

“He’s just got to add final ball to his game, that final delivery, to make a huge step forward because everybody knows his energy and his commitment is terrific and his enthusiasm is infectious.

“Jamie McGowan and Thomas Orr have agreed one-year deals and Dylan Stevenson and John Tennent have both agreed deals until December 31. They should all sign those today.

“These are teenagers we feel have got potential, but again it’s about making that next step from doing well with the 20s to pushing into the first-team squad. That’s the biggest step.

“In pre-season they’ll come with me and be with my group, as will Jai Quitongo, and then it’s really up to them after that in terms of how far they push themselves and how much they want it.”

MacDonald leaves Cappielow after returning for a second stint with the club and Duffy recognised his contribution, particularly in the second half of the League One title-winning season.

He explained: “Peaso has been released. He came in last year and obviously scored a few important goals for us to help us gain promotion.

“He was involved in the first couple of game this year, against Falkirk, Hibs and St Mirren, and did well but unfortunately a succession of injuries caught up on him eventually.

“You can’t give Peaso enough credit for his determination to try and get back to playing again, but unfortunately it was just a step too far this time.

“But he’s a great pro who will always be highly regarded at Morton that’s for sure and we wish him well in his career whether he continues playing or goes into coaching.”

Derek Gaston, Mark Russell, Michael Tidser, Jai Quitongo, Ruaridh Langan, Alex McWaters, John Mitchell, Scott Tiffoney and Lewis Strapp were already tied to the Ton beyond this summer.