MORTON goalkeeper Andy McNeil has been released by the club so that he can move to China.

The 29-year-old is to take up a coaching position with a Chinese Super League club.

McNeil arrived at Cappielow midway through last season and was due to be with Ton until May, but manager Jim Duffy has agreed to let him go.

McNeil said: “I had the opportunity to go and work as the reserve goalkeeping coach for a team in China, Guangzhou R&F, which wasn’t something I expected; it came out of the blue.

“I spoke to the manager about it and he obviously wanted me to stay at the club, but he also recognised it was a unique and pretty good opportunity.

“He was very, very good about it and he just said I should do whatever I wanted to do. If I wanted to stay, he would be delighted to keep me at the club because I had played quite a few games in the first half of the season.

“But he also completely understood and said that if I wanted to go and take on this opportunity, he was more than happy to support that as well, which was great. It’s not going to be easy but I’m really excited to go there and get started.”

McNeil kept six clean sheets in 14 first-team appearances for Morton. His last match for them was in the 1-0 win over over Queen of the South on December 24.

McNeil told Ton's website: "When I came in in February last year, I had been at Alloa and it didn’t go too well there.

“I left and wasn’t really actively pursuing anything. The gaffer Jim Duffy phoned me up and asked what I was doing, and I initially wasn’t too keen on getting back into football. I had no intentions of playing again.

“But after speaking to Jim and hearing him talk, I changed my mind and ended up signing and having a really good time. The success the team has had has been fantastic.

“We just missed out on the play-offs last year, the team’s sitting third at the moment, we got to the League Cup semi-final and had a great day out at Hampden, and even the big Scottish Cup game at Celtic was pretty cool.

“It ended up being a massive turnaround from where I was at Alloa to where I ended up, so I had a really good time with a fantastic bunch of guys.

"I had a really good time at a good club that was enjoying success and I feel really lucky.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to leave at this time if it wasn’t for this opportunity. It’s a really good club with really good people."

Meanwhile Ton development squad midfielder Ruaridh Langan has this morning joined junior outfit Neilston on loan until 31 January.

The switch comes as colleague Alex McWaters‘ stint at Largs Thistle has been extended until the same date.