MORTON yesterday confirmed they have released four first-team players following the end of their Ladbrokes Championship campaign on Friday evening.

Jamie McDonagh, Kudus Oyenuga, Conor Pepper and Jon Scullion will not be offered new deals at Cappielow as manager Jim Duffy’s summer clear-out begins.

Loan stars Aidan Nesbitt, Jamie Lindsay and Luke Donnelly will all return to parent club Celtic whilst Bryn Halliwell and Lawrence Shankland will also head back to Gartcairn Juniors and Aberdeen respectively.

Pepper had been at the club since 2014 where he was part of the League One title-winning squad, making over 30 appearances from the midfield. 

The Irishman went on to move to full-back the following season before his career-threatening knee injury ruled him out of contention.

Scullion also joined the club back in 2014 and Duffy reckons his talent cannot be questioned. But the manager insists style-clashes may have prevented the diminutive forward from making as big an impact as he would’ve liked.

Ton supporters’ cult hero Oyenuga and Northern Irish Under-21 cap McDonagh only signed on the dotted line at the beginning of the season, but Duffy was quick to thank the pair for their unwavering commitment to the club since they joined up.

Duffy said: “I’d really like to thank the boys. It was a very difficult decision to release them because they’d all contributed so much over the last couple of years.

“They’re all really good boys and the amount of effort and work they put in was testament to the type of the boys they are, and that always makes it more difficult.”

He added: “Conor has had a serious injury problem over the last couple of years. He’s had his operation and we wish him well, and we’re happy to help him with his rehabilitation.

“But the most important thing is that he gets himself fit and gives himself a chance to maybe try and play professional football again.

“Bryn was short-term and we thank him again for coming in and helping us out in a difficult period. Young Jon has terrific ability, but it’s maybe just down to the style I play. He maybe just needs to go to a manager who allows him to flourish, and maybe that wasn’t something that happened under myself.

“Kudus and Jamie came in this year, two outstanding boys who put such a lot of work into the team and played in many different roles, and you need that as a manager.

“But ultimately I just felt that it was better for them to move on and further their careers elsewhere, so wish all those boys well and thank them for their total commitment to the club.”

Meanwhile Morton have offered new contracts to Michael Tidser, Mark Russell, Ricki Lamie, Andy Murdoch and Michael Doyle.

The Ton gaffer said: “These boys will be discussing it with their representatives and get back to me in due course.”