MARK Russell watched team-mate Luca Gasparotto shine for Morton in the Canadian’s first spell at Cappielow — and the defender reckons his friend can emulate the form that made him a key player.

Left-back Russell was delighted to see 22-year-old Gasparotto pen a short-term emergency loan deal at Morton after watching him fail to nail down a first-team spot at Falkirk under Paul Hartley.

Russell believes Gasparotto can use the frustration of not playing for the Bairns to star for the Ton for a second time.

The centre-back has already shown this season for Morton what he is capable of with two impressive outings against Dunfermline on his second debut and against Brechin last weekend where he almost scored in the 4-1 win.

Russell told the Tele: “The last time Luca was here at Morton he was one of our best players, I thought. 

“He comes in and does his job, nothing special or flashy, he just works really hard.”

“He does well so I was really glad to see the big man signing back with us again. Ideally we’d like it if he reached that level of form again. 

“I don’t see why he won’t be able to.

“I actually spoke to him when he first came back and he was saying he was a bit frustrated at Falkirk, so I think he’s quite happy to be here and he’ll try his hardest to play to the best of his ability for us.”

Russell insists Luca has gelled immediately with the rest of the first-team squad like he’s never been away. 

The ex-Rangers youth enjoyed a good season in 2015-16 at the club.

A number of impressive performances in the blue and white stripes of Ton that campaign saw him nominated for the 2015 Canadian Soccer Association Under-20 Player of the Year. 

He was also called into the full international squad for a FIFA World Cup qualifying double header against Belize in September 2015. 

Russell is adamant he can recapture that form at Cappielow this season and show Falkirk what they’re missing.

He added: “Obviously he has played with us before and he’s played alongside most of the players who have been in the Morton team. 

“He’ll bed in well, as if he’s never been away.

“Even the players he’s never played with or met he’s just been introducing himself in the last few weeks and getting to know everyone again.

“That’s pretty much the way it’s been — he’s back but it really is like he’s never been away. 

“I’m sure he’ll be able to do again what he did the first time he was at the club.”