DAVID Hopkin has reportedly emerged as the top target for the vacant Morton managerial vacancy.

The 48-year-old began his playing career at Cappielow and had two spells as a caretaker boss.

The former Bradford City and Livingston manager has been without a club since February, and reports say he is the top choice to replace Jonatan Johansson at the Greenock club.

The Finn left the Ton two hours before their final league game against Dundee United, with his assistant Peter Houston also leaving as well.

The number two revealed over the weekend the pair had left because chairman Crawford Rae wouldn’t allow them to start Charlie Telfer as it would trigger a contract extension for the midfielder.

In the meeting prior to kick-off, Rae also told Johansson and Houston they would not be getting new deals and their current contracts would end, despite Johansson being announced previously on a deal until 2020 by the club.

Houston said: “Jonatan phoned me on Friday night and said the chairman had just phoned him and it wasn’t very clear what they were talking about but one thing he did mention was that we couldn’t play a certain player.

“The chairman then came into see us nearer one o’clock on Saturday and the first thing he did was apologise we couldn’t play this player, which didn’t go down well. In one breath you are being told what team you can play and in the other are getting bulleted anyway.

“You try to build up credibility in the game. Your integrity has to be in place and for the first time in my career, a long career too, you’re getting told who you can or can’t play.

“I’ve always thought if anyone tried to pick my team for me as a manager then I’d walk out the door.

“If we were told we could play this certain player but our contracts were not getting renewed, I would have been standing in the dugout. It’s disappointing.”

Rae responded later saying he understood why they walked out.

He added: “I spoke to JJ last night and said, ‘Listen it is a difficult one, we have as a club been losing money’.

“We had to seek other investment from people and then they have an opinion on how their money is spent.

“All that has an impact on the decision. So Jonatan and Peter’s contracts were not going to be renewed.

“They are really good coaches and Jonatan has a very bright future.

“Unfortunately they reacted after 10 minutes and while I fully understand their decision I think they will regret walking out on the boys when they did.

“However, I understand what they did. It is a brutal game, football.”