MORTON manager David Hopkin says he has huge respect for the players who took wage cuts to remain at the club.

The Cappielow outfit have slashed their wage bill this season as they try to reach a break-even budget and ensure there is long-term stability at the club.

Players from last season who signed on again took a financial hit, with some believed to have taken cuts of almost half of their previous income.

Hopkin heaped praise on the individuals who did accept less money, insisting it revealed a lot about their character to want to stay on at


He told the Tele: “It’s not easy when you’ve got kids or a mortgage to pay.

“Myself and Dave MacKinnon [Morton’s chief executive] are working extremely hard to make sure we’re getting the right types of players in and the right mentality here.

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“These players deserve great credit for the way they’ve conducted themselves throughout negotiations and it tells me a lot about their character without even seeing them in training.”

Hopkin praised experienced duo Chris Millar and Jim McAlister, two players who have been at the club for large parts of their career.

He added: “I’m delighted we kept Chris and Jim here as both of them have played a large number of years at the club.

“It was important we had them in the changing room, especially if we’re going with a younger team.”

With the plan of bringing more youth players through from the academy into the first team in the next few years, there has been more emphasis recently on involving the younger players throughout the campaign.

As Hopkin expects to work with a smaller squad at the Ton this season, he says some of the teenagers in the youth teams will have to be prepared to make the step-up.

He said: “We’re trying to get some young kids through from the academy. Young Reece Lyon came through last season and I watched him in a few games and you’ve got Lewis McGrattan, there’s a number of them who will be pushing on as we’re going with a smaller squad.

“Injuries and suspensions will kick in and they need to make sure they’re ready to make the step-up if they have to.

“We need to make sure the kids know it will be hard work and they will need to be ready to step in if needed.”