MORTON boss David Hopkin has vowed that the days of the club losing home-grown talent for nothing are over.

Players such as Thomas O'Ware, Mark Russell, Jai Quitongo and Scott Tiffoney have all exited Cappielow in the last couple of years for little or no compensation despite years of coaching going into their development.

But Ton have recently secured highly-rated Reece Lyon on an extended contract after the 19-year-old's impressive breakthrough into the first team.

The manager is determined to blood more youngsters - and says the club is on its way to being recognised as a place where talented prospects will get a chance to play.

Hopkin said: "Signing up Reece Lyon was a statement of intent.

"We maybe haven’t handled our assets in the best way over the last couple of years and we’re trying to change that.

“It’s important we look after our players and keep that unity in the squad, because he’d earned his way to that level."

The Ton boss has also urged the next batch of prospects to stake their claim for a place in the first team squad.

Hopkin told the Tele: “You’ve got Lewis Strapp and Reece who’ve made the jump and players behind them need to be looking at them as the benchmark.

“We’re a young side and the players believe they can go and play.

“You look at the squad, we’ve got a lot of 18 to 22-year-olds playing week-in, week-out.

“They’ve got a chance to develop and play first team football.

“It’s important that everyone in Scotland knows, if you want your kid to come and play football, this is the right club to come to."

Hopkin - former Cappielow youth graduate - also believes that the club's emphasis on young players is already paying dividends, with Morton back on the radar for top clubs who want to send talent out on loan.

He said: “Now we’re getting offered players from the top clubs in Scotland and England because they see that we’re giving youth a chance.

"If your kid wants to come and learn and have a professional upbringing this is the place to do it.”