STEPHEN Welsh says his first month at Morton has been a baptism of fire — but he believes being thrown in at the deep end will stand him in good stead. 

The highly-rated defender arrived at Cappielow on a season-long loan deal and has put in some solid performances.

The youngster admits that it has been a steep learning curve facing the likes of Aaron Doran, Stephen Dobbie and Lawrence Shankland in recent weeks.

But he believes that it will make him a better player in the long run.

He told the Tele: “I’m enjoying being in and around a first team environment. Obviously I’d done a bit of pre-season at Celtic, but it wasn’t competitive games.

“It’s a good chance for me to show what I can do; and I knew it would be tough, so it’s a good challenge for me.

“It’s given me a bit of a grounding; there’s a good old school feel about the place and you’ve got guys playing for win bonuses, so it’s completely different from what I was used to from reserve football.

“In the reserves if you get beaten it’s not the be all and end all because they’re focusing on your development, but here you need to win every week to stay in the league and finish as high as possible.

“The gaffer having a lot of faith in me gives me a good bit of confidence, but it’s not something I can rest on. 

“I need to build on that over the next few weeks, starting against Dunfermline on Saturday.”

Welsh admitted that facing the in-form former Morton loanee Shankland was his toughest test to date.

He admitted the striker’s quick-fire double in the opening five minutes of Saturday’s contest at Tannadice killed Ton off.

He added: “I don’t think I’ll come up against a better striker than Lawrence Shankland this season. The pace that he plays at is for a higher level.

“It was a really big test for me. His first-time finishing was second to none. 

“We didn’t play the way we did against Dundee, and conceding two goals in such a short space of time killed the game really, we couldn’t get back into it.”