CHRIS Millar admitted it was the end of an era as he said goodbye to team-mate Jim McAlister after the Morton skipper hung up his boots following Saturday's defeat to Arbroath.

Millar arrived at Sinclair Street at the same time as McAlister rose through the ranks and they both amassed nearly 500 appearances for the Ton between them before their careers took them to St Johnstone and Hamilton respectively.

The 38-year-old believes that his captain is an inspiration for any young footballer in Inverclyde and says he will be a huge miss for the club.

He told the Tele: “I’m gutted that Jim’s retiring, it’s my second spell with him here at Morton and he’s been a brilliant servant to the club.

“We came through and had come into the team at the same time away back 18 or 19 years ago, so it is really sad to see him retire and he’s just beat me out the door.

Morton rocked by sudden retirement of club captain Jim McAlister

“He knows what the club is all about, this was his 10th season here.

“He’s had such a great career, which isn’t only great for him but for Inverclyde as a community as he’s a local lad.

“That’s something that Anton [McElhone] touched on with us, he’s someone for young players to look up to. He comes in every day, demands everything in training, he works hard and he could still probably play until he’s at least 40.

“Guys in the dressing room should look up to him, because that’s what they see with him, what it takes to make the next step-up and that’s what they should be striving to do.

“He’s a fantastic leader in the dressing room, a great guy and I am truly gutted that he’s going because he brings so much to the team.

“He’s got an offer that he couldn’t really refuse and with everything going on with Covid, you can’t really fault him for that.

“He’s one of my mates in the dressing room, obviously with us helping out with Anton too, he’ll be the big miss for the club.

“I’d have loved him to have seen it out and maybe left at the end of the season, but circumstances dictate unfortunately.”

Millar admitted that he and his team-mates were disappointed that they couldn’t give McAlister the send-off he deserved following the 1-0 loss to the Red Lichties.

The midfielder also admitted they lacked that much-needed cutting edge to put Arbroath to the sword on Saturday.

He said: “We were gutted that we couldn’t get the win for him, we said that after the game.

“We wanted to send him off on a high because he deserved that for all the effort he put into the club over the years.

“We’re also disappointed because, albeit we had the better of the possession in the first half, I feel as if we lacked that wee bit of cutting edge in the final third.

“If we want to be talking about competing at the top end of the league then we need to be more ruthless in the final third and that can only come from us.

“We were disappointed with the way we conceded too, we feel we could’ve shut the full-back down a bit better.

“But we’ll analyse it and look forward to getting stuck into Raith Rovers, they put five past us last time and that’ll firmly be in the back of our minds.”