MORTON academy graduate Darren Hynes says he is on cloud nine after a whirlwind couple of weeks that has saw him earn a new two-year contract at Cappielow.

The 22-year-old's stock has risen considerably after bursting onto the scene against Queen of the South after nearly three years out of the first team.

Hynes has today revealed that he always felt his opportunity would come if he continued to do the hard work on the training ground.

The full back admitted that it was a no brainer to extend his stay on Sinclair Street as he looks to become a mainstay in Ton’s starting 11.

He told the Tele: “It’s been a great couple of weeks for me personally. I’ve managed to get a couple of games under my belt and there have been a few decent results to boot.

“Then out of nowhere I was offered a new contract which I’m delighted with. I’ve been at the club since I was 16 and come up through the academy and I’ve loved my time here, so it was an easy choice to extend it.

“I’ve been here the best part of five years now and I’m happy when I come in every day, I’ve loved every minute, so it was a no-brainer for me.

“With the leagues below stopping in January, it looked like it was getting harder for younger players to go and get games, so I’m glad that it’s all paid off in the end.

“I’ve always had the mindset of if you work hard, then hopefully good things will come your way, so that’s what I just kept on doing.

“I was training hard and then staying behind and doing extra bits myself, so I’m glad that it's paid off, especially after the year that we’ve had in football.

“I was out on loan for the first half of the season, which was a great experience for me getting minutes.

“It gave me the opportunity to go and experience just how physical men’s football can be, so it was a really good opportunity for me to learn.

“Apart from that, I’ve just had to work away in training and bide my time for my opportunity and then take it with both hands, which I think I’ve done, but the hard work starts now. I’ve got to keep my place and keep improving.

“The league’s coming to an end probably at the wrong time for me, because I’m just getting started.

“Hopefully I can just keep putting in good performances and make the most of the opportunity I’ve got here and help keep the club in the division.”

Hynes hopes that by signing a contract extension he can follow in the footsteps of fellow academy alumni Reece Lyon and Lewis Strapp who have amassed over 100 first-team games between them.

He believes that there is a clear route for young players to work their way up to walking out in front of a crowd at Cappielow.

He said: “There’s obviously been a few now that have come through the academy and cemented their place in the first team, which is what I want to do.

“I know I’m in the team but it’s up to me to keep it up.

“When you’re in the academy and you see a clear pathway like that it gives you a boost.

“Hopefully there continues to be a pathway to the first team and that this can spur more players on to try and make the breakthrough in the coming years.”