DEPARTING winger Cameron Salkeld admits that keeping Morton in the Championship was the perfect end to a difficult period on and off the park after six weeks out in the cold.

The 22-year-old English winger’s exit from Cappielow was confirmed on Monday after he penned a one-year-deal with Championship rivals Ayr United, re-uniting with former gaffer David Hopkin at Somerset Park.

Salkeld believes that he has come out of his time in Greenock a stronger person after a turbulent two years away from home.

He told the Tele: “We got there in the end, it’s been a long season.

“It’s been a tough season for me at times, quite lonely as well at points.

“I don’t know if a lot of people know this but I’d had to go home the weekend before the Montrose game because my dog, Enzo, had passed away really suddenly, he was only seven-months-old and I got a call on the Monday from Gus [MacPherson] asking me to come back up and play in the Montrose game.

“My head was all over the place because it was really horrible what happened.

“At this point I’d been out in the cold for six weeks, so it was tough to come back in.

“I drove back up on the Tuesday morning and thankfully played a blinder in the second leg, scored and done well and thankfully contributed and helped the boys turn the tie around.

“It was a really tough spell for me that was but I think it shows just how committed I was to the cause despite the fact I’d been left out for the best part of six weeks.

“I was sat on the bench after full-time on Friday night and I said to myself, 'how have we even ended up in this position', because contrary to belief we actually had a good squad here.

“It just shows that everything that’s gone on behind the scenes - with managers coming in and out – there’s been so much disruption and the lads could never really settle, it makes things tough.

“I’m just grateful that we got there in the end and that Morton didn’t get relegated because it would have been horrible to see them go down and to have been a part of that.”

Salkeld admits that he didn’t have to think twice about re-uniting with former boss Hopkin at Somerset Park.

He thanked the club for all they have done for him during his two-year stay and he regrets only being able to have played in front of the fans for a year after a season of closed-doors games due to the pandemic.

He added: “Working with the gaffer again was a big selling point for me, but also the opportunity to have a bit of stability and playing games again.

“It was a no-brainer for me really and I hope that I can just really kick on now.

"Moving up to Scotland has been tough, because I was only 20 when I first moved up.

“I had to grow up really quickly and football is just a mad, mad sport so things change really quickly at times, even between training sessions.

“The club were great to me and Sam Ramsbottom, especially in the first year, and when it was good it was great, like the other night when we had fans in. "It’s a shame that I could only get one season playing in front of them."