MORTON have recently entrusted former Motherwell and St Mirren striker John Sutton with the development of their young talent, so you would assume that he can spot a player. And during the last season of his playing career, he had his eyes on one all right.

Sutton’s final campaign was spent playing alongside one of the Scottish game’s brightest young hopes, and he knew that Lewis Morgan would also be moving on from St Mirren to pastures new, but even he is a little surprised by early reports coming out of Celtic about the level of the first impression the 21-year-old is making at Lennoxtown.

Not that he should have been, he concedes, because alongside the technical ability Morgan possesses is a strong will to succeed and a determination to be the best player he possibly can.

“I was reasonably confident that he would go there and make an impression, but Celtic have got a lot of really talented players,” Sutton said.

“Lewis has got a lot of attributes; he has got tremendous ability – he’s up there with anyone. He’s two-footed and that’s a huge plus.

“But probably one of his biggest strengths is his attitude, and he will be very willing to listen and learn. There’s no doubt that he takes very good care of himself, and being only young, there is only one direction he is going to go in.

“He is always trying to make the most of his talent. We were lucky at St Mirren in that the training facilities were very good, and then Celtic again will be up another notch.

“I would guess that he will be in there quizzing all of the fitness coaches about his conditioning. He’s very big on getting fitter and faster and stronger, and it’s the same with the managers and coaches, he will be wanting their feedback.

“He is pretty level-headed. It sounds silly to say this is his main strength in many respects when you look at what he can do on the ball, but he is very focused, and he is very confident in his own ability.

“I don’t think the hype or anything like that will affect him too much. He enjoys playing football, going to training and doing the extra bits that he has to do.

“Of course, it’s a difficult team to get into, because they’ve done so well. But I don’t think there is any doubt that at the age he is, he is going to keep improving.

“By the sound of things, he has got off to an excellent start, and further down the road he is only going to get better.

“The situation is really good for him, so hopefully he gets a couple of breaks, and the sky really is the limit for him.”

Sutton recognises though that a good start in training is just that – a start. Breaking into the Celtic side on a regular basis has been beyond other wide players like Ryan Christie and Jonny Hayes in recent times, but what should give Morgan real hope in Sutton’s view is that his style of play dovetails perfectly with how Brendan Rodgers sets up his side.

“It’s always difficult to tell how far a player can go,” Sutton said. “Sometimes boys surprise you and go on to better things than what you expect, and sometimes you see boys who you think have got real talent and it just doesn’t work out for them.

“But the way Celtic play fits Lewis beautifully. If you look at Celtic, probably two of their best players over the last two seasons have been James Forrest and Scott Sinclair, so on the one hand, you can look at it and say that is the calibre of player he is going to be up against to get a starting role, and on the other hand you can say that the way the team is set up has allowed those two to flourish and that will be a good thing for Lewis.

“I don’t think he could have got a better fit in terms of the way a team plays than the way Celtic play. Whenever I played against them under Brendan Rodgers, you could see the way they set up with their wingers.

“The formation will suit him with the fact that he is very good with both feet, he has pace and he can finish and score goals.

“I don’t think you would ever turn the challenge down, and I wouldn’t expect Lewis to. He will be quietly confident in his own ability. There’s no doubt that he’s got ability, so it’s just a case of him getting his head down, and when the opportunity comes he has to be in the position to take it.

“The length of contract that he has signed shows that the club have got faith in him, and over that length of contract – even though he’s a good player now – I think he’ll be an even better player by the time he has finished there.”

As for Sutton, he has his own challenge ahead to make an impression as a coach after a long and successful career – chiefly in Scotland – where he plundered goals for over a decade.

He admits it was a huge wrench to finally make the decision to hang up his boots, but the fact he is still involved in the game every day has softened that blow somewhat.

“I can’t complain so far,” he said of his move into coaching. “The boys have been back a week and I’ve enjoyed it; the boys have been really good. I’m just looking forward to getting into a few games now.

“I think it would be unfair on the players who I’m coaching to keep playing too. I’ve been thinking about things a lot and, planning the sessions out, I don’t think I could find enough hours in the day to concentrate on everything I would need to.

“I’m very happy coaching the players, it’s a new experience for me, but one I’m enjoying.

“I’ve got some great memories, there’s no doubt about that. I love playing and it was my life, but where I’m really fortunate is that I’ve got another really good role, and as much as it was sad to leave the playing behind, it’s something really exciting to do now.”