Morton development squad forward Alex McWaters has this afternoon joined junior outfit Largs Thistle on loan until 4 January 2017.
The Greenock-born frontman signs for the West Super League Premier Division outfit in order to gain first-team experience and links up with former Ton youth players in Alan Gilbride, Creag Little, Nicky Jamieson, and Matthew Ashe.
Alex is a product of the club’s youth academy and featured prominently as the Under-20s won last season’s Development League West title, scoring 11 goals, and can still turn out for Andy Millen’s side this term as part of his loan.
Although he is yet to make his first senior start, the 18-year-old was an unused substitute in a Scottish Cup tie against Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena last season.
Largs player-boss Bryan Slavin, a former Ton defender who made 40 first-team appearances between 1995 and 2000, told gmfc.net “I know a wee bit of Alex but it’s more through knowing Derek Anderson and Andy Millen on the youth set-up and playing with both of them here that the loan has come about.
“When we heard Alex was available on loan and we had the chance to sign a player of his quality, it was a no-brainer, so it was a matter of jumping on it as quickly as I could and trying to do as much as I could to entice him down to Largs and avoid him going somewhere else.
“For us it’s great and I’m hoping that the few months he’s with us will help him develop as well in terms of experiencing different football, playing adult football to an extent.
“It’s something I did when I was a player here. I spent time with my dad’s hometown team, Dalry Thistle, at 18 just like Alex. Before that I was a mile away from first-team football.
“It gave me a real insight and knowledge as well as toughening me up quite a bit for coming to Morton, so I know the benefits and boost he can get out of coming to us and I’m sure it will stand him in good stead.”
And Slavin hopes that this loan could lead to further opportunities to bring more Ton kids to Barrfields in future, adding: “Greenock is the nearest town to Largs and it’s a cracking football place – I know that from being here myself – so it’s a great source of players.
“Obviously with the youth set-up here at Morton, that I know really well and obviously know folk who are involved with it, hopefully we can keep tapping into it.”
Image (main): Gary Bradley
Image (inset): LargsThistle.org.uk