New Morton head of development squad Darren Barr says it was a big decision for him to turn his footballing focus from playing to coaching but an opportunity that felt right for him.
The 32-year-old was appointed Cappielow Under-20s boss this afternoon, rejecting offers to continue as a player in order to advance his off-field career.
Barr, who is working towards his A License, had been combining duties as a defender at Dumbarton with work in the Forth Valley youth academy, and he viewed the Ton position as one he was ready for at this stage.
Speaking exclusively to gmfc.net, he said: “I saw myself going down this route. I know I’m only 32 and the playing side was still there; there were a couple of offers to continue as a player.
“Dumbarton were brilliant with me. I can’t thank them enough. I was there two years, I was captain, and we stayed up and competed really well in the Championship, and I could have stayed.
“So it was a big decision – but the right one. At this time in my life, I think this is the right step for me. This is a good club and a great opportunity to be given, because I know Morton place real importance on the development squad.
“That’s the way it should be as well. Clubs are putting a lot of emphasis on their young boys, and I like to think I can help with that.
“I grew up with that at Falkirk, experienced it, and know how it works – what the next step for them will be like [going from Under-20s to the first-team] and how they’ll be feeling because it is a big jump.
“What I’ve liked is that every time I’ve played against Morton, you can see the youth coming through. And speaking to Warren [Hawke] and the gaffer [Jim Duffy], there are opportunities there if they’re good enough.
“It’s also progression for me as a coach. I’ve been working with Falkirk, in the Forth Valley academy, for three years now, starting off with the Under-14s and the Under-17s, so I feel this is the next step as a coach.
“I’m here to learn; I’m here to speak to people. I didn’t see myself coming straight out of football to being manager – I wanted to learn the game as a coach, every side from the youths all the way up.
“Big Mick McArdle was brilliant with me at Falkirk, and I’m hoping to have the same partnership, communication, association, and friendship with the head of youth here as well.”
The ex-Hearts, Kilmarnock, Ross County, and Scotland defender has also been registered as a player and will keep himself in peak condition to turn out for the Under-20s or first-team if and when required.
He added: “Still being able to play means I can help them out on the park and off the park as well. I see myself playing when needed more than anything else.
“If I can help somebody along or the squad is thin, these sort of things. So I’ll still be ready and still be fit, but it’s obviously at the manager’s discretion.”