Lewis Morgan: Celtic target can play at highest level - St Mirren boss Jack Ross

Lewis Morgan runs with the ball for St Mirren against Dundee United
Lewis Morgan has scored 13 goals this season in St Mirren's promotion bid from the Championship

Lewis Morgan has the qualities and work ethic to succeed at Celtic, according to his manager at St Mirren, Jack Ross.

Morgan underwent a medical on Thursday before his expected £300,000 move to the Scottish champions.

The winger, 21, is set to be loaned back to the Buddies, who top the Scottish Championship by three points, for the remainder of the season.

"I believe he's got the attributes to play at the highest level," Ross told BBC Scotland.

"Loads of people in this country will question that because that's the way we work in Scotland, we like to be negative about our own, but I have every confidence he'll go on to progress in his career.

"Having worked with him closely for over a year now, day in, day out, he's undoubtedly got enough talent and natural ability [to play for Celtic].

"He's worked ever so hard at aspects of his game. He's incredibly two-footed which is a testament to him - that didn't come naturally to him. You can't tell which is his stronger foot; he can take corners with both feet.

"His end product is very good. It's probably the most pleasing part for me as a manager - he scores goals and makes goals, and you have players who get into good areas and don't have that final bit of quality.

Lewis Morgan scores for St Mirren at Morton on 2 January
Morgan 'scores goals and makes goals', his latest strike coming at Morton on 2 January

"He's very quick. He's one of those players who probably moves as quick with the ball as he does without it, which is a skill in itself.

"Allied to that, he's improved his physical strength, his aerobic fitness. A whole number of aspects to his game, he's improved upon, adding to his natural gift."

Ross says ensuring his star player remained at St Mirren for his side's title push was an "absolute prerequisite" to any deal with Celtic.

And he believes Morgan is good enough to command a starting berth at Celtic Park, should he impress boss Brendan Rodgers in pre-season.

"The player wanted to stay here, and it suits all parties because by that time he'll have another 20-25 first-team appearances under his belt," Ross said.

"I think it'll take him over 100 competitive matches he's played in his young career, which will stand him in great stead.

"When the summer comes, for players who are used to playing regularly, it is a different challenge if they find themselves not doing that. I don't see why that'll be the case for him; I don't necessarily assume that'll be the case.

"I think he has enough in his locker to make sure he's playing more often than not. Time will tell on that one, but if either situation arises, because he's such a level-headed and intelligent young man, he'll deal with whatever comes his way."

'I'm hopeful we'll have at least one, possibly two, new additions'

St Mirren lead Dundee United by three points at the top of Championship, having played a game more than the Tangerines, with Morgan scoring 13 goals in all competitions this term.

Ross says the "belief is growing" among his players with each passing week they remain at the league summit.

Manager Jack Ross celebrates St Mirren's recent 3-2 win at Queen of the South
Ross is confident the Buddies can maintain their charge for promotion to the Premiership

And the former Alloa Athletic boss is confident he has the necessary funds to augment his squad in the January transfer window, as they push for a return to the top flight.

"It's not easy to replace a player of [Morgan's] quality when the time comes along," Ross conceded.

"I'm quite fortunate that I'm at a reasonably stable club now. We've generated reasonable transfer fees over the last year. We sold Kyle McAllister to Derby in January, Stevie Mallan to Barnsley in the summer.

"It won't be a surprise to know I'm happy with my team because of the way they've performed this season. But I'm in a position where, if I can bring in one, two, possibly three that I think will strengthen us as a group, we can do it.

"There are a couple of players we've identified already and we're pushing hard with. But when you're doing well and it's quality ones you're after, they're sometimes the hardest ones to get in because they're not in a position where they're desperate to find a new club.

"So we'll keep working on that. I'm hopeful that in the next week to 10 days, we have at least one, possibly two new additions in."

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