Kenny Shiels will officially begin work at Morton today looking for both short and long-term success at the club. The former Kilmarnock manager has ended six months out of the game and warmed up by watching his new side go down 2-0 to Alloa at Recreation Park on Saturday.
The result leaves Morton, who sacked Allan Moore last month, rooted at the bottom of the Championship table five points behind Cowdenbeath and nine behind Dumbarton.
Shiels is enthused by the challenge of avoiding relegation and ensure participation in what looks like being a cash-rich Championship next season.
He said: “It’s good to be involved again and getting back into a dressing room, the environment that I feel most content in. I did not go in at half-time but spoke to the players after the game.”
“It is a year-and-a-half contract I have agreed and hopefully it will become longer. I want to take this club as far as I possibly can. It is a different job in a different league to the Kilmarnock one and I am prepared for it mentally and physically. I need the players to reciprocate that.”
The goals for Shiels are straightforward as he explained: “We need a short-term fix of ten points, but we also need to combine that with long-term plans in terms of youth development.”
“I have a big challenge. We need to get up to the safety of eighth place. That is not easy and the first priority is to get the five points back on Cowdenbeath.”
The 57-year-old’s first task is to bolster the spirits of a side that are the only one to defeat Celtic domestically this season but have only won twice in their league. “Confidence needs to be lifted,” said Shiels.
The second priority is to start scoring goals with the Cappielow men having the lowest total of just 15 in their league.
He said: “Morton are good in terms of possession and that is a good start for any team. Whilst the possession is good, it lacks penetration and I have told the players that. There is no point in dominating the ball if you cannot have a shot at goal.”
Shiels wants his team to engage with the fans and added: “Football is a game of the people and the supporters are the most important part of a club. It is a great to have the chance to acknowledge them and help their club to get better. There is a big latent support at Morton and we need to delve into that.
“There is a great community programme at the club and a lot of good people at it as well. Warren Hawke is working away with the youth structure alongside Derek Anderson and I am going out to make sure that the club is successful both in the short and long term.”