Celtic new boy Lewis Morgan can make a major impact at Parkhead, according to the man who resurrected his career.
Morgan’s hopes of becoming a first-team star suffered a huge blow when he was released by Rangers at 16.
But St Mirren’s then youth chief David Longwell spotted the talented winger’s potential when he saw him play in a trial game for discarded youngsters.
He quickly arranged for the Buddies to snap him up before setting about smoothing out the teenager’s rough edges.
Now five years on, his foresight has helped earn the Paisley outfit a £300,000 profit after Morgan secured his Hoops switch last week.
The 21-year-old will spend the remainder of the season with Saints as he looks to lead their Ladbrokes Championship title charge, but Longwell believes it will not be long before he is back at Celtic Park forcing his way into Brendan Rodgers’ line-up.
“I can see him making a big impact,” Longwell, who now works in the United States heading up New York Red Bull’s youth academy, told Press Association Sport. “He’s two-footed with very good technique. He even takes set-pieces with both feet and that’s unusual these days.
“That also means he can play either side of the pitch. He’s very quick too and that’ll fit the way Celtic play.
“They’re always on the front foot, looking to press, so Lewis is ideal for that style.”
As well as shaping Morgan’s career, Longwell has also helped former Buddies John McGinn and Kenny McLean on their way to Scotland honours.
But he reckons Rodgers is the right man to take over the development of Saints’ latest product.
“What encourages me when I look at Celtic is the number of players who’ve developed under Brendan,” said Longwell.
“He’s done a great job with Celtic as a team, but also with their individuals.
“People may question Lewis’ decision to make that move because other players have gone to Parkhead and not progressed.
“But I look at Stuart Armstrong who signed from a Scottish club and has been a massive success for Celtic. That’s who Lewis should look to emulate.
“It’ll be hard because Celtic are a high-level club, but he’s very open to learning, so he’ll soak up all the information Brendan gives him and improve.
“I definitely see him making an impact at some point.”
Morgan was deemed surplus to requirements by Gers, but Longwell revealed it took him just one viewing to identify his star quality after catching the youngster in action during an exit trial.
He said: “Obviously he was a lot smaller then, but I think you have to look beyond that and ask, ‘Where can we get to?’
“We brought him in and he quickly showed us not only good technique, but also a really good attitude.
“There were aspects he had to improve, but the positive thing about Lewis was that he’d always go off and work on them.
“He’s a great example to any young player of what happens when you put the hours in.”