Ahead of Callum Morris’ second Dunfermline debut, boss Allan Johnston reveals defender turned down Premiership advances

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

DUNFERMLINE manager Allan Johnston has revealed that Callum Morris snubbed the opportunity to remain in the Premiership in favour of a second stint at East End Park.

Morris, 26, has penned a deal with the Pars until the end of the season after leaving Aberdeen by mutual consent on Hogmanay and, following a short-break, joined up with his teammates on Monday morning.

The Northern Irishman will be in contention to make his second debut for the Fifers when lowly St Mirren visit on Saturday, albeit it remains to be seen whether Johnston believes he has the required sharpness after seven months without a competitive fixture.

Nevertheless, Johnston reckons the capture is a major coup for Dunfermline – currently on an eight-match unbeaten run – as they eye a push for the playoffs in the second half of the season.

He said: “We are always looking for signings that will improve the team, improve the squad and add a bit of competition. Callum ticks every one of those boxes.

“It is difficult to get players in during January so we are absolutely delighted to get someone in of his quality and get it sorted so quickly. I know for a fact that there was interest from the Scottish Premiership so it is terrific that he wanted to come here.

“He is a player that wants to get back to playing matches, doing well and winning games again.

“Callum had a great time here and had a brilliant relationship with the fans and he nows this is a good place to come and get back to his best.”

Morris arrived in Scottish football in 2012 when then-Pars boss Jim Jefferies snapped him up. He quickly became a mainstay and, sticking with the club through the trauma of administration, made 67 appearances in two seasons.

Morris joined Dundee United in June 2014, playing 38 times and even scoring against the Pars in a League Cup tie last term.

He made the switch to the Dons last summer following the Tangerines’ relegation to the Championship but failed to force his way into Derek McInnes’ plans. His last competitive outing remains Dundee United’s 3-2 win over Inverness on May 6, 2016, in which he was sent off.

Despite being frozen out at Pittodrie, Johnston has no doubt the popular defender is returning to Dunfermline a better player than the one who departed two-and-a-half years ago.

He continued: “Getting a move to Aberdeen just shows the calibre of player he is, as does getting called up for Northern Ireland’s first-team earlier this season.

“He played an awful lot of games for Dundee United in the top-flight so I’ve no doubt he’ll have improved since the last time he was here, when he was only a young lad.

“Callum is the type of player you want to improve the team and keep pushing up the table.”

Meanwhile, Dunfermline have confirmed that loan stars John Herron and Paul McMullan will remain at the club until the end of the season.

Herron, who joined from Blackpool last summer, has made 13 appearances for the Pars and has emerged as a key figure in the heart of midfield.  His deal was due to expire at the end of this month, however he has signed an extension that will see him remain in Fife for the remainder of the campaign.

McMullan, who has scored three goals during his stint from Celtic, had a recall clause in his season-long loan, however it has been confirmed that the Hoops will not exercise that option and the tricky winger will also stay at East End Park.

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