FORMER Hearts and Falkirk defender Darren Barr has been appointed as Morton’s new under-20s head coach.
The 32-year-old, who has spent the last two seasons in the part-time ranks with Dumbarton, will also be registered as a player at Cappielow and be available for Jim Duffy’s first-team in case of emergencies.
However, the Scotland cap will be concentrating on building a coaching career after taking over from Andy Millen, who made the switch to Kilmarnock last month.
And, after a couple of years combining his role as under-17s coach at Falkirk with captaining Dumbarton, Barr insists the time is right to focus on the next step in his career.
He told @CCP_sport: “I’m not getting any younger. Some might say I’m a bit young for this still, but I don’t think so.
“It was too good an opportunity not to grasp and it’s one where I believe I can progress as a coach.
“I’m looking forward to it and I’m grateful for the chance. I’ve been working with the under-17s at Falkirk and I feel I’m ready to help the players at Morton progress their careers.
“I’ve been doing this coaching [at Falkirk] for a reason and if I need to take a step back from playing first-team football then so be it.
“The competitive side will still be there and if that’s me playing with the 20s to help out the young boys at Morton then I’ll be delighted to do that.
“Over the last couple of years I’ve come to realise what I like and what I expect from working with young players and this is a natural progression for my coaching career.”
Barr will still provide defensive back-up for the Morton first-team but chief executive Warren Hawke is adamant the Greenock outfit have made the appointment based on his coaching credentials.
Hawke told gmfc.net: “We’re delighted to have Darren on board. We had a lot of excellent candidates and we just felt Darren gave us that little bit more.
“He’s a young, aspiring coach and has obviously made the decision that this is the direction that he wants to go in and concentrate on the coaching side of things.
“As far as first-team duties are concerned, he will be solely there as back-up just in case of an injury crisis. This is about the coaching – Darren has got the job to be our 20s coach and bring on our young players.”