ANDY RITCHIE is remarkably trim these days for a 61-year-old former footballer who in his pomp could never have been described as an Adonis.

He was more a donner, with extra meat, and a couple of pints kind of guy.

Still, what a player this man was, Morton’s greatest ever, a maverick blessed with a touch of genius. He is a rarity in that there can’t be any supporter who doesn’t have a soft spot for him.

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And this ‘Idle Idol’ as he was known wouldn’t mind getting the boots on again and, if the old joints would allow, having a go at Celtic’s defence this Saturday when Morton head to the champions for a Scottish Cup quarter-final.

Ritchie isn’t daft. He knows that should Brendan Rodgers’s men play well they will win. But he hasn’t ruled out a shock for his former club, managed by pal and one-time team-mate Jim Duffy, because the Morton attackers can cause a problems for less than convincing back four.

“Dedryck Boyata is out injured right now and for me is probably Celtic’s best defender,” said Ritchie. "Jozo Simunovic has been a bit hold cold, Mikael Lustig has always been a steady Eddie and the young boy Kieran Tierney is a fantastic young player.

“But even going back to Ronnie Deila - he was less than successful in picking central defenders.

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“Jai Quitongo will love that. He loved it against Aberdeen in a semi-final when he was very unlucky. He has all the attributes.

“He is bright, alert, strong, wants to run in behind people. I am sure he will give them problems.”

Aside from Quitongo, there is Gary Harkins, a talented footballers who is a throw-back to Ritchie in that he’s not one for tracking back.

What he can do, however, is score and create goals. The veteran might have a bit of fun on Saturday if Celtic are not up to speed.

“Gary plays the game in a similar manner to how I thought I played the game myself,” said Ritchie. “I remember early on in his career people were shouting for Gary to change his style of play and everything else but it’s not possible when you play the game that way.

“He has great awareness, he uses and passes the ball and is physically strong. He also scores you a goal. Gary has far more good attributes in his game than he has negatives.

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“He has played a big part for Morton this season. Jim Duffy has used him wisely if not sparingly. He has all of the attributes but he also has the million dollar attribute, he scores goals."

They key for Morton is, Ritchie believes, is that the players believe. Even his team let themselves down

“I remember coming to Hampden to play here with Morton in the semi-final of the League Cup (on December 1979 and a 2-1 defeat Aberdeen) and somebody said to me before the game they were worried we would freeze.

“And I’m thinking, ‘what you talking about? It’s a great day coming here in the semi-final of the cup with 25,000 of your own fans travelling up on the day.’ I loved cup semi-final day coming in here to play an Aberdeen team on their way to winning European trophies.

“Yet I froze that day. We froze as a team. To this day I don’t understand why. I don’t know if I got out on that park and forgot what I had come here to do.

“But it wasn’t until the last 20 minutes of the game we started competing. I hit the post, scored a penalty and we should have got a draw out of it. We would have won the replay.

“But Morton have been here. They have been to Ibrox and been to Celtic Park and I don’t think that will happen. Jim Duffy is a wise old owl. He’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Ritchie insisted that all the pressure was on Celtic and this could help a team who themselves are playing well and third in the Championship.

“I would say that anything under the domestic treble this season for Celtic would be looked upon as failure,” he said. “Morton stand beside Celtic and the treble, in the way Rangers and Aberdeen do in the league.

"Morton get a free hit at this as they have had in the previous big games when they have done well."

Andy Ritchie was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup