JACK ROSS hailed Celtic-bound Lewis Morgan as his brace took St Mirren five points clear of Dundee United at the top of the Championship standings.

The forward is set to complete a move to Parkhead when the transfer window opens next month but he will stay in black and white for the second half of the campaign.

Morgan showed why Buddies boss Ross is so keen to retain his services for the remainder of the title race as he netted both goals in a 2-0 win over Csaba Laszlo’s side at the Paisley 2021 Stadium.

The 21-year-old turned in a Man of the Match winning performance to inspire the Saints and produced two moments of magic in an otherwise low-key second tier affair.

Morgan was the star of the show for St Mirren but Ross was pleased with the all-round performance of his side.

He said: “It was hard-fought but we expected it to be. United are a strong team with very good individual players and they were better than us in the first half.

“We were resilient enough, though, and the penalty save from Craig Samson was a big factor. That allowed us top regroup at half-time and we played with more freedom after that. They showed the courage of their convictions and trusted each other.

“The thing about Lewis is that he’s got pace and tricks but he also has an end product. His goals and assists record is fantastic and his finishes here were outstanding.

“He was the match winner for us and he has that capability. We’re delighted to have him and there should be clarity on his future within the next seven days.

“Unless something dramatic happens, though, he’ll be here for the rest of the season, which is brilliant for me as a manager and great for the club.

“The speculation affected him for a four-or-five week period but he’s known what his decision is for the last wee while now and that’s been reflected in his recent performances. He’s grown and what he has now is a controlled arrogance about him now.

“You need that belief in yourself as a player and you don’t score the kind of goals he did tonight without having that. He’s a great young man and he’s handled the situation terrifically well.

“It was a great result, the best crowd we’ve had and it was on live TV, which is the most appropriate way for us to end this calendar year.”