TOP groundsmen from Real Madrid and Arsenal pitched up in Greenock on Tuesday – and heaped praise on the Cappielow turf.

Morton’s Mark Farrell welcomed the Spanish club’s Paul Burgess and Gunners’ training ground guru Steve Braddock on a fact-finding tour to find out how other clubs, particularly those with smaller budgets, manage their pitches.

Paul, who is from Blackpool, is in charge of the pristine pitches where superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale ply their trade.

He told the Greenock Telegraph: “Twice a year I usually go on a tour looking at facilities all around the world and sometimes I like to go to smaller facilities because you see more creativity and thinking outside the box.

“I’m also looking at ways to be more environmentally-friendly and how we maintain our pitches in Spain, and Mark is someone I can pick up some tips from.

“I love football and I get just as excited coming here as I would at Ibrox or Celtic Park.

“Mark’s pitch is really good.

“We follow each other on Twitter so I’m always seeing pictures of his pitch and with the crane in the background.”

Arsenal ace Steve, who worked with Paul at the Gunners, was also full of admiration for the Ton groundsman, whose Cappielow surface is revered across the country and also used for Celtic youth games and by the Scotland squad before big matches.

Steve said: “I like what Mark does.

“It’s a good example for my lads at the training ground.

“They have all got their equipment but it’s good to see a bit of manual work and doing things that other people wouldn’t dream of doing.”

The special guests were joined by Simon Gumbrill, from Stadium Grow Lighting which has provided a new lighting rig at Cappielow, and Richard Haywood from equipment provider Campsey Turf Care Systems.

Ton groundsman Mark said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet guys working at big stadiums.

“It’s great to have people from such big clubs visiting us.”