LEWIS Morgan still has the time and ability to become an important Celtic player, according to the manager who sold and then lured him away from Parkhead.

Sunderland boss Jack Ross watched in delight on Tuesday night as the 21-year-old winger scored his first goal for the Wearside club in a 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers, a result which bagged his new team a place at Wembley for the Checktrade Trophy final on March 31.

Morgan and Ross worked together at St Mirren, where he was spotted by Brendan Rodgers, and when it became clear the player was available on a loan deal in January, the two were reunited at the Stadium of Light.

With Neil Lennon almost guaranteed to be named full-time Celtic manager, he will be pleased to know that one of his players he has yet to meet has been performing well down south.

Ross said: “I think everyone knows what I think about Lewis. When he left St Mirren for Celtic, I said at the time he was good enough to play there and I stand by that.

“I still believe Lewis is good enough to be a Celtic player. He has the ability. Okay, it’s not easy to make a 100 per cent judgment because you don’t know what another manager is looking for in terms, for example, of how someone fits into the way a team plays.

“However, I have not seen anything to suggest his confident and belief in himself has diminished. Lewis has always had that. Look, he is a good footballer and he’s still young.

“Lewis looks in a good place, mentally. I also think he’s relishing playing for a big club, which Sunderland definitely is.”

Morgan was voted man of the match in last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle and has delighted Sunderland fans and his team-mates with his natural ability.

Ross said: “I was very open with Lewis when he came down here. I told him that we had good players in wide areas and that it would be tough for him to get in the team and play regularly. Lewis understood that.

“And right away, once he came down, he impressed the other players in the squad who took one look at him and said: ‘This guy is a good player.’

“The reality of being a loan player is that you have got to be really, really good – every single day. And that’s because you have to prove you should play ahead of the boys who have been here from the start, who are our players if you like.

“I’m delighted with how he’s settled into the group. The other players have enjoyed having him with us.

“What Lewis has done is he’s got the bit between his teeth and has been really good over the last few games. I’m delighted for him because until you walk into Sunderland, you don’t realise how big a club this is.

“Lewis has loved it. He has enjoyed living down here. For a young man it’s a brilliant experience.”

Morgan admitted that getting to Wembley would be a dream. Sunderland will face Portsmouth and it is reckoned that every one of the 90,000 seats will be taken up.

He said: “Sunderland is similar to Celtic with the demands on you – and rightly so. With a club this size, the only thing on our minds is getting back up the divisions and trying to win trophies along the way.

"That was a big draw for me when I came down here – trying to win this cup and then trying to win another title.”