Medics tell Hamilton not to play again

Gary Hamilton - fans may have seen his last goal for Glenavon.
Gary Hamilton - fans may have seen his last goal for Glenavon.

Gary Hamilton’s dramatic stoppage time winner at The Oval on Saturday is likely to be his last goal for Glenavon.

The 34-year-old player manager has been told by specialists not to play again after a scan revealed four separate injuries on his hip and groin which need surgery.

“I believe things happen for a reason,” said Gary. “I would love to be able to score another goal but if that is my last goal it is a great way to go out and I will always remember it.

“I have not been able to train for a few months and even on Saturday I had not planned to play. With Fabio (Declan O’Brien) pulling out on Saturday morning with flu I felt we needed another striker on the bench.

“On the back of the scan I have been advised not to play again. The specialist said it was the worst scan he has seen in his 30 years. I need surgery on a series of injuries and at my age to do that to keep playing is not worth it.

“Saturday could have been my last game, I don’t see a way back and unless we are really struggling I don’t plan to play again this season.”

Glenavon need just one more win from the next four games before the split to achieve their top six target.

That would give them home games with Portadown and Glentoran in the run-in.

Perfect games for Gary to bow out and give fans the chance to applaud his wonderful career.

Having bounced back from the Irish Cup defeat and won their fourth match in a row at The Oval last week, the manager is hoping the team can carry that form into Saturday as the Lurgan Blues host title chasing Crusaders.

“The Irish Cup exit hurt us all, none more than me, but I am delighted the boys got their reward last week. It shows what the right attitude can do.

“Crusaders are in a great position and if they don’t win the league it is their own fault,” said Gary.

“They have been in good positions before but faded in January, not so this year and they look like they can go all the way.

“Unlike last year when we had the Irish Cup final to think about we can really have a go and see where we can get to.

“If we get into a situation where we can’t get any higher then I will give the younger players a chance. We have to look at the future and have to find replacements for areas where we have players pushing on in age.

“The only way we can find out about the younger players is to put them in at a higher level and give them that chance.”