By Calum Brown
On Monday, Hamilton Accies boss Brian Rice admitted to an addiction to betting, having allegedly breached the SFA’s gambling rules.
Rice’s admission to the addiction sent shockwaves through Scottish football, but the support and loyalty shown by Hamilton to the 56-year-old has been truly commendable.
In a statement on the Club’s official website, the head coach admitted he had a gambling problem in the past which he had been recovering from, but has since struggled to combat the addiction that has unfortunately consumed him again.
He said: “I wrote a letter to the Scottish FA self-reporting my gambling and did so as an admission that my disease has returned, in order that I commit to recovery. I have apologised to those at the club in whom I have sought counsel and I apologise today to the players, fans and colleagues I have let down through my gambling addiction.
“I am eternally grateful to the club for its unwavering support, both seen and unseen. I have spoken to my management team and players and they have been great and they understand the reason for me speaking out today. It is my intention to atone through openness, honesty and togetherness.“
Rice has been backed by many involved in Scottish football, none more so than the Football Club that employs him.
In a statement released by the Club, McGowan stated: “On behalf of my fellow directors at Hamilton Academical, we are proud that our Head Coach, Brian Rice, has today spoken publicly of his struggles with gambling addiction.
“Having spoken extensively to Brian since his addiction resurfaced, I know that he’s followed a well-worn path from smaller, less frequent bets to the snowball effect of a daily addiction. He has re-engaged fully with professionals, is committed to recovery and has the full support of all at Hamilton Academical.“
The Lanarkshire outfit face Hibernian at Easter Road tonight in their first Premiership fixture of the new year, with Rice’s side sitting 11th in the table, five points clear of bottom side Hearts.
Hamilton’s Head of Communications, Marcus Nash, believes that both Brian Rice and Accies can put this news behind them and move forward as they focus on football, with the challenge of remaining a top-flight club top of the list this season.
He said: “I think it would be unfair for me to comment heavily on the recent news as really everything from a club and Brian’s perspective is in the statement. However, there’s not a single player, staff member or fan from Hamilton that’s not behind Brian.
“We’re all in support of him and he’s in the best possible hands at Hamilton, a club that has always supported people struggling and caught up in addiction.”