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An all-too-brief career for Buddie Bal.

Cast an eye over a number of successful Saints sides and there is always one or two forgotten men.

Sam Parkin in the League Cup winning team, Iain Anderson when you hark back to Gus MacPherson's promotion winning side.

And subject of today's Flashback, Sergei Baltacha.

The midfielder, who could also slot into defence, would actually amass over 60 appearances over four years with St Mirren.

But in some ways it is easy to forget that he was ever really there - despite being part of the Millennium champions side.

Son of famed USSR football Sergei Snr, it was always going to prove tricky for him to follow in his father's footsteps, which had seen him feature over 200 times for Dynamo Kiev in his native country.

But it wasn't for a want of trying, with Sergei Jnr first playing football in the Kiev academy before moving to Scotland and joining the set-up at Love Street following his father's caretaker reign in charge of the side.

Under Tom Hendrie, Baltacha impressed when given the opportunity and would eventually bag a Scotland Under 21 call-up alongside Hugh Murray, having grown up and went to school in Scotland.

The lanky midfielder later admitted he didn't know the words to Flower of Scotland, "but then I don't know the Ukrainian national anthem either," he laughed.

Hopes were high for the youngster as he made his way through the ranks having featured throughout Saints sole season in the top flight.

And although he still featured when the Buddies were relegated once again, Baltacha was keen to further his career south of the border. A short, injury-hit spell at Millwall followed, before unsuccessful trials with Queen of the South and St Johnstone saw his career halt in its tracks.

A brief foray into the juniors followed but he decided to put the buffers on a once-promising career and retired aged just 26.

Saint Sergei St Mirren FC is a club with a proud tradition and a history to match.

They have been at the centre of the Scottish game since their formation in 1877.

Today, we look back at former midfielder Sergei Baltacha's four-year stint in Paisley that promised so much more.

The lanky midfielder later admitted he didn't know the words to Flower of Scotland

CAPTION(S):

Blondie Sergei Baltacha celebrates with Mark Yardley on his back

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Paisley Daily Express (Paisley, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 19, 2018
Words:392
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