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Football: ARCHDEACON FORCED TO QUIT; ST MIRREN MORTON.

MORTON defender Owen Archdeacon has been forced to quit football because of a serious ankle injury.

Archdeacon was told he must give up the game - or risk facing serious disability in later life.

The dejected 33-year-old said: "I was half prepared for it as I have been suffering for the last nine months.

"After every game I had pain from the ankle but I played through it and wanted to continue. However, I went to the specialist and he told me that my ankle was a mess."

Archdeacon began his senior career with Celtic where he won League and Scottish Cup medals.

He then joined Barnsley in the late 1980s before returning to Cappielow in 1997 after a spell with Carlisle. Morton, though, have confirmed that local lad Archdeacon will stay with the club as a scout.

Meanwhile, manager Billy Stark believes there could be a bumper crowd for today's clash with bitter rivals St Mirren at Love Street .

He said: "Saints are at the top of the table and all the ingredients are there for an exciting derby match.

"There is just the one Premier League match at Aberdeen so I reckon there could be a crowd of around five or six thousand."

Stark has Harry Curran suspended but Warren Hawke and Iain Ferguson are on standby.

Saints manager Tom Hendrie hopes it will be third time lucky for his side after the last two games against Morton.

The first match at Cappielow ended 0-0 but the second game still rankles with Hendrie - a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Stark's men way back in April.

Hendrie said: "St Mirren are going well at the moment but we know that our unbeaten run can't last forever.

"Hopefully, it does not go in the derby match but given my track record in these fixtures then you never can tell.

"I just hope there is no repeat of that horror scoreline today."

Hendrie admitted that 5-1 rout just four months into his tenure at Love Street was one of his lowest points of his managerial career.

He said: "After a run of good results, we were hit by this derby disaster.

"I can assure you that I've not had many 5-1 defeats in my managerial career - and both sets of fans are quick to remind me of that black day.

"Today's match against Morton is not about revenge as St Mirren have had a positive start to the season and we wish to keep our unbeaten run going for as long as possible."

Saints will be without injured Mark Yardley and striker Tom Brown is doubtful with a calf knock.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Haggerty, Anthony
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 18, 1999
Words:439
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