MOTHERWELL manager Stuart McCall has revealed the embarrassment which his top goal-scorer Michael Higdon felt following his arrest last weekend, hours after he picked up the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award, but McCall has backed the Englishman to bounce back and demonstrate why his peers honoured him.
The striker was arrested in Glasgow city centre on suspicion of assault but was not charged, and McCall hopes the focus will now be on his achievement.
McCall said: “First and foremost he was absolutely humbled to win the award and it’s an award you don’t actually know you’re getting until it’s read out. I think emotion-wise, and drinking all the coffee and shandy he had, obviously didn’t help.
“He was slightly embarrassed the day after because of events later on, which nobody really knows the full story of what happened. He felt he had let a few people down but he had been there with his family, his dad, his brother-in-law and friends, and it was a real emotional night for him.
“When that blows over, which hopefully it has done now, he has still been player of the season and he was voted that by the players, he is very proud of that.
“We have all been in scrapes before and you learn from it. He is certainly not a night-clubber, he doesn’t go out partying. He maybe just got caught up in something which he shouldn’t have done but I think the majority of us have been there. Unfortunately, he spent a night (in the cells) sobering up. But it’s over now and he is looking forward to the last few games and hopefully scoring a few more goals.”
McCall has not given up hope of re-signing Higdon and he does not expect him to move to another Scottish club. But he has potentially-lucrative options elsewhere. McCall said: “He has loved his time here. He has different agents putting stuff in his head. It’s all maybes. But it comes to a stage where you have got to make a decision.”
McCall also did not rule out James McFadden extending his short-term deal. “I think James will wait and look at his options,” McCall said. “He has been linked with Celtic and will wait to see what’s happening there. There is no definite that he won’t be staying but it’s certainly no definite that he will.”
McFadden meanwhile has admitted he is disappointed to have been ruled out of contention for the Scotland squad to face Croatia next month but will take encouragement from the words of manager Gordon Strachan, who has told the 30-year-old he will not be involved in the World Cup qualifier in Zagreb on 7 June. McFadden won his 48th and most recent cap against Liechtenstein in September 2010, shortly before suffering a knee injury that kept him out for more than a year.
Since rejoining Motherwell in February, McFadden has scored four goals in nine starts and shown evidence of the qualities that helped him strike 15 times for Scotland. But he will have to wait until after the Croatia game to resurrect his international career. “I’ve spoken to the manager and I won’t be involved in that game,” McFadden said. “He says I have missed a lot of football and he doesn’t want to put too much pressure on me to play in the game. He wants me to get a good pre-season and maybe I’ll come into the reckoning after that.
“I can understand where he’s coming from but obviously at the same time I’m disappointed. I want to play as soon as I can. If he asked me to play now I’ll be able to. But I take a lot from the fact the manager has phoned me and explained it to me.”