THE PFA Scotland’s Player of the Year, Michael Higdon, has vowed that he will not allow his arrest on Sunday night to cast a shadow over the “proudest night” of his life.
Hours after receiving his award at the PFA’s prestigious dinner at Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel, the Motherwell striker was arrested for an alleged assault following an altercation at the city’s Corinthian nightspot.
The 29-year-old has insisted that being involved in the incident was out of character and will not diminish the memory or the pride of being chosen ahead of Hibernian’s Leigh Griffiths, Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn and Andrew Shinnie of Inverness Caledonian Thistle by his fellow professionals.
Reflecting on the events of the evening, Higdon said: “My emotions are up and down, to be honest.
“Sunday night was one of the best nights of my career – in fact it was the best night. To be picked as Player of the Year by my peers was unbelievable.
“For the night to end the way it did was disappointing. These things happen, it’s part of life. At the end of the day I’m still absolutely ecstatic at winning the trophy. It doesn’t get any bigger for a player than winning that award, that’s for sure. It’ll be hard to top that in the rest of my career. What happened later, that was just a misunderstanding. One of these things that sometimes happens. But it doesn’t take away any of my elation.
“I wish things hadn’t happened in the way they did. I’m annoyed at myself for getting myself into a situation like that because it’s not me. I’m not the type of lad who goes out clubbing or to bars. I’m a country pub type of guy.
“That’s the only disappointing aspect of it because I think this was avoidable. I should have known better than getting myself into that kind of situation.
“But, honestly, it’s still the best night I’ve had as a footballer. It’s a career high and that’s all I’m thinking about, rather than any negatives. I hope other people see it like that too.
“These things happen in every walk of life. I’ve had a great season and that’s what I hope people remember.
“Things have been blown out of proportion. There was nothing in it, really.”
Higdon, who leads the Scottish Premier League’s scoring chart with 26 goals so far this season, admits that he would not have been surprised had his fellow goalscorer, Griffiths – who has scored 22 in the SPL for Hibs – beaten him to the award.
However, he paid tribute to his father, his team-mates and Motherwell manager Stuart McCall in guiding him towards his achievement – and also for their support over the embarrassing incident which followed.
“I thought it might have been between Leigh Griffiths and myself,” added the Liverpool-born striker. “That’s the impression I got with what people were saying. The pundits seemed to be 50-50 on who they thought deserved it.
“I was just happy to be nominated, so when my name was read out I was over the moon.
“I’ve said it before, I said it on the stage when I was given the award and I’ll say it again: it’s a privilege to play in this Motherwell team. The manager and coaching staff are tremendous, as well as all the lads too. They’re all having a laugh and a joke with me about what’s happened. I went to Stevie Hammell’s testimonial golf day today (Monday) and they were all winding me up. I just played two holes and went home!
“But they know I’m not the type of person to get involved in situations like this.
“They’re as shocked as I am. But something like this definitely won’t happen to me again, that’s for sure.
“My dad was there (at the dinner) along with my brother-in-law and one of my mates. They were all made up for me and as pleased as me.
“My father has been there for me throughout my career and he’s one of the main reasons I’ve achieved that goal. It meant so much to have him there on the night.
“He was the proudest man in the whole room.
“When I spoke to him on Monday he was surprised by what’s happened as it’s not like me. He wasn’t with me at the time and has been surprised by it.”
On McCall’s reaction, Higdon added: “He’s been brilliant. He just told me I’m Player of the Year and that’s all people will remember. Back in his day, this type of thing probably happened all the time with the Rangers team in the 90s. So he’s totally fine. I’m just concentrating on the rest of the season, and hopefully scoring a few more goals.”