There has always been a respect for Brian Rice the football coach from Scott Arfield. The Rangers midfielder counts Rice as one of his vital football educators, as No.2 to John Hughes at Arfield’s first club Falkirk. Now hehopes that Rice’s openness in acknowledging the return of his gambling addiction this week in admitting to breaching the SPFL rules on betting will help educate young players in the perils of getting caught up in the punter-culture that the player considers all-pervasive in Scottish society.
“Coming out and saying he’d a problem takes bravery. If it helps anyone – in or out of football – come clean with their addiction, then obviously it’s an amazing thing to do. He’s opened up on having had an addiction in his past and it’s amazing that he has,” said Arfield.
“For anyone, talking about an addiction and coming clean about it, opening up to the public, must have been difficult for him to do. The fact he’s the manager of a Premiership team, I can only imagine it must have been hard for him. When you see a manager coming clean about his own problems and addictions is an amazing thing to do. Hopefully it helps somebody.
“Outside dressing-rooms, that’s all people talk about – having a bet on the game. I’ve not seen any players who’ve really had problems betting on football but I know they’ve had problems betting on different things. If they’re betting on football it’s against the rules. If they’re betting on other things, if Chipper’s honesty and opening up about things helps them in different ways, helps them save money and stop gambling, it’s better for everybody.
“He was a big influence on me, he was brilliant. Yogi gets the plaudits but if you talk to anyone who wasat Falkirk, and even during his time at Hibs, everyone talks very highly of Chipper on the training pitch.
“Players who are still in the game, they hold Chipper in such high regard because him and Yogi were fantastic, particularly for us coming through at Falkirk. I think there was something like 11 players from the under-19s team that ended up making their debuts in the following two seasons, which was unheard of. That shows you how big an influence he had on my career.”