The Kids at School Used My Crutches for Goalposts; NOW IAIN STEWART'S READY TO RUN RINGS ROUND RANGERS

By Grahame, Ewing | Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), February 20, 1996 | Go to article overview

The Kids at School Used My Crutches for Goalposts; NOW IAIN STEWART'S READY TO RUN RINGS ROUND RANGERS


Grahame, Ewing, Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)


Goal machine Iain Stewart has lifted the lid on the heartache of a childhood spent on crutches.

The 25-year-old Caley Thistle striker has overcome years of crippling agony to shoot to the top in Scottish football.

Now he's ready to put the boot into his boyhood heroes Rangers in the Tennents Scottish Cup.

Stewart was just eight when he was struck down by Perthes Disease - a wasting disorder that affects the hip and pelvis.

He was on crutches for FIVE agonising years and suffered long stints in hospital as he bravely battled his way back to fitness.

Today, he's Scotland's joint second-top scorer with Celtic hero Pierre van Hooijdonk.

And he has spoken exclusively to the Daily Record to give hope to other kids hit by the same condition.

Stewart revealed how his love of football helped pull him through the pain of those boyhood years.

He was so desperate to be a success at the game that he ignored pleas from teachers who tried to ban him from playground kickabouts.

And he even used his crutches as GOALPOSTS when he joined in bounce matches with his mates.

He recalled: "The problem was a crumbling of the hip bone and I was lucky because mine wasn't as serious as others.

"My sister, Rhona, who's two years younger, also had it and although she gets about normally now she'd never have been able to do anything athletic.

"She had to have an operation on her leg but she isn't handicapped in any way.

"It first affected me when I was eight. I was in hospital for a while with my leg in plaster and weights attached to my feet.

"I was also put in a sling and I HATED being strapped up. I used to get rid of it and run away.

"But it never crossed my mind that I should stop playing football.

"Even when I was limping badly, I'd still play. My teachers banned me from playing but I did it anyway and even used my crutches for goalposts.

"I thought the problem would have held me back but eventually it disappeared by itself.

"Every year I had to go back to hospital but it has never bothered me since - although maybe that's why I'm so slow.''

But that wasn't the end of Stewart's problems. When his family moved to Torry near Aberdeen, he discovered to his horror that the village didn't have a football team. …

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