O'Connor drug arrest the latest dip in a once promising career

Detaining of three players on Class A charges delivers another blow to authorities in a troubled season

A difficult season in Scotland suffered another setback yesterday when it emerged that three players, including the international striker Garry O'Connor, had been detained by police on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs.

O'Connor, who is currently without a club after being released by Barnsley last month, was stopped by police in the early hours of Saturday morning in Edinburgh's Hope Street. The 28-year-old was arrested for possessing cocaine but released without charge pending further inquires.

Meanwhile, also in Edinburgh, two Hearts players, Ian Black and Robert Ogleby, were arrested early on Sunday after allegedly being caught with a Class A drug in the toilets of the Lava & Ignite nightclub. A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Police said: "We had two people detained, both were cautioned and charged."

O'Connor's arrest is the latest downturn in a promising career that once saw the forward sign for Premier League Birmingham City for £2.7m. His three years at St Andrew's were blighted by injury and O'Connor, who has 16 Scotland caps, the last coming in September 2009, joined Barnsley on loan last September. However, four goals in 22 games resulted in him being let go by the Championship club.

In recent weeks he has been training with Celtic, though an incident when his Ferrari Spyder F1 430 was found abandoned after crashing into a bridge at Tranent, East Lothian, raised eyebrows that a club which had suffered a run of adverse publicity should wish to run the risk of more bad headlines.

O'Connor, who started his career with Hibernian and secured a lucrative move to Lokomotiv Moscow in 2006, is no stranger to the perils of drugs. In 2006 he walked out of the Scotland squad just before a European qualifier against Ukraine and later said it was because his elder sister Kerry, a recovering drug addict, had tried to commit suicide.

On winning his way back into the Scotland squad, O'Connor claimed that he was committed to turning over a new leaf after selling his car collection – which included a Hummer – and spending £20,000 on removing tattoos from his neck.

"I had too much too young and there wasn't anybody around to help me deal with problems like there is now," he said in 2009. "I was thrown into the deep end and left to fend for myself. The money turns your head when you are a youngster and I think it changes everybody.

"I'm proud that I've learnt my lesson and I'm certainly not flash any more. There will be no more Ferraris – it's just a Range Rover for me. The tattoos went because they sent out the wrong message."

The Scottish domestic game will be glad to see the back of 2010-11 when Celtic take on Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden on Saturday. A referees' strike in the autumn, March's touchline clash between Celtic manager Neil Lennon and the Rangers assistant Ally McCoist, and the death threats received by Lennon that culminated in a number of parcel bombs addressed to him and a number of Celtic figures being intercepted in the post have frayed nerves at the Scottish Football Association and led to high-profile interventions from both the police and Scottish government.

Only last week Lennon was attacked on the touchline at Tynecastle by a Hearts supporter during Celtic's 3-0 win. However, this weekend's drug arrests threaten to ensure the controversy north of the border drags on well into the summer.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future