Northern Ireland and Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty has marked a major milestone in his recovery from a serious gambling addiction which has cost him many thousands of pounds.
Lafferty, who returned to the Glasgow club last month after a successful spell at Edinburgh side Heart of Midlothian, put a post on social media today describing how he’d gone 365 days without placing a bet.
“Never thought I would ever see this day,” he tweeted. “It’s been 1 year today since the last time I placed a bet. I was in a dark place and lowest iv (sic) ever been and to come out of it and celebrate this achievement is amazing and Iv (sic) never been happier. 3️6️5️ days.”
In August 2016, Lafferty was fined £23,000 by the Football Association after breaking betting rules during his time at Norwich City.
He was also warned about his future conduct after he accepted an FA misconduct charge in relation to a football bet he placed in February that year.
The FA’s rules prevent professional players not only from betting on matches in which they are involved or have an influence, but also on any other football-related matter anywhere in the world.
Last year, the 30-year-old publicly opened up about his struggles.
In an interview with BBC Scotland he revealed how his gambling problem began after his move from Burnley to Rangers in 2008.
He spoke about how after training he “didn’t have anything better to do” than go to the bookies or place bets on horses, dogs or roulette online, at times “losing big.”
Lafferty says the support of his wife and his former employers at Hearts – particularly assistant coach Austin MacPhee – have been “massive” factors in his bid to overcome his addiction.