East Kilbride Thistle co-boss quits football as violent assault takes mental toll

East Kilbride joint boss Thistle has stepped down from his role as he continues to cope with the trauma of a violent attack that scarred him for life.

Alan Paterson is lucky to be alive after he and two friends were attacked by a group of men on Village Main Street last month.

The 44-year-old was specifically attacked on Sunday April 4 while he and his friends were waiting in a taxi home.

As a result of his injuries, the postal worker suffered a deep laceration to his face and had to be taken to the hospital in a police car rather than wait for an ambulance due to severe blood loss.

Six weeks later, Alan remains traumatized by the event and continues to suffer from a concussion. He also has no feeling in his right hand.

Most heartbreaking of all, Alan revealed his injuries have left his two young children “fearful”.

It is not known if a knife or other sharp tool was used in the attack, but the Murray man bears a large scar on the left side of his face, just millimeters from his eye.

The father of two found the courage to talk to him Lanarkshire live sport about the attack and wanted to thank the young couple who came to his aid and called the police after the horrific attack.

Recalling the violent episode, Alan told us: “A friend of mine has only one hand and a couple of boys asked what happened to ‘your little spastic hand’.

“They said all things to him and he told him he lost his hand to a bomb in Iraq when he was serving.

“One of the guys said something again and I could see him going for my mate. Next I wake up in the hospital because they attacked all of us.

Alan Paterson was left with a large scar on his face

“I want to thank the young couple who came to my rescue because without them I wouldn’t know where I would be now.

“They came to me a few weeks after the attack and said they put a towel over my head, called the police and took me to their apartment.

“The police car took me straight to the hospital because we couldn’t wait for an ambulance due to the blood loss.

“But I don’t remember that.”

The brutal attack took a huge mental toll on Alan and he has decided to retire from football after almost 40 years of football.

And that’s despite efforts to return to football after being released from hospital.

But after just a handful of games and the end of the league season, he says he can’t continue amid the loss of confidence and concern for people staring at his scar.

East Kilbride co-boss Alan Paterson says he has no idea why his side ended up losing so badly
Alan Paterson returned to EK Thistle for a second term last year

Now he’s focused on watching his five-year-old son Kian play for EKYC and his ten-year-old son Aiden at EKFC and Claremont.

He added: “My little boy broke down a while ago and said he was scared of the wound – that was on my mind.

“Being free from my work allowed me to watch my kids play football and I felt like it was time to put my family first and that made my decision for me.

“I also need to focus on getting myself to where I want to be in life before I do anything else.

“I am free from my work at the moment. I have all sorts of meetings about trauma, stress, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

“I have to tick all those boxes and I went through a phase where I wasn’t in a good place physically.”

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No one has been arrested in connection with the incident so far, but Scottish Police have confirmed they are still investigating the incident and are investigating to identify suspects.

Although there were cameras on the street where the incident occurred, none were live and recording nothing at the time.

In addition to the severe facial wound, Alan’s two kneecaps are badly bruised and he is struggling with the symptoms of his ongoing concussion.

He told us: “Football gets a lot of bad press sometimes but it’s a great community.

“Everyone at East Kilbride Thistle was brand new to me.

“And I can’t thank my family and friends enough for their support. All the messages I have received in the last six weeks have been great.

“But I don’t have a good memory right now – sometimes I forget things. Some days I’m sharp, some days I’m not.

“So it’s not fair to the players if I can’t make decisions.

“I’m just totally done with playing football now.

“But I’ve made great memories and friends that will be with me for a lifetime.”

Russell Craig, left, with co-boss Alan Paterson

Meanwhile, co-CEO Russell Craig also announced he would step down after 10 months.

In a club statement posted to the Jags’ Twitter page last night, he said: “I think now is the right time to step down. We’ve had this group of players for 17 years and the goal was to get them to play senior football.

“Now is the time to step aside and let this group compete.”

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