Club Loyalty: Something You Don't See Too Much Of These Days
07 May 2011 10:40
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Some players would jump ship at the first chance if their team were to be relegated. Not Alex Neil. Hamilton captain Alex Neil has signed a new three-year deal at New Douglas Park. There had been speculation over his decision with relegation hanging over the club. Neil, whose contract was due to end in the summer, has endured a torrid time with two hip operations in the space of a year, the most recent of which has blighted this season. H has been back in action in recent weeks but it looks as if his efforts may be too late to prevent the Lanarkshire club being relegated. Accies are now six points behind second-bottom St Mirren with just three games left, although the Buddies also have a 10-goal advantage. However, Neil, who is suspended for the game against Hibs after being sent off against St Mirren last week, had never intended leaving Accies despite their predicament and interest from other SPL clubs. Neil said: "I owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone at the club and hopefully I can repay them in the next three years. I have worked with Billy Reid for six years and I am glad that he is still my manager and Ronnie McDonald is still my chairman. We are on the verge of going down but I feel as if I owe them to get them back up, if we do go down. They stuck by me for so long that it wasn't in my head to leave and I didn't speak to anyone else. When I was out, they never gave up on me. I had made a couple of attempts at coming back and it didn't pan out as I expected and it was worrying because I have a young family. But the gaffer and the physio never had any doubts that I would be back, they never gave up and would not let me to give up and so I am due to repay them. They have shown more faith again by handing me a three-year deal so I want to do the best I can. Don't get me wrong, I want to play in the SPL. I would be lying if I didn't say that. But I want to enjoy my football and as soon as I spoke to Ronnie and he told me his thoughts for the club that was enough for me." Reid described Neil as his "best signing" and hopes he will soon be back in the SPL, if Accies are relegated. Reid said: "Alex is an SPL player, I don't think anybody can doubt that, he has proved it over the last three years. Everyone can see he is a top player for us and there was interest from other SPL clubs. We are hoping that we don't go down but odds are against us. Alex may find himself playing in the First Division next year if things don't go well in the next couple of weeks, that is the downside for him. But we have to be upbeat about it and hopefully Alex can be an SPL player again." Reid is looking for a first home SPL win of the season to keep Accies in with a slim chance of survival. He said: "Hibs will be dangerous because we turned them over on their own patch recently and they won't have liked that. Regardless of what St Mirren do, and we can't influence that, we want to finish strongly and hopefully win our first home league game of the season."