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Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Friday, 18 June 2010 12:52 UK

Hamilton sign Stirling's Graham

Hamilton striker Andy Graham
Graham is off to a poker tournament in Las Vegas after signing for Accies

By John Barnes

Andy Graham is heading for Las Vegas but feels he has already hit the jackpot on signing for Hamilton Accies after leaving Stirling Albion.

The 26-year-old defender is giving up his job with Glasgow City Council to sign a one-year, full-time contract.

But on Saturday he is off to the USA after his sister, Carol, won a holiday in a poker tournament.

"I taught her how to play, so I think it's only fair she took me," Graham told BBC Scotland.

"I think she knows I would appreciate Vegas a lot more than any of her friends.

"She won a tournament in Glasgow then went down to Manchester and managed to finish third. The top four got to go on the trip.

To get the chance to play in the Premier League at my age is something I didn't think would ever happen

Hamilton Accies defender Andy Graham

"She's really good at it and I'm looking forward to seeing her in Las Vegas, because there's a final table to be played out there.

"It'll be interesting to see how she gets on. Hopefully she wins something."

Graham's form for Stirling had also attracted interest from former Albion manager Allan Moore, who moved to Morton during the summer after the pair helped the Forthbank side to the Division Two title and promotion.

Stirling were his first senior club, having signed for the Forthbank club from Glasgow Amateurs, and he was out of contract this summer.

Graham, who started his career in central defence but has successfully converted to right-back, made more than 150 appearances for Stirling and scored seven goals last season, five in the last 11 games.

"I'm glad the opportunity has come about," he said about his move to New Douglas Park.

"I've been at Stirling for five years and thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but to get the chance to play in the Premier League at my age is something I didn't think would ever happen.

"I'm really excited and looking forward to it."

Hamilton defender Martin Canning
Canning has extended his stay at New Douglas Park

He had turned his thoughts to playing in Division One, either with Stirling or Morton, until Accies manager Billy Reid intervened.

"I was thinking it would be brilliant going to play the likes of Dunfermline and Dundee and the big teams in the First Division, then it came about that Hamilton were interested and I'm now thinking of even bigger stadiums," he said.

"I've only played at Celtic Park when we played them in the cup and also Rugby Park when we played Kilmarnock in my first season with Stirling."

Graham insists he is not taking a gamble by going to Vegas before joining his new team-mates.

"I'll go over there and enjoy my week, but I'll probably go out and do a few runs because I want to make sure I'm in good condition for coming back for pre-season," he said.

"I don't want to feel coming back I'm behind anyone. I want to come in and give it my best shot."

Graham becomes Accies' third signing of the close season following the acquisition of Gavin Skelton from Kilmarnock and Morton's Jim McAlister.

In addition, defender Martin Canning on Friday signed a new two-year contract to stay with Hamilton.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Sean Murdoch has undergone minor knee surgery for a small posterior meniscal tear.

The surgeon reports that the operation went very well and that Murdoch can resume training in a couple of weeks' time.

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see also
Brechin add a trio of signings
03 Jun 10 |  Brechin
Hamilton's Gibson has another op
31 May 10 |  Hamilton
Moore takes over as Morton boss
27 May 10 |  Morton
Hamilton Accies sign up Skelton
25 May 10 |  Hamilton
Stirling's Murphy joins Stranraer
24 May 10 |  Stranraer
Hamilton snap up winger McAlister
20 May 10 |  Hamilton
Eleven players part from Hamilton
12 May 10 |  Hamilton

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