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Jackie Fullerton
talks to BBC Scotland's Alan Grant
 real 56k

Friday, 5 January, 2001, 11:44 GMT
O'Boyle sacked by St Johnstone
George O'Boyle is one of the players involved
George O'Boyle has earned 13 Northern Ireland caps
St Johnstone players George O'Boyle and Kevin Thomas have been sacked by the club following drug-taking allegations.

The two players were alleged to have been found using cocaine.

A St Johnstone spokesman said the club viewed the incident as one "of gross misconduct" adding that the duo would have their contracts "terminated immediately".

The two players arrived at the Perth club on Friday morning to face allegations that they took cocaine at a Christmas party.

Their appearance was a surprise as it was believed that they would only be represented by a lawyer at the disciplinary hearing.

Seven hours later, executive director Stewart Duff told the waiting press that the players' contracts had been terminated for gross misconduct.

Thomas has been troubled by injury lately
Kevin Thomas was also named

It is believed that the allegation of taking cocaine in a the toilets at That Bar in Perth's South Street was made by the football club's own physiotherapist.

It is claimed that O'Boyle and Thomas took the drug at a players' night out at the pub.

Duff said: "It was alleged that, within licensed premises within Perth, they were in possession of a white substance, possibly cocaine or another illegal substance.

"At the club's inquiry, the allegations were put to both players and, as a result of their responses, the disciplinary hearing was held today.

"At today's hearing, it was heard that both were in possession and used an illegal drug in a toilet cubicle at the said premises.


Their contracts of services will be terminated with immediate effect
  St Johnstone executive director Stewart Duff

"The club has viewed this as gross misconduct and their contracts of services will be terminated with immediate effect."

Tayside Police say they are aware of the matter but have received no formal complaint.

"The club have not reported the matter formally," said a police spokesman.

"We are aware St Johnstone are considering disciplinary action against two members of staff."

O'Boyle is now facing a possible end to his career.

The Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football Association are sure to monitor developments at St Johnstone and may take action of their own.

O'Boyle, a former Linfield and Bordeaux player, has earned 13 Northern Ireland caps.

  George O'Boyle factfile
1967 - Born Belfast, 14 Dec
1989 - Joins Dunfermline for 250,000 from Bordeaux
1994 - June: Northern Ireland debut in 2-0 defeat by Colombia. Moves to St Johnstone later in year
1996 - Scottish First Division player of the year and scores his lone international goal in the 1-1 draw with Germany
1998 - Plays in League Cup Final defeat by Rangers despite groin injury. Wins his final Northern Ireland cap against Finland
2001 - Contract terminated by St Johnstone after drug-taking allegations

The 33-year-old's final international was against Finland in 1998.

After starting his career at Irish League club Linfield, he had a spell with Bordeaux before moving to Dunfermline in 1989 for 250,000.

He made his international debut as a substitute in the 2-0 defeat by Colombia in 1994 when Bryan Hamilton was the Northern Ireland manager.

In September of 1994, he moved to St Johnstone for a 200,000 fee that was decided by a transfer tribunal.

1996 was probably the best year of his career with O'Boyle being named as Scottish First Division player of the season and scoring his only international goal in Northern Ireland's 1-1 draw with Germany in Belfast.

Despite a groin injury, O'Boyle lined out for St Johnstone in the club's League Cup Final defeat by Rangers in 1998.

His last two seasons have been wrecked by injury.

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See also:

02 Jan 01 |  Scot Prem
Stalemate story of missed chances
22 Oct 00 |  St Johnstone
Jinxed O'Boyle suffers new setback
09 Oct 00 |  St Johnstone
Saints hit by Thomas blow
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