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Injury spell “Definitely one of the most difficult periods of my career” insists Winter

By Nickolas McInally

Hamilton striker Andrew Winter has revealed his period out through injury has been one of the most challenging of his career. 

The 19-year-old pulled out of the warm-up prior to the Scottish Premiership match against Aberdeen in March as the Scottish government required all matches to be played behind closed doors.  

Reflecting on the injury, Winter said: “It started up in Aberdeen. I was in the warm-up and I hit a shot and after it, I felt something go in my knee. We came back and I got a scan and found out I had a lateral tear in my meniscus. 

“I got that fixed and was only supposed to be out for about three months max. Then the day before we came back for pre-season something didn’t feel right. I came back got another scan and there was another tear there. 

“This has definitely been the most difficult period of my career. I have never really been injured before and this is quite a big one. I don’t want to sit around and dwell on it. It is frustrating, there are times where you hit your lows, but you just have to pick yourself up and go again.”

However, Winter has praised the influence of the Accies staff for their guidance during his spell on the sidelines.

He said: “Everyone here has been brilliant with me; George [Cairns, academy director] is always going to be there for you. If you have an issue, he is the guy you go to. It is just about putting you at ease mentally. 

“Temps [David Templeton] and Scotty Martin have been another two huge influences. Myself and Scott have been injured since the start of the season so we have been working together. I think we have been a good influence on each other.

While Winter continues his push to full fitness, midfielder Scott Martin has returned to first-team action and the 19-year-old is delighted to see the former Hibs man back playing. 

He said: “I have seen what he has been through to get himself back on the pitch. I am buzzing for him if I am being honest. You can see the difference he makes. He brings the energy that is naturally there. I think he gives the rest of the team a bit of a lift.

With little over a month remaining of the calendar year, Winter is targeting a strong return for the rest of the campaign.

He said: “The second half of the season is always the most important. For me it is always about taking each game as it comes, I feel good and ready to push for minutes. 

“I think that’s brilliant for me, I am not even back fully fit and ready yet, but I am close enough to be training and already having a clear idea of what is expected of me is fantastic.”

However, following a seven-month spell on the sidelines Winter knows patience is vital to ensure his recovery can be a successful one.

He said: “I am not getting too far ahead of myself. Obviously, you desperately want to get back playing straight away but I am aware that I have been out for seven months, so you must be cautious. 

“As a player, I want to play as big a role as possible in helping the team get to where we want to be and to do that you need to take your opportunities when they come.”

However, while remaining patient Winter has set his sights on learning from the club’s top scorer this season Andrew Ryan. 

He said: “I think even watching games in the stand you can see he has a winner’s mentality. He demands the most from everyone around him. I think the more time I spend working with him on the park the more I will learn from him. 

“I can’t wait to get on the park with him if I am being honest. He has scored a lot of goals this season and I hope to have a link up with him when I get on the pitch.”

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