Former footballer Alex Williams admits supplying designer drugs

Alex Williams during his time with Stenhousemuir
Image caption Williams was released by Stenhousemuir in summer 2011

Former Ayr United and Morton footballer Alex Williams is in jail after being caught with £20,000 of designer drugs.

The 30-year-old and Kristopher O'Malley, 26, pled guilty to being involved in the supply of stimulants methylone and naphyrone in 2011.

Both were remanded in custody and will be sentenced in February.

A judge heard how a severe gambling addiction led to Williams, months earlier released by his last senior club, Stenhousemuir, turning to crime.

Williams' lawyer, Tony McGlennan, said it was a "tragedy" that the former striker found himself in court for his involvement in drugs that were so-called "legal highs" until being criminalised almost three years ago.

"Alex Williams became involved in this enterprise because of money difficulties that arose out of a gambling addiction," Mr McGlennan told the High Court in Glasgow.

Car pulled up

The court heard that the stimulants were found in two carrier bags after police carried out surveillance in Glenboig, North Lanarkshire, on 16 September 2011.

Painter and decorator O'Malley was spotted with a white bag under his arm while appearing to be waiting on someone.

An Audi A3 car soon pulled up and O'Malley, also of Glenboig, passed the bag to Williams - a passenger in the vehicle.

Image caption Williams was tipped for stardom in his early career

Prosecutor Alan Nicol said officers later pulled the car over in Pollok, Glasgow.

Williams, of the city's Govan district, and another person in the Audi denied there were drugs inside.

However, just as a search of the vehicle began, Williams admitted: "I don't know what they are - they are in a bag in the front left passenger side."

Quantities of methylone and naphyrone - in powdered form - were seized.

Williams had been linked with a big-money move to top clubs in England when he emerged as a free-scoring striker with Stirling Albion as a teenager.

However, after being sold to Morton instead, his career went into reverse as his off-field problems emerged.

Internet rumours claimed four players from the Greenock club had bet £5,000 on rivals Airdrie to win the Scottish League Division Two title.

Returning to Clyde

Williams, who has always maintained his innocence, claimed the lies dogged his career from then on.

In an interview in 2011, he said: "I've always felt other clubs wouldn't look at me because of the rumours that went around, despite the fact I've scored goals everywhere I have been at.

"I bore the brunt of it at the time. The rumours on the internet said four of us had put this bet on - but it was me who got most of the blame and the stick from the fans."

After going on loan to Queen of the South in 2005, he switched to Clyde before a brief spell in Australia with Armadale.

Williams returned to Scotland to join Ross County before returning to Clyde then Ayr United before spells in the Republic of Ireland with Dundalk and St Patrick's Athletic.

He was released by Stenhousemuir in summer 2011 after a season with the Second Division club.