JAMIE HAMILL insists Stranraer’s controversial relegation from League One is more frustrating than going down with Hearts.
Hamill, 33, was a key player for the Jambos during the 2013/14 campaign as they attempted to battle back from the 15-point deduction imposed on the club after they entered administration.
Gary Locke’s charges, decimated by cost-cutting and increasingly reliant on youth, were unable to overcome the odds and crashed into the Championship along with their city rivals Hibs.
While that was a galling experience, Hamill appreciated being given a clear target and the opportunity to fight until the end of the campaign – something which his current club, Stranraer, have been denied.
Hamill rued: “When I look back at the 15-point deduction we got at Hearts, at least we had something to fight for and we were able to battle right up to the end of the season.
“We had a wee chance and all the lads bust a gut to try and keep the club up. That’s all you ask for.
“Whereas, at Stranraer we’ve just been left deflated, thinking: ‘What? so that’s it over?’
“It’s definitely more frustrating in that way.”
Stranraer’s fate was sealed on Wednesday when the resolution to call the campaign for all leagues below the top-flight finally passed courtesy of Dundee’s belated Yes vote.
Stevie Farrell’s men were eight points adrift of Forfar with nine matches to play but, crucially, had a game in hand and were still to host the Loons.
And Hamill is adamant there was a steadfast belief in the dressing room that Stranraer could enhance their reputation as escape artists in recent campaigns.
He continued: “It’s difficult to take because we still had a quarter of the season to go.
“There were plenty of games and plenty of points up for grabs so, from a player’s perspective, it is tough.
“We still had confidence that we would survive. I listened to the chairman [Iain Dougan] talking on the radio about us escaping a similar position to this in three of the past six seasons, and he hit the nail on the head.
“Stranraer always seem to galvanise and get some momentum at the right time – so it’s unfortunate to have that opportunity taken away.”
Stranraer’s final hope of salvation comes in the form of potential reconstruction, spearheaded by Ann Budge – owner of Hamill’s former club Hearts – and Hamilton chief Les Gray.
However, with his disillusionment shining through, Hamill is not holding his breath for a positive outcome.
He added: “Looking at the people in charge of the SPFL at the moment, who knows what they are capable of? I wouldn’t be surprised by anything at this point.
“This has been a farce and it has made Scottish football look terrible, with all the fighting and all the different interviews and arguments.
“We’re in uncharted waters and we’ll just need to see how it pans out.”