A rugby player has been told he will never play again after his right leg was crushed in a car crash.

Mr Robin McAlpine, a former political researcher for Defence Minister and Hamilton MP George Robertson, has been a consistent first team player for Biggar Rugby Club as both second and back row forward since he joined the club as an 11-year-old.

The 26-year-old player - son of Labour party activist Isobel Lindsay - now has a hip to thigh steel pin in his leg and five pins in his ankle.

Yesterday, after the driver of the other car in the crash was fined at Hamilton Sheriff Court for careless driving, Mr McAlpine said: ''It's bad news from my hospital doctor and I feel gutted. Somehow I'm going to continue to try and get fit enough to play again.

''Rugby and politics have been my whole life. I must be grateful to have survived the accident and am now back at work after many months of absolute agony as my injuries healed.

''I haven't kicked or touched a ball since the crash. I'm having extensive physiotherapy and can only hope one day I'll play rugby again.

Speaking of the accident, he said: ''All I can clearly remember about the accident was that as I neared the brow of a hill another car came at me on my side of the road. I recall that I shouted 'Oh Christ!' and knew I could not get out of the way.''

Mr McAlpine, whose father, Tom, is an SNP councillor with South Lanarkshire, was trapped in his car for 45 minutes as firemen tried to cut away the wreckage.

Two nurses stuck in the traffic jam caused by the accident on the A71 near Garrion Bridge, near Larkhall, Lanarkshire, came to his assistance and stemmed the flow of blood. By the time an ambulance and paramedics arrived, Mr McAlpine had lost nearly three pints of blood and was unconscious.

He had 12 stitches to a head wound at Law Hospital and spent several weeks there undergoing operations to pin his right leg together.

His passenger, Mr Christopher Stewart, suffered whiplash and bruising injuries.

At court yesterday, Allan Preston, 25, of Belmont Street, Overtown, Wishaw, was fined #850 and had eight penalty points added to his licence after he pled guilty to a charge of careless driving.

Mr McAlpine said he was consulting his lawyer about claiming compensation for his injuries.

Mr John Lawrie, president of Biggar Rugby Club, said: ''Robin no longer being able to play rugby is a big loss to the team. We've missed him this season. He was a good player. He's a second row player, a very strong scrummager, and also excellent at the front of the line out.

''It's especially sad as he's been a player trained in the club since he was 11 years old.

''Then he went right through the ranks because of his talent and determination.

We can only hope that he'll get involved in the club in some other capacity.''