A YOUNG Scottish international footballer was critically ill on a life

support machine last night after a car crash in which a woman died.

Darren Salton, 20, who plays for Luton and Scotland's under-21s,

suffered severe head and leg injuries.

Salton was a passenger in a Mercedes sports car being driven by fellow

Scot and team-mate Paul Telfer, 21, when it crashed head-on with a Mazda

car being driven by Mr Barry Phillimore on a bend in a Bedfordshire road

on Thursday.

Mr Phillimore, from Ampthill, Bedfordshire, was seriously injured and

his 51-year-old wife Eileen died.

Telfer was breathalysed after the crash, and it was negative. He went

to the Bedford South Wing Hospital after the accident but was released

the same night.

Salton was in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

They both come from Edinburgh, where they played in the same youth

side. Both have won Scotland under-21 caps.

The two young players live together on the outskirts of Luton. It is

believed the house is owned or rented by the club.

Telfer's parents were on their way to Luton yesterday to see their


Before leaving their home in Mountcastle Terrace, Edinburgh, his

mother Anne said: ''We're obviously shocked but I don't want to say

anything until I have seen my son. We are going to Luton to see how he


Salton's father John played for Hibs and Dunfermline and used to live

on the Gracemount housing scheme in Edinburgh.

Mr John Salton's uncle, Mr Robert Salton, of Ferniehill Place,

Edinburgh, said: ''This has come as a great shock.''

He added: ''I haven't been in touch with either Darren or John for a

few years but I read about Darren in the papers. He seemed to be doing

so well.''

As Salton fought for his life, Luton manager David Pleat said: ''At

this stage we have been told that Darren is unlikely ever to be able to

play football again.

''It is tragic, a terrible thing. Darren was destined to stay in the

game a long time.

''We have not been able to train and would not want to. We have young

boys and for them it is like taking a brother away.''

He went on: ''We have a very young squad here at Luton. They are

nearly all young boys who lodge together and who are all very close. My

players have been stunned by what's happened.''

Mr Pleat described both players as ''great prospects''. He said only

time will tell if Telfer, a midfielder, will be able to get over the

accident. He returned only recently after being out for 10 months with a

serious foot injury.

Luton said they would go ahead on Sunday with their televised first

division match against local rivals Watford.

Luton director Peter Collins said: ''It has been a difficult decision,

but we feel it is the right one. We shall play the match for Darren.''

Yesterday's training session for Luton was cancelled after several

players broke down in tears when told of the crash.

Mr Phillimore's daughters, Helen and Michelle, were maintaining a

vigil at their father's hospital bedside yesterday.