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David Cox: Albion Rovers forward retires after allegedly being taunted about his mental health

David Cox, who was a substitute, left the stadium at half-time of Albion Rovers' 1-0 win at Stenhousemuir in Scottish League Two after being allegedly taunted about his mental health by an opposition player; Stenhousemuir defender Jonathan Tiffoney has denied allegations that he abused Cox

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Albion Rovers' David Cox has retired from football after accusing a Stenhousemuir player of taunting him over his mental health

Albion Rovers striker David Cox has decided to retire after being allegedly taunted by a Stenhousemuir player over his mental health during Thursday night's game.

The 32-year-old, who was a substitute, left the stadium at half-time of Rovers' 1-0 win in Scottish League Two.

Stenhousemuir said Cox was involved in a verbal altercation before he left the stadium. An independent SFA investigation is underway after both clubs contacted the Scottish FA's compliance officer on Friday.

Stenhousemuir have also launched their own internal investigation into the incident and will speak to witnesses from both clubs.

The Stenhousemuir player involved in the allegation, Jonathan Tiffoney, who has denied claims that he abused Cox, will not attend club training until further notice, and will be not be considered for selection for the club's next game on Tuesday away to Brechin.

Cox is understood to have reiterated his stance to retire immediately on Friday morning, with Albion Rovers hoping he attends their home fixture on Saturday, also against Brechin.

Cox told Sky Sports News in December 2019 that he had considered suicide after being abused over his mental health issues while playing for Cowdenbeath.

He almost retired from the sport in January before joining Rovers in March.

Cowdenbeath striker David Cox
Image: David Cox says he is retiring from football after he was allegedly taunted about his mental health

Cox said on Facebook: "Again having to deal with some mental health shouts at football again. The second half is just starting and I have left the stadium. I was on the bench. We were having a to and fro with the bench. They had a go at my mental health and told me I 'should have done it right the first time'.

"I promised myself the next time it happens I will walk off the park. I wasn't playing, I am done with football completely. Some folk might not think it is a big deal but I am fed up for it. I don't get paid enough.

"I tried to speak to the referees about it but they didn't want to know because they didn't hear it. We talk about racism, personal issues and because it is not heard by officials there is nothing they can do about it. So I am going to do something about it.

"I am leaving the game. I am done with it."

Albion Rovers said in a statement: "The health, safety and well-being of everyone associated with Albion Rovers is of paramount importance to us.

"Football is a place for all and we believe is should be enjoyed without fear, favour or prejudice.

"We are aware of an alleged incident that occurred during this evening's match and have been in touch with David Cox to offer our unconditional backing and support."

Stenhousemuir said: "The club is aware of a verbal altercation that took place between players from both Stenhousemuir and Albion Rovers during tonight's match.

"We have spoken to the players involved. Both players are making claims of serious and wholly inappropriate comments being made during the game that have implications for player wellbeing and mental health.

"Whilst we accept that things can get said during a game, we believe the allegations are sufficiently serious enough to merit a more detailed investigation.

"We will be referring this to the Scottish FA tomorrow and will work with them and our colleagues at Albion Rovers to investigate the incident."

Tiffoney hit back at the claims on Friday denying the alleged abuse towards Cox, adding that he would "never attack another player's mental health or wellbeing".

The statement from the Stenhousemuir defender read: "Media reports have indicated that I abused David Cox by referencing and attacking his mental health during last night's football match between Stenhousemuir and Albion Rovers. This is simply untrue.

"Throughout the first half of the game, I was subjected to abuse and disparaging comments from the Albion Rovers dugout. I did not react to these.

"David Cox who was a substitute and not playing, was booked by the referee for entering the pitch and abusing me. I did not abuse him. His abuse of me took place in front of the linesman.

"Had I made the comment, which it has been said that I made, then it is inconceivable that it would have not been heard by the linesman.

"Having been personally subjected to disparaging and hurtful remarks as a player for many years, I condemn any such practice.

"I would never attack another player's mental health or wellbeing and will fully cooperate with the Scottish FA investigation into the matter."

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