Former Moray and Highland footballer Gordon Finlayson denies drug dealing charge at start of jury trial
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Have a look at our brand new digital subscription packages!
An award-winning Highland footballer was arrested for allegedly dealing cocaine just months after he won a player of the year trophy.
Gordon Finlayson (27), who played for Ross County, Elgin City, Brora Rangers and Forres Mechanics, stood before a jury and denied being concerned in the supply of the Class A narcotic between September 22, 2019 and October 19, 2019.
Drugs and cash were found in a police raid on his house at 175 Shillinghill, Alness as well as in a car he hired a week before the search. Bags sometimes used by dealers were also found in a jacket bearing the Alness United logo - the club he played for at the time, when he won the North Caledonian Player of the Year Award in April, 2019.
Suspicion fell on Finlayson on September 22 when a bag of cocaine was found hidden in a bush in the Easter Ross town's communal garden.
The court was told by 38-year-old support worker Gemma Lennox that Finlayson and his brother, Alasdair, were "hovering nearby" and claimed they were looking for a football.
The drugs were handed in to the police, the jury was told.
Mrs Lennox said that she subsequently received a social media friend request from Finlayson and received a missed call from Alasdair. She told defence solicitor Graham Mann that police came to see her to ask if she was "receiving any hassle" after the drugs find and that they had received information or "intel" (intelligence). She said she hadn't.
Former police constable Russell Leslie said he had colleagues obtained a warrant and searched Finlayson's house on October 19.
He said various bags were found including in the football club jacket, and £300 in cash, bank statements and a notebook in Finlayson's bedroom.
Mr Leslie said a tub of white powder was found on top of a fridge before the hired car was searched.
He told the trial: "Two bags of white powder later confirmed as cocaine were found in the rented vehicle as well as £1400 in cash in the centre console of the Peugeot. Finlayson's wallet was also on the back seat."
He confirmed to fiscal depute Robert Weir that 18.7 grams of cocaine were recovered. No value was given.
Finlayson was then arrested and questioned. But he largely gave a "no comment" interview, the jury heard.
He denied knowledge of ownership of the club jacket but admitted he had played for them. He also said he had not seen any of the cash and denied knowledge of the September drugs find in the community garden.
The trial continues.