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Kyle Lafferty wants to be a Hearts player for life to repay club for helping him battle gambling demons

Striker Kyle Lafferty has revealed he wants to stay at Hearts for life and shoot them to success to pay the Edinburgh club back for helping him with his gambling addiction.

In a frank and honest interview ahead of Northern Ireland’s World Cup play-off second leg game in Switzerland tonight, former Rangers ace Lafferty paid tribute to owner Ann Budge and coach Austin MacPhee declaring that if it wasn’t for Hearts he would have continued to keep his betting problems secret rather than coming out and speaking publicly about the demons he faces on a daily basis.

The 30-year-old added that his time at Hearts has given him a new lease of life after a frustrating, largely inactive spell at Norwich City and he promised the fans that he is keen to spend the rest of his career at Tynecastle giving his all for the club.

Lafferty has paid tribute to Austin MacPhee for helping him tackle his gambling problem

The striker says Ann Budge has also provided huge support

“I don’t think I would have come out if I wasn’t at Hearts,” said Lafferty, who joined the Jambos in the summer on a two year deal.

“The club, and my family as well, have been superb. Austin (MacPhee) has been amazing. Ann (Budge) has been so supportive too and she has been speaking to Austin to see how I’ve been doing and if I have been to a (Gambler Anonymous) meeting and stuff like that.

“To be someone who owns the club and be so into me getting over this hurdle, she has been incredible. That’s one of the reasons why I’m trying to do everything I can on the pitch to help the team be successful and to get us in a position where we should be.

“I really don’t think I would have come out with this if I had been at any other club.”

The Northern Irishman is loving life in Edinburgh

On his future, Lafferty said: “I absolutely love it there, the team, the lads, the club. They have been so good to me and supported me through a lot of things.

“Would I mind finishing my career there? If the opportunity came up and things were right for both of us, I would love to because the fans are passionate and I’m putting in 110% in every game and they know they are going to get their all from me.

“I’m enjoying training every day and enjoying being involved every weekend which I haven’t had for three years.”

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