Lee McGregor makes long-awaited return to the ring with close friend Scott Taylor-MacKenzie very much in his thoughts
Lee McGregor admits the freak accident suffered by good pal Scott Taylor-MacKenzie has provided extra motivation as he makes his return to the ring for the first time since February last year.
The 26-year-old was devastated to learn his friend from childhood, also 26, had undergone a lifesaving ten-hour operation and placed in an induced coma after suffering a choking incident while eating at home.
McGregor visited the Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale skipper in hospital prior to travelling down to Newcastle ahead of tomorrow night's duel with Burkino Faso's Alexis Boureima Kabore.
An online fundraiser, set up by McGregor's partner Amber, has raised more than £14,000 with another childhood friend of the duo, former Hibs striker Jason Cummings, among those to donate.
"It was a total freak accident," McGregor told the Evening News. "He's had the operation, was put in intensive care but he's out now and I hope this is the start of his road to recovery. It's going to be a long one so we just want to do everything we can to help him because he's got a young family, he's going to be off work, his missus looks after the wee one on her own. I was devastated to hear what happened to him and I know in normal times he would be down here in Newcastle with me by my side.
"So I'm even more determined to get the win this weekend for him and hopefully he gets better soon and there are better days ahead. I saw him before I came down to Newcastle earlier this week so it was reassuring to see him in person, even though he's pretty ill. We just want to help Scott and his family as much as we can so he doesn't have to worry about how the bills are going to be paid, so there's no pressure on him to get back to work as soon as he can.
"I've grown up with Scott from when we were wee boys, we're all from the same area in Saughton so to see someone that close to you go through something like this, it's been a tough few days that's for sure. But we're all just keeping our fingers crossed that he's over the worst now."