DEREK LYLE is living on a prayer.
The Hamilton striker has begged God-fearing team-mate Marvin Andrews to put in a good word for him as he begins the long road to recovery from a snapped cruciate.
Lyle suffered the season-ending injury to his left knee against Falkirk last month.
But he joked he has plenty faith in stopper Andrews.
Lyle said: "I have asked Marvin to say a few prayers for me. He is very serious about that.
"Big Marvin has been through it before and come back stronger from what he has told me.
"He told me it was hard and said I need to build myself up in the gym to come back stronger."
Lyle faces a gruelling battle to get back for next season but feels he is already making progress, albeit slowly.
He said: "I am in every day getting treatment and then I go up to the gym just to keep myself ticking over.
"I had an operation a week after the injury happened and then spent 10 days on the couch doing nothing.
"The physio then tried to get some movement in my knee and while it has been a slow process I am getting more bend in it every week.
"Sitting on the couch for those 10 days was the worst - that was really hard. I really started to wonder how I could possibly come back to play. Now things are a bit better and the next big step for me will be going into the swimming pool.
"I see the surgeon in a week so I am hoping he will say to me I can go into the pool. I'm also hoping to get back on the bike soon to help me step things up.
"I just need to be strong in my mind and make sure I come back stronger for it."
Lyle admits he has to be patient and won't target a return before the end of the season.
He said: "The doctor has told me I should be aiming for pre-season. There's no point rushing back for the last few games of the season.
"I want to give myself extra time to make sure it has fully healed and have a good pre-season.
"The good thing is the gaffer likes to have me about the dressing room and wants me in with the lads. That helps keep my head up, even if I do get a real slagging from the boys."
Lyle is reaping the benefits of a unique scheme involving Accies.The club has contributed to Core Physio, whose are based at New Douglas Park.
Darren Cross provides affordable sports injury and rehab treatment aimed at ensuring kids get the possible care.
Cross said: "Kids don't get much access to sports injuries treatment and there are waiting lists to see physios.
"I have found a lot of kids won't actually get treated and that can cause them problems later on in life.
"We give them an assessment and a rehab plan to go away with, plus we also have the gym facilities."