IT was in October when bizarre rumours spread that Ross Wallace had died in a car crash.
The internet has long since been the place where misinformation can snowball and spread quickly, but this was one of the most unusual of hoaxes.
Most suspected from the start that there was mischief at work when a statement appeared on a Twitter account purporting to be a Celtic supporters’ page, simply saying: “Ross Wallace has been announced dead, RIP to a former Hoop GBNF, great Celtic player.”
But some who read it worried just in case there was the slightest chance it was true.
Wallace looks back on that strange interlude with continuing bemusement.
There was no need for the player himself to worry. Wallace was pretty certain he wasn’t dead. There had been no car crash.
But the wide man did receive calls from family and friends keen to make absolutely sure that nothing had happened to him.
The club also phoned, before officially confirming that the rumours were false and Wallace was fine.
“It was just a lot of rubbish, I don’t know what happened there,” Wallace says now about the rumours.
“That’s what you get with social media and stuff these days, people just trying to be clever.
“There were a few phoning me up but it wasn’t too bad.
“I’m a good driver!”
The hoaxer was slammed as ‘vile’ and ‘sick’ by friends of Wallace.
The 28-year-old may have been out of action at the time, recovering from knee surgery, but he was at Turf Moor a day later to co-commentate on the Clarets’ home win over QPR.
The rumours of his death may have been the ugly side of social media, but Wallace has used Twitter himself in the past and believes it can be a force for good too.
“There’s good and bad,” he said.
“Obviously players have got to put themselves out there on the likes of Twitter and Facebook to be closer to the fans.
“Every now and then there is somebody that goes over the top on it, but I think in the main it’s been relatively good.”
Wallace is now available for selection again after recovering from injury and will be attempting to secure promotion to the Premier League for the second time in his career, after previously going up with Sunderland in 2007.
He will hope to use that experience to help the rest of the squad, although he knows he is not the only one to have gained promotion before.
Michael Duff did it with Burnley in 2009, while Sam Vokes, Michael Kightly and David Jones went up with Wolves in the same season.
Dean Marney was promoted with Hull a year earlier, while Jason Shackell did the same with Norwich in 2004.
Scott Arfield and Ashley Barnes went up from League One to the Championship with Huddersfield and Brighton respectively.
“It’s not just me, we’ve had a fair few who have been promoted,” Wallace said.
“But once you’re winning games it’s enjoyable and the team just thinks, ‘We can win every game’.
“It’s a great habit to have. It’s a strange feeling but as a footballer and as a team you know when you’ve got it right and you’re going into every game and everybody thinks, ‘We’re going to win here’.
“While I was injured I travelled to some of the games close by and I went to all of the home games.
“It’s brilliant as a footballer when you know you’ve got a good team, a good squad and you’re all together.
“I think the main thing is we’ve got points because we’ve worked so hard.”