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West Brom striker Hartson announces retirement

Former Celtic striker John Hartson has announced his retirement after leaving West Brom.

The 32-year-old former Wales international, who won 50 caps, was released by the Baggies last month and has decided to quit rather than play on in the lower leagues.

Hartson told the Scottish Sun: "A part of my life has been winding down and, yes, I'm going to miss that competitive edge. That was my weekend, after all, letting off steam and terrorising centre-halves. I'm not going to miss training though. To be honest I'd lost my desire to get back into the West Brom side."

It was Celtic boss Gordon Strachan, who let him move south in June 2006 after five years with the Hoops, who once told Hartson that his passion for the game would eventually fade.

"Gordon warned me the fire inside me would go some day and now it has. You don't get that back," Hartson added.

The striker who began his career at Luton and went on to have spells with Arsenal, West Ham, Wimbledon and Coventry, and a loan stint at Norwich, was not prepared to end his playing career at a low level, admitting he would struggle for fitness.

He said: "They say you should go down the leagues and just play for enjoyment because it will be easier. It isn't."

Hartson added: "I have been fighting my weight for 12 years. I can't have a burger without putting on half a stone."

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