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Derby's Malcolm appears in court

Derby County defender Rob Malcolm appeared in court on Wednesday accused of sleeping off a drinking session in the middle of a motorway.

The 27-year-old was found asleep at the wheel of his Range Rover after it was almost involved in a horrific smash on the M1.

Malcolm, a Scottish international player, later apologised for the bizarre incident before apparently offering every player's favourite excuse - blaming the ref, reports the Daily Mail.

He told fans he was "very upset and frustrated" by official Steve Bratt's handling of a match on Boxing Day, the day before Malcolm was arrested.

Malcolm appeared before magistrates in Chesterfield, Derbyshire charged with driving with excess alcohol.

The drama happened on the M1 northbound at Tibshelf, Derbyshire, at around 6.30am on December 27 last year.

A shocked motorist told police he nearly smashed into Malcolm's car, which was straddling the middle and fast lanes of the motorway.

The other driver pulled over, woke up Malcolm, persuaded him to move to the hard shoulder, and then phoned 999.

Magistrates adjourned the hearing after his solicitor, Glyn Lewis, said he had received details of the prosecution case only hours earlier.

Deputy District Judge Nicholas Hayles granted unconditional bail to Malcolm, who will next appear before the same court on January 29.

Malcolm was on loan to Championship side Queens Park Rangers at the time of the incident but is now back at Derby, who have suspended him.

Writing on QPR's website the day after his arrest, he confessed: "I want to apologise to all the supporters and in particular the young fans.

"I recognise that footballers are role models and that, as such, they should set a positive example. On this occasion, I have failed to do that.

"But I must say that I was very upset and frustrated with the poor performance of the referee in our match at Plymouth the evening before."

Malcolm, who has played three times for Scotland, added: "I would also like to stress that at the time of the incident, I was not driving my car.

"I had pulled over to the side of the road and was sleeping. Once again, I apologise for what has been a major error of judgment."

A spokesman for Derby confirmed Malcolm remained suspended pending the outcome of the case and an internal club investigation into the incident.

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