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Where are the nominations for the men between the sticks?

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Jim Spence | 10:35 UK time, Saturday, 16 April 2011

Right, It's time to get the gloves off in support of our goalies.

I've nothing against anyone who's been nominated for any of the categories for this year's player of the year awards - fine men one and all.

But where are the nominations for the men between the sticks?

The men who put their bodies where angels fear to tread.

With Kello in goal for most games Hearts have lost just 30 goals this season

With Kello in goal for most games Hearts have lost just 30 goals this season

The men whose unique position very few of us really understand, and that includes their managers, because we've never played in goal.

This season I would argue that the standard of goalkeeping in Scotland has never been higher, yet there is not one nomination for a 'keeper.

In the SPL, Darren Randolph at Motherwell has been outstanding, Mario Kello at Hearts has been sensational and Dusan Pernis at Dundee United has been imperious.

In the First Division, Rab Douglas has been a towering figure in the Dens Parkers great run, David McGurn, Raith Rovers' part-timer has also had a great season and Michael McGovern continues to impress at Ross County.

In Division Two, the evergreen Craig Nelson at Brechin City remains as commanding and authoratitive as ever.

I've not seen the Third Division this season so I can't comment on that, but elsewhere the standard of our goalies continues to improve.

The position is more technical than ever, there is some great goalkeeping coaching work being done and the position is far removed from the old Cinderella view of it in the past.

Like everyone else, I like to see the strikers and the entertainers getting their due recognition, but now and again it would be gratifying to see our fine shot-stoppers getting a mention for their heroic efforts too.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Kello was an outrageous ommission from the list this year. Naismith had a great start to the season but has dipped since then and was out with injury for a while, yet finds himself on the list for player of the season? An undoubtedly gifted player but Kello should edged in ahead of him.

  • Comment number 3.

    Your column made me smile as you may be the first ever sports columnist to laud the goalkeeper who is, after all, the last defence for the team FIFA has only recently and often the unsung hero of the team's score. Unfortunately, like the ancient US comedian Rodney Dangerfield, 'keepers get no respect. Even the sportscasters who 'explain' what is happening on the pitch rarely, if ever, refer to the man with the gloves as anything but 'the goalkeeper'. FIFA has only recently added The Golden Glove award for goalkeepers, and in fact may be the only football entity to finally recognize a goalkeeper's great worth. They after all, are the eyes of the events on the pitch and they are the ones who save their teams from sometimes total disaster.

  • Comment number 4.

    The standard of Scottish goalkeepers needs improving drastically as in the FIFA seedings for the next World Cup in Brazil 2014 are now published, and Scotland are in the pot of 4th seeds with N Ireland !(Albania are now in the 3rd pot)

  • Comment number 5.

    The quality of Scottish keepers is, in general, far higher than that in England. We have two top, top quality keepers in Allan McGregor and Craig Gordon. England have Joe Hart is admittedly a great keeper but not much else, as the World Cup shambles in South Africa showed (Green, James both had howlers).

  • Comment number 6.

    Paid from the licence fee to "watch football and talk football", of the opinion that "From the SPL to the juniors, the game offers lots of dishes" but has "not seen the Third Division this season".

    Shame on you Jim.

  • Comment number 7.

    The goalkeeper is the most important man in the team. Just ask any Arsenal fan.

  • Comment number 8.

    Ah tom - 4

    Nice to hear from you again. Ae you sitting in a morris-dancing suit, with a st george's cross flag draped around your shoulders. You are waaaaaaay behind the times with this one. Colchie is bang on - goalkeepers are the least of our problems, we could do with some central defenders and strikers though!
    tom I enjoy your quoting of seedings as if they are statistics anyone has any interest in. How about this one: tomslaford takes nonsense 100% of the time!

  • Comment number 9.

    Wait a minute Jim! I read that Rab Douglas have been doing well this year, but if there is a goalie who can make himself look smaller when trying to make himself look bigger then I am yet to see him! How is it even possible?!?

  • Comment number 10.

    I would argue that the standard has been higher in recent years. Go back a few years when you had Artur Boruc, Craig Gordon (who won POTY IIRC) and Allan McGregor all putting in fine performances and this article seems a bit moot.

  • Comment number 11.

    In the third, David Mitchell of Stranraer is quite impressive. He's young, so prone to the odd mistake, but mostly his handling, kicking and shot stopping are top drawer. I've seen him make several fine saves in matches this season. Chris McCluskey at Stenny is on the small side but very capable. In the first, Rab Douglas *has* been absolutely inspirational to Dundee, but I'd make Raith's McGurn the best keeper in the league.

    (loving the fact that JS admits to not having seen the third division this season, despite his last blog being all about "dead wood" blocking progress, at the bottom of a league he doesn't bother to watch)

  • Comment number 12.

    Fair point on Kello Jim but apart from him I can't think of any other goalie who should be POTY. I completely agree with the post above who queried why Naismith made the list. Both the latter and to a certain extent Hooper have been out injured for stretches and you judge a player over the whole season and not bit pieces of it. Izzy or Eremenko would be more deserving of POTY in my view, both have been consistently good all season long.

    And Kenny Miller who left in January, I'm sure he would have made the shortlist as well.

  • Comment number 13.

    Now Jim I do hope that this topic has nothing to do with you're laddie being a 'keeper. Mind you, thinking about it, you must be proud of you're boy.

    I feel that POTY will never go to a 'keeper simply because for every 20 great stops there will be one howler. We fans are fickle. Do we remember the great fingertip saves or the monumental gaffes ? I suspect the latter. That said I agree with some other comments. Scotland have a rich seam of goalies just now that our Southern cousins would give a lot for.

    As to POTY ? Why is there no shout for Jamie Murphy at Motherwell ? He seems to me to be a great prospect not least because he has genuine pace. One to watch I feel.

  • Comment number 14.

    Australia,Norway,and Wales have beaten Scotland 3 - 0 in the past few years and you have no problems with goalkeepers?

    Here is another fact Scotland are ranked 66th !.You are officially a minnow ranked lower than Albania !

  • Comment number 15.

    SPLs Strategic planning :

    ' The national team's Fifa ranking to improve from 66th to 15th within five years

    The SPL's coefficient ranking to improve from 16th to 10th in five years '

    At least the SPL has recognised the mess they are in.
    Will they suceed - No chance the Old Firm takes all the money and buys foriegn talent to compete in Europe.The other SPL teams are minnows with crowds of 4,000

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Nice one Hibby

  • Comment number 18.

    Thank you Rob. C'mon Moderator. Please re-instate.

  • Comment number 19.

    The SPL are now proposing a British Cup ?. Who would play in this cup?, the Northern Irish,Welsh and Irish teams?.

    None of the English teams would be interested in playing against the SPL minnows averaging 4000 to 7000 crowds.Even the semi professional teams would not be interested.

    Why not go the whole way and have a Celtic League between the minor countries

  • Comment number 20.

    England got knocked out of the World Cup by a decent German team after scraping through the easiest group in living memory. Are you sure it isn't England with the problem? At least we're addressing our continual failure rather than blaming it on the media, the ball, the poor English of your Italian coach, the WAGs, the weather....anybody but your inept crop of footballers.

  • Comment number 21.

    Its got to be Dusan Pernis from Dundee United, he has played through most of the season without a settled defence in front of him and has still performed to an extremely high standard throughout.

  • Comment number 22.

    Tomslaford, get a grip.

    Germany 4 - 1 England, and you have done nothing in a major tournament now for 20 years, despite claiming to have "the best league in the world"

    Maybe you should focus on all the problems your own tin pot league has before criticising others.

  • Comment number 23.

    Hi Tom (14, 15, 19 and plenty other silly comments)!
    How are you?
    Do you get someone to log on and type for you? Also, how do you manage to contribute to forums when you can't read? Is there someone else there to help with that too? In plain english: no-one said that Scotland doens't have a problme with goalkeepers. You really need to read things (or get a helper who can).
    If you are on these forums to be wind up merchant then fair play to you - you are pretty good at it... but somehow I think you are sitting in that morris dancing outfit...! Go on, spill the beans!!!
    David James
    Scott Carson
    Robert Green
    David Seaman (before you say anything I have three words for you: Nayim, Ronaldinho, lobbed)
    Scottish Football is certainly on it's backside for lots of reasons, but I can't remember the last time an game in an english league held my attention.

  • Comment number 24.

    Think we have invented a whole new sport - beat the wind up merchant aka tomslaford. Smashing fun had by all and a bigger week audience than most SFL games.

    Great to come back from a few weeks away and find not much changed!!

    As for the blog - always had a soft spot for goalies but have preferred the slightly idiosyncratic approach with Hugh Sproat amongst my all time favourites but rarely are they credible POTY material

  • Comment number 25.

    Baldy Hibby.....ha ha maybe you're right my oldest boy is a keeper, but I've always been a fan of the men between the sticks and at the minute we've got some of the best we've had in a long time.

    BTW good shout for Jamie Murphy who has beeen top class ths season.

  • Comment number 26.

    You're right Jim. I am not quite old enough to remember poor auld Frank Haffey, but vividly mind Stewart Kennedy and his teflon gloves at Wembley. I still wince thinking about it.

    The current crop are top class. Witness the fact that we are fairly calm when Craig Gordon is injured. There are two or three that you would trust to take his place. Now if we could just arrange for the same luxury up front ......

  • Comment number 27.

    Think we have invented a whole new sport - beat the wind up merchant aka tomslaford

    Like having a wee pet around the place! Great if you could throw him a biscuit occasionally..

    But the shame of it is that he only has a very limited set of words and arguments and repeats these endlessly. We should encourage him to expand his vocabulary. After all, monkeys and typewriters and all that..

  • Comment number 28.

    Ah Rob,

    Normally I agree with you but can't this time. The argument goes that if you give an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters an infinite amount of time they will come up with the complete works of Shakespeare.

    I am very much afraid that if you gave an infinite number of tomslavers with typewriters an infinite amount of time they would come up with Scotland's latest position in the FIFA rankings !

  • Comment number 29.

    BaldyHibby - first time I have burst out laughing at a football blog post!!

    Made my day...

  • Comment number 30.

    Two world class saves yesterday from Allan McGregor, it really has been a fine season for goalkeepers in the SPL.


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