Cammy Bell: Dundee United goalkeeper's spot-kick studies pay off

Cammy Bell is congratulated by his Dundee United team-mates at full time
Bell's achievement is unlikely to make the Guinness Book of Records

Studying his opponents' penalty style and run-ups helped Dundee United's Cammy Bell save three spot-kicks in one half against Dunfermline Athletic.

The 29-year-old's feat - a rare "hat-trick" for any goalkeeper - was key in the Terrors' 3-1 away win at East End Park on Saturday.

"I think judging the run-ups is a massive thing these days," said United's summer signing from Rangers.

"You can kind of sound out players the way they're going with their run-up."

Grimsby Town's Walter Scott saved three penalties in one match in 1909, while Manchester United's Gary Bailey did likewise in 1980 and Huddersfield Town's Matt Glennon in 2007.

Bell saves from Gavin Reilly
ONE: Bell palmed away Gavin Reilly's opening penalty despite guessing the wrong direction

But a spokesman for the Guinness Book of Records suggests that Bell's chances of being featured because all three saves took place in one half is likely to be thwarted as it only recognises achievements in a country's top league.

Bell insisted that, while he has enjoyed the personal publicity, his priority was three points as United chase Scottish Championship leaders Hibernian.

"It was an incredible game," he told BBC Scotland. "You don't expect to face three penalties, especially in one half.

"It's nice getting positive media attention, but it was a vital three points for us. We've been up and down this season, so we're hoping that can kick-start our season."

The score was 0-0 when Bell palmed away Gavin Reilly's first attempt and he then managed to block less convincing efforts from Nicky Clark and Paul McMullan to cancel out Simon Murray's opening goal.

Bell keeps out Nicky Clark's penalty
TWO: Bell says he knew where former team-mate Nicky Clark was likely to aim

"The first penalty I managed to get a good hand to," he recalled. "I was actually going to my left-hand side and Gavin Reilly put it down the middle and I managed to put it away.

"In the build up to the second penalty, I actually got injured making a one-on-one save on Gavin Reilly, so I managed to dust myself down and saved Nicky Clark's penalty and then the third one just put the icing on the cake.

"I think, with the third penalty, the run up was always going to go one side, so you do your homework on those kinds of things."

Bell, who has one Scotland cap, was a team-mate of Clark's until the summer, when they were both released by Rangers after their title win and promotion.

"He was a bit gobsmacked and texted me later on that night just saying 'well done'," said Bell when asked about Clark's response to his save.

Bell saves from Paul McMullan
THREE: Bell completed a remarkable hat-trick by blocking Paul McMullan's spot kick

"Obviously he was gutted with the result for Dunfermline, but he was delighted for me saving three penalties in one game.

"I knew Nicky's favoured side, but then it's a game of poker because he knows that I know his side, so I had to go with the way he normally goes and he did go that way and thankfully I went early enough because he put enough power on it to get it in the corner."

Despite the victory, Ray McKinnon's side remain in fourth place, seven points adrift of Hibs.

"I was just delighted with the way the game went and that we managed to get the three points, which was vitally important for us," added Bell.

"We've brought 10 new players in and a new manager, so it takes time for things to settle in and players to get used to Scottish football."

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