For the first time since 1998, Scotland are playing in a major international tournament, largely thanks to the heroics of David Marshall. However, the man from Glasgow is 35. Time waits for no one, not even legends. After the 2021 EURO cycle, it will be time to find the next goalkeeper for The Tartan Army. With Marshall currently being supported by Craig Gordon (37) and Jon McLaughlin (33), Steve Clarke will likely need to look outside the current squad for the man in goal for the foreseeable future. Who are the options?
Craig MacGillivray is one of the two frontrunners to come in and become a regular with the national team in the next cycle of international competitions. The 27-year-old currently plays for English League One side Portsmouth and has enjoyed his recent time with the club, starting in all matches to this point. As for his performances per the data, he has allowed 0.93 goals per 90 (expected 1.07 goals per 90) while averaging 10.27 long passes/90 with an accuracy of 81.2% and 4.63 short passes/90 with an accuracy of 96.7%. MacGillivray has steadily improved with age and is clearly on Steve Clarke’s radar. Could he be the obvious choice to defend the goal while younger options mature and improve?
Speaking of younger options, Rangers starlet Robby McCrorie leads the crop of next-generation goalkeepers. The 22-year-old is currently out on loan at Livingston, playing regularly as their starting net-minder. While McCrorie is highly rated and viewed as a promising player for club and country, he is not having the best of campaigns when looking at the numbers. With an expected 1.56 goals allowed per 90, McCrorie is conceding an actual 1.8. When it comes to distribution, McCrorie averages 16.11 long passes/90 with an accuracy of 75.7% and 8.59 short passes/90 with an accuracy of 98.8%. The young goalkeeper may be the long-term starter for Scotland, but will he be ready to take over after the 2021 EURO competition?
The Outside Choices
Our first choice on the outside right now is someone who has experienced minutes on the national team before…Scott Bain. The Celtic backup has seen a handful of minutes in the 2020-21 season with mixed results, but is still regarded as one of the better options in the country. Looking at his data from all competitions this season, Bain has conceded 1.91 goals/90 with an expectation of conceding 1.90 goals/90. When it comes to distribution, Bain is playing 8.79 long balls/90 with an accuracy of 67.4% and 10.7 short passes/90 with an accuracy of 100%. Bain has minutes on the national team under his belt and he is still just 28, but does he need to be at a spot where he is starting if he is to be truly considered as the next number one?
Speaking of goalkeepers on the Celtic books, starlet Ross Doohan is currently out on loan at Ross County, where he has recently been starting. In addition to playing for Ross County, Doohan has been the first choice for the Scotland U21s on their EURO Qualification campaign. Looking at all competition data for the 2020-21 season, Doohan has allowed 1.11 goals/90 while being expected to concede 1.16/90. Doohan plays 8.79 long passes/90 with an accuracy of 74.6% and 8.17 short passes/90 with an accuracy of 95.5%. Although the future is unpredictable, Scotland look poised for a thrilling competition between Doohan and McCrorie for the role of Scotland’s future starting goalkeeper. The Old Firm clubs have produced two exciting prospects in goal, will Doohan edge McCrorie and can he be ready by the time David Marshall needs to step back?
French-born goalkeeper Bobby Allain is currently playing without a club, but that hasn’t ruled him out from potentially being in the picture for the next cycle. Allain most-recently played for Greek side Olympiakos as the cup goalkeeper and French side Dijon. While Allain offers Scotland the potential of a goalkeeper in his prime playing in mainland Europe (assuming he doesn’t return to playing in Scotland for the first time since his youth days at Clyde), he must be playing for a club where he can see regular minutes first.
Steve Clarke still has some time before he truly has to worry about his next goalkeeper thanks to David Marshall showing no signs of slowing down. It is likely that by the end of the EURO competition in 2021 there will be new faces on the goalkeeper landscape, but for now, these five appear as ideal candidates to be the next number one for Scotland. Who would you select as the next goalkeeper for Scotland? Would you keep trust in veterans, or perhaps look to the youth?