Often said to be the most difficult position to play, for 90 minutes you could be an observer with the proverbial deck-chair out and then, in the matter of seconds, called into action to win the game for your team with a vital save with seconds to go. This is obviously the ideal scenario in which the goalkeeper is the hero for the team but, on the other hand, goalkeepers can be remembered for one mistake that lets the team down – Karius anyone?
Famous cult hero goalkeepers over the years include Carlisle United’s Jimmy Glass, who scored in the last seconds against Plymouth Argyle to keep Carlisle in the Football League, or even goalkeepers like Allan Knight at Portsmouth who made over 700 appearances.
So here we go with the ASCOM team’s picks for Celtic’s Cult Hero Goalkeeper – which player is the best, or let us know who you would have in your team?
Player – David Marshall
Signed From – Youth Academy (2002)
Appearances – 50
Cult Hero Moment – With Magnus Hedman loaned out to Ancona in Italy, Marshall had been the second choice to Rab Douglas since the turn of the calendar year into 2004. Aged only 17, very few knew what to expect from the Scotsman until a scuffle in the Celtic Park tunnel lead to Marshall making his debut at home to Barcelona in a UEFA Cup last-16 tie. Keeping a clean sheet for 45 minutes at Celtic Park was one thing but the performance that Marshall put in over in the Camp Nou cemented his position as a Celtic Cult Hero.
Player – Artur Boruc
Signed From – Legia Warsaw (£1.3 million – 2005)
Appearances – 221
Cult Hero Moment – Well where do we start with the Holy Goalie? Taking a champions flag on to the park at Ibrox after a 2-0 defeat in 2007? His save from Louis Saha in the famous 1-0 victory over Manchester United after Shinsuke Nakamura’s free kick? There is probably one moment though that sticks out above all the controversy and world class moments and that is his performance in the penalty shootout against Spartak Moscow at Celtic Park. With the tie level at 2-2 after extra time, Celtic needed a hero to secure their passage into the Champions League group stage. Boruc made two incredible saves in the shoot-out from Titov and Kalinichenko to secure a 4-3 victory and Celtic’s first ever European penalty shoot-out victory, as the Champions League music blasted through the tannoy.
Paul John Dykes
Player – Peter Latchford
Signed From – West Brom (Free – 1975)
Appearances – 272
Cult Hero Moment – Peter ‘The Cat’ Latchford was a signing made by Jock Stein under the recommendation of then England Manager, Don Revie. The English keeper was known for either pulling off a world class save or giving away the odd soft, sometimes very soft, goal. However, one of the moments which will have Latchford down as a Celtic Cult Hero is his save in the 1977 Glasgow Derby. With the scores tied at 2-2, a visibly injured Latchford managed to save John Grieg’s deflected top corner-bound shot and turn it around the post. Celtic would go on to lift the title that season along with the Scottish Cup, and the performances of Latchford in goal would be one of the key reasons behind the success.
Player – Magnus Hedman
Signed From – Coventry (£1.5m – 2002)
Appearances – 38
Cult Hero Moment – Celtic were making waves within European football, with the group stage of the Champions League becoming the norm under Martin O’Neill, however it was always thought that the team needed an upgrade from their usual number 1, Rab Douglas.
Hedman, a Swedish International with over 50 caps for his country, was thought to be the missing piece of the jigsaw for the Bhoys, and the early signs were good. A fantastic performance at home to Anderlecht in which Hedman saved a penalty could go down as his cult hero moment, however he will more than likely be forever remembered for his howlers away in Munich and Lyon which cost Celtic well-earned points. These howlers led to the introduction of another Cult Hero in David Marshall which asks the question, what would have happened with Hedman in goal against Barcelona?Listen to the award-winning A Celtic State of Mind podcast