JIM Goodwin has emerged as an unlikely champion of the SFA’s disciplinary system, despite compiling arguably the most notorious charge sheet in the game since it was introduced three years ago.
The St Mirren captain has racked up 43 bookings and three dismissals in the three full seasons since the SFA introduced their fast-track set-up with a compliance officer and judicial panel dealing with offences.
Goodwin has been issued with notices of complaint twice in that period, accepting additional two-match bans for charges of violent conduct in matches against Motherwell and Dundee United. But he has also benefited from the new appeals system, having a claim for wrongful dismissal in a match against Hibs in April this year upheld.
Vincent Lunny, the SFA’s first full-time compliance officer, stepped down last month to be replaced by Glasgow lawyer Tony McGlennan.
In the latest high-profile case to be dealt with, Rangers striker Kris Boyd will appear at Hampden tomorrow to appeal against his charge of headbutting Hibs defender Jordon Forster at Ibrox last week.
Although unwilling to comment on that specific incident, Goodwin has offered his support for the overall disciplinary set-up.
“As a player, when you do something stupid, you know almost immediately it was the wrong thing,” said the 32-year-old defender.
“With hindsight, you wouldn’t do it but the compliance officer is there for the good of the game. He has got an important job and if things do get missed by the match officials, it is important things are punished sufficiently.
“I’m maybe not the best person to be speaking about it as I’ve had my difficulties in the past and done some stupid things.
“I haven’t seen the Kris Boyd incident, so I’m reluctant to comment on it. What I do know is that things happen in the heat of the moment on a football pitch.
“We’ll see what the outcome is with Kris’s one, but as players we’ve all got a responsibility to stick to the rules of the game.
“But I don’t really feel comfortable talking about it because my record is a shambles anyway! People will laugh at me telling people what they should be doing. I can’t listen to myself half the time, so I can’t give anyone advice on that matter.”
Goodwin was sent off on the opening day of this season and has since picked up another four bookings but the Irishman continues to be an important contributor on the pitch for St Mirren where he is now a player-coach under manager Tommy Craig.
After losing their first five Premiership fixtures, the Paisley club have collected seven points from their last four games to climb off the bottom of the table.
Goodwin believes the young players in the Saints squad merit greater recognition for their efforts.
“We probably don’t sing their praises enough,” he said. “Particularly in the last couple of weeks when we had injuries to more experienced lads, the younger boys have had to be called upon. They’ve come in and done absolutely terrific.
“One or two have even been played out of position and they’ve done everything we’ve asked of them. Usually wee John McGinn and Kenny McLean take a lot of the plaudits.
“But Sean Kelly came back in at left-back, Thomas Reilly is a natural striker or No 10 but had to fit into midfield and has been terrific.
“We had a discussion prior to the St Johnstone game last weekend that these boys are in now and it’s up to them to keep the jersey. There’s no reason to change it. If things are going well, then just because experienced boys come back and become available again doesn’t mean they’re going to get their place back in the team.
“That’s good and healthy for the group. It’s important to have a strong squad like that so when injuries or suspensions come along the young boys are ready to step in. That goes for me too.
“I’m still only 32 and I’ve hopefully got a few years left in the game if Tommy keeps picking me. If I’m sitting there at 37 and 38 and I feel like I’m holding a young boy back from getting his break, then I’ll step aside.
“We’re actually not blessed with a massive amount of experience through the squad. Apart from myself and Gary Teale, who is also coaching, there is Steven Thompson who is still out injured at the moment.
“You are then looking at Marc McAusland being one of the oldest of the rest at just 26. So it’s great that we’ve got such a good group of young players at the club. They have all trained with the first-team squad for the last couple of years, so they know what the standards are when they do get their chance in the team.”
l Jim Goodwin was speaking at the launch of the 2014-15 SPFL Topps Match Attax Collection, which features all Scottish Premiership and Scottish Championship clubs. It is on sale now from all good retail outlets.