From McGregor to Marciano - the 12 best goalkeepers in the 18/19 Scottish Premiership analysed

Share this article
0
Have your say

The top 12 goalkeepers who played in the Scottish Premiership during the 2018/2019 season, as voted by members of The Terrace Scottish Football Podcast.

READ MORE: The 12 best goalkeepers in the 2018/19 Scottish Premiership

Scott Bain and Craig Gordon both had their share of games for Celtic this season. Picture: SNS

Scott Bain and Craig Gordon both had their share of games for Celtic this season. Picture: SNS

The standard of goalkeeping in the league this past season was relatively high, especially those goalkeepers who were chosen in the first three or four positions.

Celtic and Rangers were blessed with strength in depth without much of a drop off when the first choice was absent. At Parkhead it even saw Scott Bain usurp Craig Gordon for the starting berth.

A few new faces entered the scene from last season with the previous year's list found here.

Note: Putting these lists together is a fine balancing act, with current form, potential and previous seasons taken into consideration. Debate and criticise the selections at your leisure.

12. Zdenek Zlamal (Heart of Midlothian)

The Czech goalkeeper is our first new entrant having been signed to replace last season's No.3 Jon McLaughlin at Tynecastle Park. To say he hasn't filled the boots of the Scotland internationalist is an understatement. That being said, overall, he has had a good season.

Hearts fans were treated to his 'unique' style in a Betfred Cup clash with Cove Rangers. From acrobatic warm-ups - he did gymnastics at school - to being told to 'shut the f*** up' by John Souttar. Yet, the support grew to love his eccentricities, while he was producing the goods on the park - an early stand out was a match-winning save against Dunfermline Athletic in the League Cup.

Mistakes began to emerge, notably in the 3-0 defeat to Celtic in the semi finals of the aforementioned competition. He was dropped after a disastrous display at Livingston. Zlamal missed ten games but took over the No.1 spot in February and made it his own again.

11. Trevor Carson (Motherwell)

The Northern Irishman's inclusion can be owed to the credit in the bank built up during the 2017/2018, placing fifth in the list this time last year. He made 17 appearances before being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It could have been worse, with doctors "90 per cent sure" he had cancer.

Prior to the illness the 31-year-old had continued his reliability between the sticks, albeit his last outing was in a 7-1 defeat to Rangers. Carson's frame makes him an intimidating presence for strikers, especially in 1v1 situations, while he seems to have the size of hands equivalent to a giant foam hand.

A mention has to be reserved for Mark Gillespie who had the responsibility of filling his gloves, something which he did to a high standard and never let the Steelmen down.

10. Wes Foderingham (Rangers)

Like Carson, the Englishman is someone who retains his place in the list because of how he has performed in previous seasons - fourth in the last two campaigns.

Last summer the goalkeeper position didn't seem to be an area that required improvement at Ibrox but the club opted in bringing back Allan McGregor, pushing Foderingham into the No.2 spot. Therefore Steven Gerrard has had two very good goalkeepers at his disposal.

The 28-year-old has still managed eight appearances, helped by McGregor's disciplinary record, and is of the standard that he was never going to let Rangers down. A popular figure and one who is likely to move on this summer.

9. Ofir Marciano (Hibernian)

It has been the proverbial season of two halves for the Israeli. It took until December for him to make his first appearance following recovery from a finger injury and then finding himself on the bench with Adam Bogdan between the sticks. He didn't win his No.1 spot back until January.

From then on, Marciano bordered on excellent.There was the sensational display against Celtic in the goalless draw after the split, while he produced one of the saves of the season in a win at Dundee. It was that latter save which epitomised the positives of the goalkeeper's game. The ability to spring to either side, quick reactions and a strong hand.

On his day Marciano would be in contention for the top three on this list. No one, not even Aberdeen's Joe Lewis, is capable of the spectacular like the Hibs goalkeeper. This writer would have him higher up, but the mistakes that rear their head and the fact he isn't as commanding as he should be still holds weight.

8. Liam Kelly (Livingston)

The ex-Rangers goalkeeper was a pivotal presence in their Ladbrokes League One win and he proved to be a decisive recruit in the summer of the club's Premiership tilt.

Kelly was the perfect No.1 for Livi and their style of football. He was already attuned to the way the team played having featured under David Hopkin and when Gary Holt took over from Kenny Miller he again proved his worth, both in the defensive and attacking phase.

A dab hand at keeping the ball out of the net, he had possibly the longest kick of any goalkeeper in the league, able to turn defences for Livingston to press teams. No player hit more long balls and only Celtic's Callum McGregor put the ball into the final third more than Kelly.

In the second half of the season saw bad errors creep in but he had done enough to push himself high up the list.

READ MORE: Every Scottish Premiership player released or to have left their club after the 18/19 season

7. Vaclav Hladky (St Mirren)

If this list was solely judged on the second half of the season the Buddies goalkeeper would be challenging the top spots, just ahead of Ofir Marciano. Is he that good? This writer believes so. He has that agility and power to allow him to make the saves some other goalkeepers simply aren't capable of.

Where he excels is his anticipation, springing from his line to thwart a striker and narrow the angle or simply sweep. A huge strength when playing behind the St Mirren defence. In addition, there is no other goalkeeper as competent stopping shots with his feet, meaning he can react to stop those difficult efforts.

Hladky's importance was shown in the Premiership playoff win over Dundee United where he was the hero in the penalty shootout. One of the best, if not the best, January signings.

6. Zander Clark (St Johnstone)

The 26-year-old dropped off last year's list having been in the 2017 edition with former team-mate Alan Mannus getting the nod after a frustrating campaign. Yet, he was entrusted with the No.1 spot when the Northern Irishman left in the summer.

He hasn't let Tommy Wright down. Aside from four games he missed through a hamstring injury he played every single second of Saints' season. In turn, no goalkeeper faced as many shots and no goalkeeper made as many saves.

The calls for a Scotland call-up from Saints fans are understandable. He has been Mr Consistency. If this campaign acts as a staging post for him to improve further he won't be ignored by Steve Clarke for long.

5. Craig Gordon (Celtic)

The new year heralded new beginnings at Parkhead. For one, Craig Gordon was no longer seen as No.1. The last game the Scotland international played for Celtic was the 1-0 defeat at Ibrox at the end of December.

Brendan Rodgers seemed to suspicious of Gordon's talent as soon as he took over the reigns and question marks would arise every now and then during the Northern Irishman's tenure regarding the goalkeeping position. One of his last big decisions was to install Scott Bain as the first-choice stopper.

There was no egregious error or smaller errors over a three or four-week period. Instead it was more sustained with Rodgers wanting to improve Celtic's football. That being said, there is no denying Gordon's goalkeeping qualities and still has so much to offer at 36 years of age.

READ MORE: Hibs record higher average attendance than rivals Hearts - first time in 15 years

4. Scott Bain (Celtic)

It says a lot about the former Dundee man's influence on the Celtic team that Neil Lennon was happy to keep him as the club's No. 1. The previous season the 27-year-old showed his ability when he was dropped into an Old Firm derby.

When he took over from Gordon in January Brendan Rodgers was effusive in his praise of Bain's qualities as a footballer and the way he could play out. The ex-Celtic was clearly wanting to evolve the team's play.

Not only that but he kept eight clean sheets in a row which helped dispel some doubts over his ability as a Celtic No.1. Those, however, reared their head towards the end of the season with James Tavernier's free-kick in the derby loss to Rangers and the mix up which saw Jake Mulraney net for Hearts.

There is room for improvement but the biggest compliment is that he came in for Gordon and there have been very few question marks regarding that decision. Has the potential to place higher next season.

3. Daniel Bachmann (Kilmarnock)

Steve Clarke didn't have one, two or three gems at his disposal as he led Killie to third place and their highest finish since 1966. He had a raft of cogs in his well-oiled blue and white machine.

One of those cogs was the Austrian goalkeeper. One of the most consistent performers in the whole league, and in a way personified Kilmarnock. He is an easy player to talk about, he does everything to a high standard - well maybe his kicking can improve.

Bachmann shares similarities with Ofir Marciano. Big and strong but it doesn't stop him reacting quickly and getting down to shots. One of his biggest positives is his ability to push shots away from dangerous areas. He will be a huge hole to try and fill next season.

2. Joe Lewis (Aberdeen)

For the third season running the Dons goalkeeper places second. In the first, he was neck and neck with Craig Gordon. Last term saw a drop-off and Gordon easily earned the top place. The Englishman returned to top form this past campaign.

Lewis is back to the performer who you don't expect to make a mistake. A leader at Pittodrie, the news that he had committed himself to the club long-term was celebrated by the Aberdeen support.

Not a lot has to be written or said about the 31-year-old. He is just an excellent goalkeeper and he saved some of his best moments for Rangers. Superb in the 1-0 win in December and then kept the score down in April.

1. Allan McGregor (Rangers)

It's not often a goalkeeper described as 'box office' is the best in the league. Goalkeepers, while peculiar, are meant to be safe and reliable. McGregor is just that, but he has also has a proclivity to kick opponents.

He escaped punishment for a kick out at Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer but didn't when he left his studs planted in Lewis Ferguson's leg in a 4-2 win at Aberdeen. Then he was shown a red card for leaving his studs on Hibs striker Marc McNulty.

Yet, it shows the mark of how well he has played this season that despite all of that and the fact he is 37 years of age he finds himself in top position. Whether domestically or in Europe he has delivered big moments and big saves. He understands the winning culture around Rangers and is a genuine match-winner. He just needs to stop kicking opponents.

READ MORE: The average attendance of all 42 SPFL clubs - ranked