Sandy Clark has questioned why former Aberdeen manager Craig Brown allowed goalkeeper Scott Bain to leave the club as a teenager before he had played a senior game for the Pittodrie side.
Clark was first-team coach alongside management team Jimmy Calderwood and Jimmy Nicholl as Bain was coming through the youth set-up at Aberdeen and following the trio’s departure from the club in 2009 he was surprised that their replacement, Brown, sanctioned the call to release Bain from the club.
Part-time football with Alloa was combined with labouring work on building sites before Bain returned to full-time football with Dundee.
“Scott Bain was at Aberdeen when I was there with the two Jimmies [Calderwood and Nicholl],” said Clark.
“It just amazes me that Aberdeen later let him go. I don’t want to have a dig at Craig Brown but he let him go for some reason and then to see him let go by Dundee as well, I couldn’t believe that. I’m delighted for him to see where is now, having known him when he was just a kid.
“Even then he stood out as a top goalkeeper. I worked with him in the Under 18s squad, so he’d have only been 16 when I first saw him but he was really good even then. I don’t know what happened to him that Aberdeen chose to let him go after we’d left. But it was even more of a tragedy that he left Dundee – maybe there was a disagreement with the manager but he should never have been allowed to leave there either.
“But he’s a great example for any young players in the game to never give in. Because when you look at where Scott has got to now it’s amazing. I’m really delighted for him as well. The moral of the story is if you think you’re good enough, don’t give up.”
The final night of the transfer window in January 2018 encapsulated Bain’s career as he turned up to sign for Celtic still sporting his Hibernian training kit. Still, though, there is a feeling that the colourful route he has taken to invite international honours and becoming first-choice goalkeeper for Celtic will foster an appreciation of the opportunity he has now.
“He’ll be all the tougher and hungrier for those experiences he’s been through,” said Clark. “Without a doubt he’ll appreciate this all the more. He’s a great example of how football can work if you battle through adversity.
“Football can kick you in the teeth and Scott’s had that. But when you look at the level he’s playing at now it’s just one of those really nice stories.
“I think it’s natural that you always keep an eye on all the young players that you’ve worked with to keep a track of where they are and what they’re doing. He’s definitely a big success story from a situation that could have gone really badly for him.”