Andy Goram: Wild days and close shaves at Hibs and Rangers - 'The Goalie' who wrote his own epitaph

Although they played in the same position, no one was ever going to mistake Andy Goram for Albert Camus. The Goalie was not big on French-Algerian philosopher-authors.

They did, though, both form their world views from the goal line. Goram’s was slightly less nuanced than Camus, who famously wrote that everything he ever learned about morality and obligations he owed to football.

While Goram, who died on Saturday aged 58, also considered football to have given him everything, he wasn’t always so keen on responsibility. He seemed determined at times to throw it all away, including on one occasion when he played cricket when instructed not to by his then manager at Hibs, Alex Miller.

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To be fair, the team he had been picked for was Scotland. The opposition were the then world champions Australia, Allan Border, Merv Hughes et al.

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The number of runs he made that afternoon made for an excellent pub quiz question: name the Scottish goalkeeper who scored four versus Australia. Natural sporting talent always seemed to prevail over his wild ways even if it was a close shave at times.

Former Hibs chairman David Duff recalls bumping into Goram and star striker Steve Archibald in Charlie Parker’s pub on Edinburgh's George Street on the night before a game. They all had to dive behind the bar when Miller later walked in. According to Duff, Goram kept a clean sheet the following day - or, indeed, later the same day - while Archibald won man of the match.

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Duff met Goram last August to flesh out some tales for a book set to be published later this year on his time at Easter Road. They sat outside together – again, on George Street – and could barely get down to business for all the number of passers-by stopping to shake Goram’s hand.

As well as an affidavit confirming all the stories about him were true - and there are some crackers - the goalkeeper signed a Hibs tee shirt for Duff. “Chairman, thanks for all the memories and giving me my chance,” he wrote.

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Rangers goalkeeper Andy Goram celebrates as Rangers make it four championships in a row in 1992.

Duff put him straight. “I didn’t give him his chance,” he says he told him. “Hibs did.”

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Goram’s own most recent book - The Goalie - was published in 2009. It’s not Camus and neither is it meant to be.

“Advocaat’s treatment of the team who won nine in a row left a sour taste in my mouth,” states Goram as he details the end of his Rangers days. “He was aptly named. Dick.”

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Still, the book is an eye opening, very readable and brutally honest chronicle of what it was like to be Andy Goram. Pretty exhausting, by all accounts.

Rangers goalkeeper Andy Goram salutes the fans during a Legends friendy match against AC Milan at Ibrox in 2012.
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Goram lands himself in predicament after predicament. Reading about one bender, in Tenerife in the summer of ’94, is enough to give any reader the fear even now. One can imagine how Goram felt when waking up in a different hotel to his then wife, Tracey, and son, Lewis, hours after they were supposed to have jetted home from the island. He had a pair of flip-flops and £40 to his name.

He did at least have some footballing mates for company. The trouble was they were Oldham Athletic players. He was at Rangers at the time.

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“They had just been relegated, and they were drowning their sorrows,” Goram writes, ominously. “They wanted me to join them for a pint …Where was the harm?”

The next thing he knows he’s in Oldham midfielder Mike Milligan’s hotel room. It’s 1pm the following day. He got his agent to wire him through some money. The Oldham players were back on the batter. “I just thought I might as well stay. I was in the doghouse anyway,” he reasons.

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It got worse. He leaves a lippy Dundee United supporter “flat out on the ground” in a bar days before treble-chasing Rangers are due to play the Tannadice side in the Scottish Cup final.

The upshot is that Ally Maxwell is in goals for that game and is culpable for the winner, scored by Craig Brewster. Goram’s bad back means he probably wouldn’t have played anyway. But he’s now put his entire Ibrox career in jeopardy.

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Walter Smith slaps him on the transfer list. The manager does let him go on an end of season jaunt to Canada. He lands in Toronto with his teammates to discover three white stretch limousines full of drink were there to pick them up. “First step …was a strip club called Runway 66, and all my woes drifted away,” Goram relates.

Unusually, he was given a second chance by Smith and won his place back in the team for a Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens. he stayed another four years, during which time his superb form helped Rangers to nine-in-a-row and was Scotland’s No 1 at Euro 96. It’s easy to forget he made his Scotland debut as far back as 1985 against East Germany while he was still at Oldham.

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He went to Mexico ‘86 as understudy to Jim Leighton with Alan Rough also included as back-up. Indeed, Rough is who he was signed to replace the following year by Hibs. In The Goalie, the chapter dealing with his move north starts in typical Goram-style.

“So, I found a new football club and lost a wife,” he recalls, recounting his move from Oldham to Easter Road, where his dad, Lewis, had also once played in goal. His pregnant first wife, Jackie, wasn’t so keen on the move to Scotland. But it was something Goram felt he had to do for the sake of his international career. As so often was the case, doing what he wanted meant burning bridges. That’s just the way it was with the Goalie.

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In the pages of his second autobiography, he even provides his own epitaph: “Here lies Andy Goram,” he said he wanted it to read. “He was dealt a hand and he played it. No regrets.”

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