When Joe Lewis was injured in an away defeat to Rangers and required a knee operation it opened the door for Danny Rogers who had done well on loan at Dumbarton and Falkirk. Yet, there were question marks whether he could fill Lewis’ very big shoes. Manager Derek McInnes clearly thought similar as he recruited Freddie Woodman on loan.
If similar happened this season there would be little uncertainty. Tomas Cerny is a more than able deputy having him proved himself across more than eight seasons of Scottish football. The 33-year-old has plenty of experience, McInnes will know what he is getting, which leads to trust, from manager and defence.
Joe Lewis has stiff competition
With the signing Aberdeen have made a claim to have the strongest goalkeeping department in the Ladbrokes Premiership. Previously Lewis has had competition from either a goalkeeper approaching the end of his career (Neil Alexander) or young, promising goalkeepers (Rogers and Woodman). Now he has a goalkeeper who is still in the prime of his career behind him, one who would be No.1 at a number of Premiership clubs.
After a fabulous first season at Aberdeen there were moments of uncertainty last season from Lewis, including a couple of egregious errors. However, he was still one of the very best in the league. But so was Cerny, voted eighth in The Scotsman’s list of the 12 best goalkeepers in Scottish football.
If anything, Cerny’s addition should sharpen Lewis’ focus therefore improving Aberdeen’s No.1.
A sturdy presence
If Cerny plays Aberdeen fans will see a different style of goalkeeping to Lewis. While the Englishman uses his height to great advantage, Cerny is a more powerful goalkeeper. He is built like a steel gate found in a plush neighbourhood to keep the riffraff out. And he plays in a similar manner. His stocky build sees him stand up strong in 1v1 situations as he makes a square-like deterrent to forwards.
Tree-trunk like thighs help him to push off the ground and get to shots difficult shots, while his footwork to get across the goal quickly is of great benefit.
We’ve seen managers change their goalkeeper ahead of a penalty shoot-out owing to their prowess in facing shots from 12 yards, namely Louis van Gaal in the quarter-final of the 2014 World Cup, removing first-choice Jasper Cillessen for Tim Krul, who went on to save two penalties in the victorious shoot-out.
Could Derek McInnes be a pioneer in bringing on a goalkeeper to see out a victory by wasting time. In Cerny he has the ideal candidate if he were to opt to do so.
The Czech stopper is a wonderful proponent of gamesmanship. His ability to agonise over mud on his boot or take goal kicks in slow motion is something which really should be admired, even if it drives fans around the country crazy.
He makes saves
It really is a key quality for a goalkeeper. Some goalkeepers can be known for not making saves. There are a couple who have played in Scotland who fall into such category. But to save them such embarrassment it is easier to pick out English Premier League duo Claudio Bravo and Joe Hart.
Fans want to see a goalkeeper who, when it really matters, can make decisive saves and keep the ball from crossing the line. Cerny is one such goalkeeper. Last season only Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin made more saves, while Cerny lead the way for saves with reflexes with highlights his ability at reacting to situations.