Andy Goram

By Adam Robertson
 September 22, 2020

Andy Goram - Dark Arts

Andy Goram - Dark Arts

I’m not sure which is the most impressive: the rude run of generally excellent goalkeepers Rangers Football Club has enjoyed since the mid-1980s or the gap between Andy Goram’s peak and that of any other Scottish goalkeeper since the days of black and white. 

Not unlike some of the other members of this great assortment of Rangers greats, it wasn’t all plain-sailing for Goram at the start of his Ibrox career. But by the end Goram, another Ranger following Scot Symon to have played in a Scotland side at both cricket and football, had carried his bat and was fully deserving of the applause. 

Some goalkeepers rely on their height, or their ballast, or sometimes just their Inspector Gadget style arms to make up for their deficiencies elsewhere (normally in the brain, it ought to be said) and it’s certainly the case that some goalkeepers get a reputation for a certain way of organising their defence and keeping out the ball. Goram occasionally looked small by comparison to some of the giants in front of him in defence but in truth was above average height (for the population if not the goalkeepers’ union) and it’s his ability to stop shots, as much as save them, that cements his legacy. 

Before he came to Rangers Goram would have faced a little more goalmouth action than would ordinarily be the case in his time at Ibrox but his skills would improve during his time as #1. Chief among them – and evident so many times over the years – was the ability to concentrate and be ready for that one or two vital times in a match where you would be expected to make a key contribution. It’s difficult to teach that and explains why so many goalkeepers who make the move from a team where you’re constantly under barrage to a side that rarely concedes possession or clear-cut chances can find it to be so tricky: it’s very difficult even for very gifted goalies. 

Some of the outrageous stops made by Andy Goram in Old Firm derbies are worthy of their own 24hr channel, and it’s quite a feeling to have when you know you have the better goalkeeper and – at times – you get carried away with the notion that it’s probably going to have to be something illegal to get past him. Certainly, Goram thrived on such games and was rarely slow in stirring – or in his case kicking – the pot that was permanently in danger of boiling over. 

Walloping the ball off the back of Di Canio’s head once was amusing, by the second quite coincidental time it had reached the Fascist napper of the bold Paolo it had encouraged a reaction from the fans more commonly associated with an old-fashioned (and now quite illegal) slide tackle cum leg sweep. In truth, Goram destroyed the creative heart of that entire team; the manager lost the plot in self-analysis and self-pity, big Pierre can still not believe that double save, and the crank Di Canio was forced to reinvent himself as a charitable soul after he left for England. 

An entire side-industry driven by the erotic urges of those who think Celtic were habitually hard-done by or thoroughly rampant throughout the stewardship of the now morally repulsive Tommy Burns still fundamentally distorts and fails to realise what happened in the mid-1990s; even in the games, mainly at Parkhead, where Goram excelled and Celtic were wasteful it was pretty clear that Walter Smith knew that the defence –and especially that goalkeeper – could likely absorb most of the sustained possession enjoyed by the opponent, and working on the break really suited many of the sides he put out. And so it was, time and again. 

Goram’s delight in the dark arts was as satisfying as it was par for the course for the generally touched sub-species that is the goalkeeper’s classification but even allowing for that high standard of ‘keepers in recent times Andy’s position at the top is secure. He is ‘The Goalie’.

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