From second-choice stopper to rubbing shoulders with Liverpool and Manchester United regulars - Craig MacGillivray has thrived at Portsmouth

Checkatrade Trophy FINAL -  Sunderland v Portsmouth - 31/03/19'- Portsmouths Craig MacGillivray celebrates after he makes the only save during the penalty shootout
Checkatrade Trophy FINAL - Sunderland v Portsmouth - 31/03/19'- Portsmouths Craig MacGillivray celebrates after he makes the only save during the penalty shootout
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When Craig MacGillivray signed for Pompey, there'd have scarcely been a fan who recognised his name. 

Then when assessing his C.V, there wasn’t much the Fratton faithful could get enthused about.

MacGillivray had 20 Football League appearances under his belt, been No2 at Walsall and Shrewsbury and hadn’t had regular minutes since his non-league days. 

If he was arriving to become first-choice keeper then he was swiftly going to have to win over the supporters.

Yet after little more than a year on the south coast, MacGillivray’s not only emphatically done that but now he’ll be rubbing shoulders with a Champions League winner and a Manchester United regular.

The stopper has received his maiden call-up to Scotland’s squad ahead of their European Championships 2020 qualifiers against Russia and Belgium next month.

That sees him named in a set-up that includes Liverpool’s Andy Robertson and Red Devils midfielder Scott McTominay.

And there won’t be a Blues supporter who’ll argue it isn’t richly deserved.

In credit to MacGillivray, he’d endured wretched luck at his previous two clubs.

He’s firstly been behind Neil Etheridge at Walsall before he played back-up to Manchester United loanee Dean Henderson at Shrewsbury. 

Both of those have gone on to play in the Premier League. 

It took MacGillivray no time at all to underline his quality, helping Kenny Jackett’s side deliver a 1-0 victory against Luton on his debut last season. 

And in his subsequent 60 appearances, he’s continued to thrive.

Consistent, commanding, level-headed and a fine shot stopper, there are few, if any, chinks in the 26-year-old’s armour.

In fact, you can hardly remember a mistake he’s made while donning the star & crescent.

There was one at Accrington last season, when he fumbled a corner and conceded a penalty when trying to gather the loose ball – yet atoned for the error by saving Billy Kee’s spot-kick. 

MacGillivray has somewhat of a penchant for saving penalties, having kept out Lee Cattermole’s effort in the Checktrade Trophy final at Wembley.

That proved decisive, with Pompey beating Sunderland 5-4 in the shootout.

In the 1-1 draw against the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light in April, the former Harrogate Town man delivered his best performance for the Blues.

It took three top-drawer saves to ensure Jackett’s men still had a hope of achieving automatic promotion. 

Described as a model professional by Gareth Evans, that’ll be a sentiment echoed by the rest of his team-mates and his manager.

Not only that, but he’s an affable character who’s always up for a chat with either supporters or the press.

Large sections of fans have been adamant MacGillivray deserved a call-up to the Scotland squad.

Now that’s come to fruition, his challenge is to oust fellow keepers David Marshall and Jon McLoughlin.