Kenny Jackett offers penalty hero Craig MacGillivray hope in battle for Portsmouth spot

Kenny Jackett has opened the door for Craig MacGillivray as Pompey’s number one following his substitute heroics.

Sunday, 30th August 2020, 12:00 pm
Craig MacGillivray is gunning to return as Pompey's number one following his stunning substitute outing at Stevenage on Saturday. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

However, he emerged from the bench at half-time at Stevenage in the Carabao Cup on Saturday, with Bass out-of-sorts and the Blues facing an embarrassing defeat.

MacGillivray subsequently inspired Jackett’s men to victory by saving three out of four spot-kicks in a penalty shoot-out success following a 3-3 draw.

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A sweet moment for the 27-year-old on his third appearance of the calendar year – and in the week he was omitted from the Scotland squad.

Jackett told The News: ‘I suppose the number one is the person in goal at that particular time, whether that’s form, injury or just selection.

‘We’ll see if Craig starts the next game. If you were a betting man you would think he would.

‘Craig has done really well in pre-season. We were obviously behind on Saturday so I felt he would settle us down a bit at the back and give us a platform to try to have a good go at getting back into the tie.

‘It’s close between the two, though. They are both very good goalkeepers and I am confident in whichever one plays.

‘A substitution does depend on the quality of the player coming in and what type of pre-season he’s had. I have been very confident of Craig - as I am with Alex.

‘Craig has responded in the right way to losing his place after Christmas. Alex had a storming second half to the season before lockdown and showed a lot of promise, but Craig is a bit more experienced.

‘He has pushed and pushed and, fair play to him, came on against Stevenage and settled us down in the second half, although didn’t have much to do during that.

‘But, similarly, there were crucial saves in the shoot-out.

‘We’ve had lots of conversations, no player is happy to be out of the team, but the standard of his work has been very good. As has Alex during pre-season, they have both pushed each other.

‘It’s a strong department for the club. I want to get every department as strong as that.’

Bass was initially preferred to MacGillivray on New Year’s Day for a 1-1 draw at Gillingham.

Pompey’s next fixture is an EFL Trophy group match against Colchester on September 8 at Fratton Park.

Jackett added: ‘I’ve told Alex to keep his head up.

‘He will come back from this, 100 per cent. He’s a young goalkeeper and will benefit from the experience.

‘He will draw breath and go again. He will keep pushing his mate, which is his job.’

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