The only way Pompey can guarantee they'll keep Craig MacGillivray amid Rangers, Birmingham and Huddersfield rumours

It’s a rumour that hasn’t had the Fratton faithful at panic stations.

Saturday, 7th December 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Saturday, 7th December 2019, 1:30 pm

Nevertheless, it’s still enough to have caused the debate to rage.

Craig MacGillivray is reportedly a wanted man, with Rangers, Huddersfield and Birmingham keeping tabs on him heading into the January transfer window.

The timing of such gossip emerged just a day after the keeper told The News he can fulfil his ambitions at Pompey.

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That meant it automatically allayed any concerns MacGillivray will be pushing for a move away from Fratton Park next month.

The Scot has proven an astute signing having arrived on a free from Shrewsbury in June 2018, recording 24 clean sheets in 76 appearances to date.

He featured in every League One game as Pompey’s campaign culminated in play-off defeat to Sunderland last term, while he was also the hero in the EFL Trophy final penalty shootout win against the Black Cats.

Had it not been for Matt Clarke monopolising the end-of-season awards, MacGillivray may have scooped more than just the Canadian Supporters' Club gong.

Craig MacGillivray. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com)

After Clarke and Jamal Lowe left in the summer – for Brighton and Wigan respectively – MacGillivray became Pompey’s second most valuable commodity behind Ronan Curtis.

The fact he was rewarded with a one-year contract extension in January until the summer of 2021 underlined he’s firmly part of the Blues’ long-term plans.

His consistent performances, consummate work ethic and genial character has impressed everyone at PO4.

For someone whose arrival had sections of supporters underwhelmed at the time, having been second choice at Walsall and the Shrews, MacGillivray swiftly became a fans’ favourite.

Craig MacGillivray. Picture: Nigel Keene

He’s continued his progress this term after breaking into Scotland’s squad and been praised by the national coaches north of the border while on international duty.

Errors have been seldom, with his mistake against Rotherham last month the first that led to a goal.

Having established himself among the very best in League One, the conclusion is MacGillivray is ready to step up to the next level.

The stopper is hoping it is with the Blues – and sees no reason why it can’t be.

The 26-year-old is happily ensconced in the south.

In truth, a January switch can almost categorically be ruled out.

Pompey will have no appetite to sell such a key player midway through the season, while MacGillivray himself won’t want to depart.

If the Blues are to enjoy promotion, a summer exit won’t be on the cards, either.

It’ll be a chance for the former non-league ace to test himself in the Championship.

Should Jackett’s side be shackled to another year in League One, though, then those chances would swell.

By his own admission, after signing a new deal, there are always possibilities of moving around the country. That’s the nature of the industry.

And following in the footstep of Clarke and Lowe's departures, MacGillivray could feel it’s time to move up a level.

The keeper is still to win a Scotland cap, with David Marshall and Jon McLaughlin currently ahead in the pecking order.

But If the status quo remains the same, then the Harrogate-raised ace may feel moving up the ladder would bolster his chances of making his bow.

Such rumours won’t unsettle the level-headed MacGillivray in any form and he'll remain focused on the job at hand.

But the only way Pompey can absolutely guarantee he stays beyond this term is by winning promotion.