Portsmouth boss believes keeper Craig MacGillivray can take emergence to international level

Pompey keeper Craig MacGillivray. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey keeper Craig MacGillivray. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Craig MacGillivray has been backed to continue his Pompey rise this season.

And Kenny Jackett believes that could result in an international breakthrough for a keeper.who's enjoyed an excellent Fratton career to date.

MacGillivray’s form has continued where he left off last season, after a campaign in which he made 56 appearances.

It took a world-class strike to beat the 26-year-old on the opening day at Shrewsbury and he followed that with two clean sheets on the bounce.

MacGillivray was exonerated of any blame by Jackett as two goals were shipped at Sunderland, while he was left exposed by poor defending against Coventry on Tuesday night.

Moments of quality have once again been evident in all those games from the keeper, yet a Scotland call-up continues to elude him.

Jackett sees no reason why that can’t change this season.

He said: ‘Craig has been a positive and consistent since the day he walked into the club. That’s great.

‘Last Saturday I felt we set him with too many back passes.

‘You have to be careful you don’t pass to your keeper more than you pass to you centre-forward in football.

‘We have to make sure you don’t put your keeper in tricky positions.

‘But his selection and his consistency since he’s been here has been very good.

‘It’s what he’s come here for (to play).

‘He tells me he wants to play every week.

‘He says his happy and wants to play all the time. That’s the right way to be and the right way to think.

‘As I’ve said, he’s a good goalkeeper and I’m pleased with him.

‘The comparison at Sunderland was with (Jon) McLaughlin who are both going for that Scotland jersey.

‘We'll see (if he can now get call-up). For a keeper he has his best years ahead of him.

‘A year in he’s certainly set his stall out to be one of the better keepers in the league.

‘That can only help us and help him.’

With few other clubs vying for MacGillivray’s signature. his recruitment last year has proved one of Jackett’s best pieces of business as Pompey manager.

Despite making just 20 league appearances by that stage of his career, the Blues boss could see undoubted potential.

He added: ‘It was a funny situation.

‘I was very aware of him at Walsall when he was behind (Neil) Etheridge.

‘Then at Shrewsbury he was behind Henderson. It’s tough to shift those guys,

‘If you look at what Etheridge has done and seeing (Dean) Henderson for Sheffield United in the Premier League.

‘But I was around those areas and those clubs so I got to see him play.

‘I always thought he would go on at 25 plus and be a good keeper.

‘So I was pleased to bring him here and so far, anyway, he’s responded well.’