The unknown freebie now a pivotal Portsmouth goalkeeping presence

With impeccable timing, Craig MacGillivray's contract extension was announced.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 11:39 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 12:44 pm
Craig MacGillivray's impressive performances have been rewarded with a new deal. Picture: Joe Pepler

The previous afternoon, Bryn Morris had completed his anticipated switch from Shrewsbury for a nominal fee.

It was a trail blazed by the midfielder's former New Meadow team-mate last summer.

Indeed, MacGillivray was consulted by Morris as he weighed up a south-coast reunion. The subsequent recommendation was only ever going to be glowing.

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Craig MacGillivray's impressive performances have been rewarded with a new deal. Picture: Joe Pepler

The goalkeeper represented an unknown quantity upon his June 2018 arrival. A 25-year-old free agent whose Football League career was largely restricted to back-up service.

Today, a mere seven months and 12 days into his Fratton Park stay, the Scot was handed a fresh deal, securing him until the summer of 2021.

Testament to MacGillivray's remarkable impact within this League One table-topping side.

Kenny Jackett and his recruitment team may have been doubted at the time, yet the ex-Harrogate Town stopper has proven an outstanding signing.

Challenged to topple Luke McGee, who last term wracked up 50 appearances following an arrival from Spurs for an undisclosed fee, MacGillivray's response has been emphatic.

The affable 26-year-old has been a dependable and highly-reliable presence for the Blues during the first half of the campaign.

Jackett craved consistency of character, a balanced personality impervious to potential confidence-crushing slips.

It's a trait perfectly epitomised by MacGillivray's spot-kick save against Billy Kee in October '“ having clumsy gifted Accrington the penalty in the first place.

Indeed, such misjudgements have rarely been observed by the Fratton faithful.

McGee may presently be injured, yet in truth his rival has failed to portray any chinks to inspire hope of a future first-team return on performance grounds.

MacGillivray's dominance of his penalty area is magnificent, there remains a natural comfort on the ball coupled with the ability to distribute effectively, while his shot stopping cannot be questioned.

Off the pitch he has also fitted, a friendly, down-to-earth character possessing an infectious love of football.

Now League One Shrewsbury have been raided once more '“ and Morris has an excellent travelling companion to inspire.