At first glance a basement battle between Ayr United and Raith Rovers in the Scottish Championship in the middle of February would do little to capture the imagination of fans, but when you consider that Raith midfielder Ryan Stevenson had to start in goal for the visitors it raised a few eyebrows.
With three goalkeepers out injured and no readily available replacement, Stevenson, who had previously had a stint in goal with Partick Thistle in October 2015 towards the end of their 4-0 defeat to Hearts, stepped up and adorned the gloves.
Raith appealed to the SPFL board to postpone the match but the encounter went ahead.
In the end, the sideshow of Stevenson in goal overshadowed the game itself with Raith losing 1-0 courtesy of a header from a former Falkirk striker Farid El Alagui. However, it raises serious questions about the credibility of the Scottish game which is seemingly unable to rid itself of ridicule.
Scotland hasn’t qualified for a major tournament since 1998 and are ranked 67th in the world behind heavyweights such as Benin and Uzbekistan,
Brendan Rodgers has restored a bit of respectability with Celtic but it has otherwise been bitterly disappointing for Scottish clubs in Europe in recent years, and apparently even making a Scottish Cup draw last year was beyond us.
Rovers boss John Hughes slammed the SPFL’s decision to allow the game to go ahead as “embarrassing”. Former Scotland and Aberdeen defender Willie Miller was equally critical of the decision.
Whether Raith could have been more proactive and signed a young goalkeeper when they were down to one fit goalie is up for debate.
What isn’t though is that it is another issue which damages the brand of our game and it’s time to stop shooting ourselves in the foot.