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Marshall, Gordon Jnr
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PersonalFullname: Gordon Marshall
Born: 19 Apr 1964
Signed: 12 Aug 1991
Left: 19 Jan 1998
International Caps: 1 cap
BiogGordon Marshall (Jr) is one who gets a mixed reception from Celtic fans. Some cynics like to remark that as a youth he was on Rangers books, but that's not fair on Marshall and he never got anywhere close to their senior squad. In addition, there a number of our great players grew up as Rangers fans only to later see the light and come to us and prosper (e.g. Dalglish). Notably, Marshall turned down overtures to go to Ibrox under Walter Smith for a second chance. He is the son of a former Celtic player, albeit one who himself played hardly many games.
Anyhow, on moving to Celtic, (a £270k transfer from Falkirk) Gordon Marshall was subordinate to Paddy Bonner who was reaching the tale-end of his career. Having easily lost his way in goals, Liam Brady stepped up and gave Marshall a chance which he took with both hands, and he did a very good job of it, even ending up winning a cap for Scotland. A fair shot stopper he easily took over from Paddy in goals, the first to do so in over ten years.
Must be remembered that this was the barren years for Celtic, and results and performances were poor. Marshall was a good keeper but not great, and as the defence as a whole was poor then the goalkeeper is made to look worse than he is. He had to play behind such great luminaries like Gary Gillespie (who wouldn't have looked bad with him in front at the time?).
The main problems really began when the pass-back rule was brought in and simply he didn't adjust well. In time he won back his place as the number one goalkeeper (after being dropped) but many were never convinced by him no matter how hard he tried (finding reasons for our poor form). Unfair for him but he plugged away and did have a number of good performances. He survived through a number of managers, and under Tommy Burns finally managed to play in his first Cup final with Celtic. So was this redemption for him? Sadly no, we drew two each with Raith Rovers and lost on penalties. It was a defeat that hurt more than most:
"It was 11 years ago [since the cup final defeat to Raith Rovers] and I don’t talk about it. It was a bad day, certainly, but, though I can’t erase it, I don’t think back on it. I have never even opened the box that my medal sits in."
Unfairly castigated for the league cup final defeat, many supporters turned on Marshall, with some even booing our own man in goals. He wasn't to blame solely for the defeat. As he expressed later:
"It is not pleasant being booed by 50,000 of your own supporters. I meet Celtic fans now and they always tell me they weren’t the ones who booed. But someone must have because I heard them loudly enough."
An exaggeration from Marsahll that all booed, but in truth those that did do so were more than audible and couldn't be ignored, and it was excessive & unacceptable. With Rangers having Andy Goram in goals, the comparisons from across the city just made things more difficult for Gordon.
Must add that he had his chances also and tried his very best, plus he was capped once by Scotland, against the United States in May 1992. An indication of sorts of his quality at a point in his career when the national side actually had some quality.
In January 1998, Gordon Marshall left for Kilmarnock. Unfairly maligned by certain sections of the Celtic support, the likely reasoning behind it was that he was too closely identified with the barren days and so too many regarded him as partly attributable for the poor form in those days. In some ways he was unlucky to have been with us during the worst of times, but those who can look beyond the gloom of that era remember a guy who tried his best and that's all we can ask for. In truth, in his early years he had a good shut-out rate in his games and that must be remembered, and he was no worse than many other keepers we'd had over the past and next decade before him.
He was a better keeper than some care to remember, but the barren years definitely were a hard time to find any gold nuggets from. In one interview in 1995 with the official magazine he was asked what was the best game he had played in with Celtic, he replied: "I'm still waiting on that special one!". It never really did come for him sadly and in truth, great Celtic moments were thin on the ground for much of the 90s.
He never did win a major trophy winner's medal in a cup final or Premier Division/League title medal at the senior level (he only had one appearance in the 1997/98 season), which is a shame as he deserved some better recognition. We wish him well.
|Club||From||To||Fee||League||Scottish Cup||League cup||Other|
|Celtic||12/08/1991||19/01/1998||£ 270,000||100 (0)||0||4 (0)||0||4 (0)||0||4 (0)||0|
|goals / game||0||0||0||0|
Honours with Celticnone
Second ReviewGordon Marshall Jnr. was the son of Gordon Marshall Snr., Celtic goalkeeper in season 1971/72.
Marshall began his career as a youth player at Rangers, but failed to make any first team appearances for the club. He went on to play for East Stirlingshire (loan from Rangers following a broken leg), East Fife and Falkirk.
Liam Brady brought him to Celtic for a tribunal set fee of £270,000 in August 1991. At the start of the season he was in competition for the No1 goalkeeping spot with Celtic stalwart Pat Bonner but he won his chance when Bonner was dropped by Brady after one mistake too many against Motherwell in November 1991. He started 92/93 as first choice keeper but lost out to Bonner in September before making a return at the end of the season after Bonner returned injured from international duty.
Falkirk made a bid to take him back on loan but this was vetoed by the SFA. He was out of contract at the end of the season and he rejected the first terms offered to him in April '93. He signed a new 3-year deal after Lou Macari arrived to replace Brady. Macari promptly dropped him and sent him on a month loan to Joe Jordan at Stoke from 25/11/93. The loan was extended for a further month and, on return to Celtic Park, he initially found it hard to get a game before settling in to the Premier Reserves. Macari had signed Carl Muggleton
With the sacking of Lou Macari, Tommy Burns arrived as manager, re-signed Bonner on another 1 year deal and installed Marshall as his No1 between the sticks, before changing heart and reinstating Bonner during the middle of the season. Gordon started 95/96 as first choice keeper again and had a very good season with Bonner fading from the picture as age finally started to catch up with him. However there was new competition waiting in the wings. He saw half of 96/97 as first choice before losing the starting spot to Stewart Kerr.
Season 97/98 was his last season at the club and Celtic's season of the Curse of the Goalkeeper. Kerr was injured. Marshall started the season but fell aside to newly acquired Jonathon Gould. Jansen clearly did not fancy Marshall and lent him to St Mirren only to recall him when he realised that the only fit back-up keepers were youngsters Barry John Corr and Andy McCondichie. This proved to be the turning point. Marshall put in a transfer request and he departed for Kilmarnock in January 1998.
Career after Celtic:
Gordon had 5 positive years at Rugby Park before moving to Motherwell in 2003 where he also joined the coaching staff. He retired in 2005 and joined the Hibernian coaching staff in November 2005. He was to work a Goalkeeping Coach with Hibernian but left that role in 2009.
Why old Marshall deserves a medal
Published Date: 20 March 2005
WHEN out and about these days, Gordon Marshall has become accustomed to being met with the same greeting. "People will come up to me in the street and say: ‘Are you still playing, you old bugger?’" says the Motherwell keeper. "I take it as a compliment."
So he should. For Marshall isn’t merely "still playing". His age - he will be 41 in a month - may put him in the super-veteran bracket. But on taking to the field for his club’s CIS Insurance Cup final against Rangers at Hampden this afternoon, the keeper can content himself he is still prospering at a level he has maintained through most of his 23-season, 651-game senior career.
For, whatever happens today, Marshall will be coming as close to snaring a major honour as ever; the competition bringing him losers medals with Kilmarnock, after their 3-0 reverse against Celtic in 2001, and with the Parkhead club themselves, the keeper never truly forgiven for his part in the penalty shoot-out defeat at the hands of Raith Rovers in 1994.
Equally, in the history of this tournament, only Jim Leighton, close on 42 when turning out for Aberdeen four years ago, had more days on his body clock when appearing in a League Cup final than Marshall will have today. His longevity the Fir Park keeper attributes to a little luck and the manner in which he has been handled in his two years with the Lanarkshire club and the five-and-a-half years he spent at Rugby Park prior to this.
"I have learned to be sensible in how I prepare myself and Terry Butcher, just like Bobby Williamson before him, has allowed me to manage my own fitness," Marshall says. "I know what I can get away with now, and by that I don’t mean selling myself or my team short. It is all about preserving my energies for games through working within my limitations. But I’ve been fortunate with my physical shape. I have had operations on my knees and shoulder but these were minor tidy-ups."
Marshall’s outlook has also proved advantageous to his incredible endurance. In making his first-team debut on September 4, 1982, against future employers East Fife while on loan at East Stirling from first club Rangers, half of the current Motherwell squad weren’t even born when he was taking his first significant step towards carving out a senior career. But in his day to day existence, Marshall can still relate to the colts wearing claret and amber.
"I don’t think the Motherwell lads see me as an ancient codger and I certainly don’t feel that way," Marshall says. "My age hasn’t had any bearing on what I am able to contribute. As for the nights out, I am still in among boys. There are places I won’t go, places that, when they are mentioned, I just say: ‘Listen, I’m off for my train home to Edinburgh’. But we have a mutual understanding."
As well as mutual respect. This quality was instrumental in Motherwell reaching their first League Cup final in 50 years. Just before the extra-time period of their semi-final with Hearts at Easter Road last month, the one-time hairdresser, appropriately enough, took it upon himself to give his team-mates the hairdryer. After surrendering a two-goal lead late on, he impressed on them, with choice language, that they had won the tie once and had to win it again. Many of the Fir Park side have said this bore fruit.
"Terry has since told me that Alf Ramsey said something similar when England won the 1966 World Cup final, but I didn’t know that," Marshall says. "I am vocal on the pitch but have never been a ranter and raver off it. That night I just felt we couldn’t allow such a great opportunity to slip from our grasp."
Yet Marshall did just this as a teenager on Rangers’ books. Goalkeeping was in the blood. His father, Gordon Marshall senior, remains his sounding board and collected the full set of medals with record-breaking Hearts and Hibernian sides during a career which also brought him a stint at Celtic. But in joining Rangers straight from school, junior did not apply himself as was necessary. This forced him to part-time football with East Fife after being released by the Ibrox club in the summer of 1983. Then, a young keeper called Andy Bruce was considered better back-up than Marshall to Peter McCloy and - regular confidante to this day - Jim Stewart.
"I can understand why John Greig opted for Andy over me," Marshall says. "I didn’t lark about or anything but failed to treat my duties with the seriousness required. The day John told me I was released I didn’t even appreciate what was happening."
Establishing himself as a regular at Firs Park, he helped win them promotion and continued to learn his trade under coach Mike Marshall. By March 1987, he was a full-time performer with Falkirk. At both clubs he played in excess of 100 league games, which was also true of his spells with Celtic and Kilmarnock that followed.
"I can look back at my career and say I wasn’t just on the bus but on the pitch at the clubs I’ve been with," Marshall says. "I had good times at Falkirk in winning the First Division and playing in the Premier. I have always looked to play for managers who wanted me and gone elsewhere when feeling that might not be the case. That is why I can take good memories from all the teams I have turned out for."
Although the six and a half years he was with Celtic on signing for them from Falkirk for £270,000 in August 1991 represents the longest he spent with any club, this also provided him with more downs than any other stop-off. Yet, initially, he seemed well served by his guiding principles. These had led him to reject an offer from Rangers manager Walter Smith in favour of accepting one from his Old Firm counterpart Liam Brady. Smith had told him straight that Andy Goram would forever be his No.1 while Brady had insisted he would be allowed to vie for this position with Pat Bonner.
"Both were honest and everything went according to plan in my first year at Celtic," says Marshall. "I made it into the team and at the end of my first year won my only Scotland cap [in a friendly against the USA in Denver in 1992]. Then in the early months of the next season I lost my place."
He regained this but his Celtic nadir arrived in the form of the Coca-Cola Cup final of November 1994. Marshall did not cover himself in glory when Gordon Dalziel made it 2-2 to earn a penalty shoot-out but is understandably narked some choose to define his Celtic service by the events that afternoon. "It was 11 years ago and I don’t talk about it," Marshall says. "It was a bad day, certainly, but, though I can’t erase it, I don’t think back on it. I have never even opened the box that my medal sits in."
In January 1998, Kilmarnock provided him an escape route from a posting that had clearly gone wrong. "It is not pleasant being booed by 50,000 of your own supporters. I meet Celtic fans now and they always tell me they weren’t the ones who booed. But someone must have because I heard them loudly enough."
At Rugby Park he was the target of appreciation. He played more games for the Ayrshire club, both domestically and in Europe, than he has racked up with any other employer. "My Kilmarnock days were as satisfying as any I have known in the game," he maintains. "I even moved to the area for two years which, as a confirmed Edinburgher, says everything about how at home I felt there. I know they had won the Cup but when I joined them the focus was still on avoiding relegation. By the time I left it had changed to making a pitch for Europe regularly. As with Motherwell, the sense of togetherness was terrific. Kilmarnock was full of great people, real people, and I was fortunate to swap one club like this for another."
No way, he says, could he have anticipated coming within a solitary victory of trophy wins with both. No way, equally, can he say with certainty whether next season will allow him any further such opportunity. A qualified goalkeeping coach, he hopes to stay in the game beyond the completion of his third consecutive one-year deal. There is surely every chance this will be as a player.
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