East Fife goalkeeper Ryan Goodfellow hopes to start this evening against his former club, Dunfermline, in the BetFred Cup.
The 24-year-old began his senior career with the Pars and made his debut in 2013 away to Airdrieonians.
“I was just delighted at the time to get a chance in the first-team; I didn’t really think about the occasion or anything like that. Looking back at it now, I was very inexperienced and I am a much different keeper now. It was also a massive thing for me to come on against Rangers at Ibrox – being a boyhood Rangers fan. These memories are something I will look back on be proud of being able to play against these teams and at these stadiums. These matches at the early stage of my career were so important in making me develop into the keeper I am today.”
After being unable to dislodge on-loan Partick Thistle goalkeeper Ryan Scully over the course of two seasons, the Borderer decided it was time to move on to pastures new.
“One thing I never pushed for enough – and again, this comes down to my inexperience and the fact I didn’t have an agent to give me this kind of advice – was to go out on loan. I should have asked if it was possible. As much as I loved my time at Dunfermline, I wasn’t getting enough game-time and in hindsight, I think that if I had been put out on loan and I had got game-time then it would have allowed me to push on further. In the end, it was definitely the right decision to leave to join East Fife where I am really settled and enjoying my football.”
This will be the third season ‘Goody’ has been on the books at Bayview, with the shot-stopper having already won a league title with the Fifers, in the summer of 2016.
“It was Gary Naysmith and Dougie Anderson in charge at the time I first signed and I knew Dougie due to him also being from the Borders. It seemed a really good opportunity, the club was on the up and we eventually went on to win the league. It was a good achievement, albeit I only played half of the season. However, to go from playing a handful of matches at Dunfermline to playing the best part of 20 games in my first season at East Fife – I felt I had made a big step forward. It was very special group of players; we were all very close to each other and everything just went right for us that campaign. We had a scout at the time, Mark Forsyth, who done a great job for us. Then there was Alex Connon, the goalkeeping coach, and the rest of the backroom staff… we all just had a great chemistry and there were no ‘bad eggs’ amongst us. It was that togetherness that made us kick on and allowed us to do well that season.”
Goodfellow continued: “I feel like I pushed on even more last season. I played more games, I think, but I did spend a lot of time out injured which meant I missed a few games but when I did get my chance, I feel I kept a lot of clean sheets and I did well. This season, already, is totally different. We are quite a new team, new management… we started out the season on Saturday against Peterhead and now will be the time where we start to work a lot more closely and intensely on things like tactics and shape but I wouldn’t say there is a lot different – we all know what is expected and what we want and need to do. We know we want to try and reach the play-offs, but, with a lot of good teams in this league, it is going to be difficult but we also have a lot of talented players in our squad so there is no reason why we can’t be up there challenging. You always want to try and hit your targets and ultimately, for any part-time side in this league, the aim has to be staying up in this division, first and foremost. However, we realsie how good a squad we do have; we will just take every game as it comes.”
Speaking of Group B in the BetFred Cup, Goodfellow admits it is a very difficult set of fixtures for the Fifers in the opening weeks of the season.
“It is a very tough group – just look at Elgin the last time we were in League Two; they were up challenging and finished in the top four and just missed out on that again last season: they are a good side. We had Peterhead on Saturday and they are always a tough team to play against but we have done well up there recently. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come away with a result at the weekend. Hearts at Tynecastle is clearly a difficult match but it is also intriguing from my perspective to potentially play against Dunfermline again.”
Looking ahead to tonight’s encounter, salesman by trade Goodfellow is hoping to be involved when the Pars visit Methil later on this evening.
“I suspect myself and Thomas [Cordery] will battle it out for the number one jersey throughout the BetFred Cup group stage and I wouldn’t be surprised if we played 2 games each, so, it all depends who gets picked tonight as everyone will need game-time. You always want to play against clubs you have previously been with and do well – not in a disrespectful or spiteful way as there are a lot of good people still at the club who you are still friendly with, but, you do want to impress and show how good a level you are at. As I said, though, it all depends who plays – either way, it’ll be good to get a chance to see some old faces again after the match!”
Goodfellow hopes that tonight’s match will see the public of Levenmouth flock to Bayview to cheer on the Fifers in their first home match of the new season.
“To be fair, the fans have always been brilliant in my time at the club. They always turn out in good numbers whether we are at home or away. A great example of this that I remember was last season when we played Dumbarton in this competition and the game went to penalties; we beat them and the crowd went craxy. It was brilliant! Hopefully a good crowd will come out with it being the start of the season – if we can get good numbers through the gates to cheer us on, it’d make a massive difference.”
The ambitious goalkeeper is keen to kick on now with the Fifers and hopes to continue progressing up the ranks.
“My ambition was always to play football so if I can get back full-time and do well then that would be great, but, right now, my main aim is about performing well for East Fife and making sure we have a good season. I want to be consistent and play every game – nothing is guaranteed in this sport, but, I feel I really need to kick on further again this year and I am sure I will because ii am happy within myself, I am enjoying my football and I am looking forward to having a good season with East Fife.”