Saturday saw Derek Gaston pull off one of the saves of the season in the SPFL Ladbrokes Championship as the Morton shot-stopper denied Stephen Dobbie with an ambitious attempt from the half-way line in the 1-1 draw at Palmerston Park.
Speaking to Jonathan Mitchell after the match, the ex-Albion keeper told the Ton’s YouTube channel:
“[Stephen] Dobbie has picked the ball up on the half-way line, and you know the ability he has got – he is probably one of the few players in the league who would attempt that kind of effort. I think most of the other players in this league would have scored it, to be honest, as I wouldn’t be expecting it, but, the fact that you know Dobbie has this ability, you are already on your toes thinking “he might hit this here”, so you are starting to back-track. I was then diving back towards my own goal to make the save, I honestly think it is a save because I have touched it onto the post and then it has stopped on the goal-line. In my opinion, if the ball had been clawed out, ii would have rolled 2 or 3 yards. I am diving backwards so I can’t see the line but, for those reasons I think it must have been a save.
We actually nearly went up the park and scored as I had saw all the [Queen of the South] players, management and fans celebrating and I noticed a lot of them had ran over to the side of the park; I saw Frank [Ross] standing alone, himself, so I just passed the ball forward to Frank and he has got in behind. I think he then passed it to Mark [Russell], but, fortunately for them, their goalkeeper [Jack Leighfield] has made a great save: it is maybe fortunate for everybody else as well as [if we had scored] it might have caused a riot, I think!”
Dobbie seems to accept the shot was fantastically saved by Gaston, despite his annoyance with the positioning of the linesman.
“At the time, I thought it was in as I saw the goalkeeper fall into the back of the net and the ball hit the inside of the post: since then, people have told me that it wasn’t in and I have seen the video back where he has pushed it onto the post and it has rolled in before he has pushed it out, but, it is just one of they things,” explains the 24-goal striker as he talks to Sandra Brown of QOSTV. “You are angry at the time, but, you just get on with it now as it is over and done with. I think because the goalkeeper falls into the net, [that is why] most people think it is in. I am just watching it, hoping it’ll hit the net, and then, obviously, I felt that the linesman wasn’t even up in-line with the 18-yard box; I know it is hard because I have shot from a distance, but, I don’t see how he can say it is or it isn’t in when he is nowhere near the play. It is one of them where it can go either way and today, it didn’t go for us.”
Goal or Save? You decide.
Also speaking with Sandra Brown, Doonhamers boss Gary Naysmith explains:
“I have watched [the incident] from two different camera angles and I find it impossible to tell: I have seen it 6 or 7 times, the ref and the linesman have got to make a decision there and then, and, if you are in any doubt, you cannot give the goal. If anything, it looks not a goal, more than a goal, from me watching it, so, it looks like they have made the right decision. It would have been doubly as bad had they gone up the field and scored when Jack [Leighfield] made a great save. If the ref has made the right decision, and they have played on, then they have done absolutely nothing wrong – everyone just thought it was in as it was that good an effort. We should be talking about it, too, because, there are only so many players in Scotland who would try that kind of effort and he is one of them: it was a great hit, a great strike and a great save.”
His opposite number, Jim Duffy, was in agreement that Gaston had pulled off a world-class stop to keep the score-line at 1-1, as he told Jonathan Mitchell:
“It was two pieces of brilliance; the first part, with Stephen Dobbie’s awareness, but not just that, also, his execution, so, to have the talent to hit it like that from the half-way line, it was a tremendous piece of skill. We have to applaud that. Then, from Derek Gaston, to get himself back in and to make the save, it was outstanding goalkeeping. It is impossible for us [to tell if the ball was in or not] as we are on the half-way line, but, Gats [Derek Gaston] is adamant it wasn’t, while, they are adamant it was, however, either way, it was two outstanding pieces of skill and it certainly had an impact on the game as, I think, if they score there, then they have got the momentum: that type of goal would really lift everybody, too, so, therefore, they might have went on to win it. Thankfully for us, the linesman said it wasn’t over the line.”