When you mention Ayr United to anyone this season, the first thing that’s likely to come to mind is Lawrence Shankland. Whilst his goalscoring heroics have been well documented, and rightly so, on loan goalkeeper Ross Doohan should receive similar praise.
The Honest Men have had a stunning return to the Championship this season, currently occupying third spot with a Premiership play-off spot in sight. They were in the running for the league title but that has fell to the wayside recently. The fact they are even anywhere near that is remarkable.
Shankland has been inspirational and perhaps the face of the Ayr crusade up the Championship table. Whilst he has provided the goals, Doohan has won points for the Ayrshire side with his heroics at the other end of the park.
A regular for Scotland U21’s, the Celtic loanee is proving he can go right to the top. He is easily the best keeper outside the top flight and he is only going to get better.
Doohan has a bright future
With Scott Bain and Craig Gordon both currently vying for the number one spot at Parkhead, Doohan has benefitted from a season in the Championship. He’s always been a solid option at youth level, but this was his chance to show he has the grit to make it to the top.
He had spent six months at Morton last year, but this was his first full season as a first team regular. The Scotsman has showed his performances at youth level were no flash in the pan.
In 37 appearances for the Honest Men this year he has kept an outstanding 19 clean sheets. He’s also featured in every Championship fixture this term, with 13 clean sheets in 28 games. That’s the highest amount of any keeper in the league, a remarkable stat for a 21-year old keeper.
He seems to be close or already at Premiership level. He has remarkable footwork, something that has been a key part of his game since his youth days at Celtic. The 21-year old has transferred that seamlessly into the senior game.
A great shot-stopper also, Doohan has the ability to command his box effectively. Ayr’s defence know where they stand with him as the young keeper always lets his teammates know what he requires of them and when he’s coming to collect the ball.
The Celtic loanee has been one of the players of the season in the Championship. He has proved his ability to play at senior level and the next step will be to play Premiership football.
Ayr United fans will be hoping that’s at Somerset Park next season, with the Ayrshire men potentially in Scotland’s top flight. If Doohan and his teammates achieve that, they will go down as Ayr legends.