The next article in my series of season reviews takes me to North Lanarkshire with Mark Gillespie.
He arrived at Motherwell last summer, initially as Northern Ireland international Trevor Carson’s deputy. Now the ex-Walsall goalkeeper may keep his international teammate out the Well starting XI.
The Englishman came into Stephen Robinson’s starting XI after Carson developed Deep Vein Thrombosis. It was a horror injury that was a terrible ordeal for player and club.
Whilst the Well supported Carson fully throughout his recovery, they never really missed him on the park. When Motherwell needed him most, Gillespie stepped up to the plate and became one of the league’s most underrated goalkeepers.
Gillespie has earned the number one spot now
It’s no disrespect to Carson that he didn’t become a big miss. He’d been a vital player for the Well in the year and a bit since joining the Fir Park club. Instead, it is testament to Gillespie that his miss wasn’t felt.
An excellent shot-stopper, the ex-Sadler bailed Robinson’s side out on numerous occasions. When the pressure was on in tight games, Gillespie would come out with save after to save to ensure the points went Motherwell’s way.
His distribution is good too. He claims the ball quickly from crosses, and in a flash, the ball is soaring over the opposition’s backline for the Well attack to run onto. He’s also pretty handy at saving penalties too.
In total he made 27 Premiership appearances with seven clean sheets. He even notched an assist against Livingston in February with his already mentioned distribution ability.
In all it was a solid season for Gillespie. He deputised brilliant for Carson and is no longer second choice. He’s firmly in the hotseat to be Motherwell’s number one next year.
Gillespie is very underrated and deserves far more praise than he has got so far. It was promising introduction to Scottish football for him during the 2018/19 campaign.