McNeil ready to answer Hampden call

Goalkeeper Andy McNeil will be ready to answer Jim Duffy’s Hampden call should Derek Gaston fail to recover in time to take his place between the sticks in today’s Irn-Bru Cup tie against Queen’s Park – but has his fingers crossed for a full recovery for his team-mate.

The 29-year-old was brought on in the 72nd minute of last weekend’s 4-0 loss at former club Hibs after Gaston was eventually forced off with a thigh injury sustained at the second goal.

And McNeil, who kept three clean sheets in three Betfred Cup ties at the beginning of the campaign, says he will be ready to step into the breach from the start this afternoon if required but would hate that to be as a result of his fellow shot-stopper’s misfortune.

He told “I signed up to be part of a squad and I’ve come in and tried to do my best. I’m very much a believer in a ‘team’, and the manager picks a team. When you sign you make a commitment to the team and to the manager.

“I’ve always tried to come in and do my best when I’ve been called upon and I’ll continue to do that. That’s it as far as I’m concerned. You want the opportunity to play but you don’t wish misfortune on people.

“We work together and co-operate together over a whole season. We train together, travel together in the car, and we have a good relationship. I want Derek to do well but I want to play, so it’s a friendly rivalry.

“We have that; we get on really, really well. I mean, the first thing I did after last week’s game was went up to him and asked how his leg was, because I don’t want the big man to be injured.

“You want the gaffer to pick from a full contingent and ideally you want to be the one who plays. But you want the team to do well and that’s the bottom line. Hopefully the big man’s leg is alright and he is fit for selection.”


Image: David Bell