Here at Dictate The Game, we were given the opportunity to interview former Partick Thistle and Dunfermline goalkeeper, Ryan Scully, and talk about his rise through the ranks of Scottish football as a goalkeeper. Ryan has just signed for Scottish Championship side Greenock Morton.
Ryan is a 25 year old Goalkeeper who started his career at Partick Thistle in 2008. Since signing for Partick Thistle, Ryan has completed loan spells at Petershill, Albion Rovers and Dunfermline.
During Ryan’s time at Dunfermline, he was awarded their player of the year award 2 years running, in 2014 and 2015, a very rare accomplishment for a goalkeeper.
Ryan has just signed a one year contract at Championship side Greenock Morton and will be competing with Derek Gaston for the starting jersey.
As an outfield player, you often get chances to play 15-20 minutes every now and then, as a goalkeeper you wait until the keeper is injured. How frustrating is it as a goalkeeper to sit on the bench, and wait for your opportunity?
“It can be very frustrating but unfortunately there’s only one spot in the team and it’s entirely down to the manager who gets the nod for that jersey. All you can do is bide your time and hopefully once you are called upon you do well and are given a fair crack of it.”
How excited are you to be working with Ray McKinnon? Was he the reason you signed?
“Yeah, I’m really looking forward to working with the gaffer and he was one of the main reasons I signed. He assured me that I’d be given a fair shot at getting the number one jersey and he was very positive on how he wants the team to be pushing for promotion.”
What do you think about the loan system and how it has helped you? Why do you think most talented youngsters end up playing in their club’s reserves at 17/18, and how much does this hold them back?
“The loan system helped me out massively in my career, giving me the chance to taste first team football and that environment. Although being involved in the youth setups is good and gives you a solid base, nothing beats that competitive nature of playing first team football.”
When pundits or commentators comment on goalkeepers, they often don’t go beyond ‘he should’ve saved that’. With you having the benefit of first-hand insight, what are the most common misconceptions about goalkeepers?
“Haha yeah, I’ve spent many a time pulling my hair out listening to commentators talking absolute rubbish about a subject they haven’t got a clue about. That’s why I can’t believe there’s not a lot of former goalies on these panels at Sky and BT. We all know when a keeper has made a bad mistake but there’s a lot of grey areas as well that as a goalkeeper you could help clear up.”
It’s very rare for loanees to win player of the year, but you did it two years in a row at Dunfermline. Do you feel it’s even more impressive because you were only on loan?
“Listen, it was a great achievement on a personal point of view to pick up two player of the year awards during my time at Dunfermline, and I’ll always cherish them. But on the other hand, I would’ve swapped them for promotion every day of the week and that’s the only blemish on what was a great time at a great club.”
Did you always want to be a goalkeeper or did you start playing football in a different position?
“I don’t think anyone wants to be a goalie when they’re growing up, haha. So like many people, I started off as a striker. But one thing led to another and I ended up in goal probably because back then, it was the red ash pitches and I was the only one stupid enough to dive about on it.”
Ryan, in your career you’ve only ever played for Scottish clubs. Could you see yourself moving south of the border in due course?
“It’s something I’m very open to when the right option occurs. I think it would be a great education to go down there or somewhere abroad and learn new ideas and sample a different lifestyle.”
During your time at Partick Thistle you made an outstanding save against Hamilton in a 2-2 draw. What’s been your favourite save and why?
“Tough question.. That one against Hamilton is right up there, but there was a good few at Dunfermline as well. But I’m still hoping the best one is still yet to come so I’ll get back to you in a few years!”
You were at Partick Thistle for nearly 10 years, what’s your best memory at the club?
“There’s been a good few in my time, obviously signing my first professional contract was a great day for me and my family. Making my debut against Raith Rovers, I’ll always remember. But there was one game in particular against Dundee on my 19th birthday where we won 1-0 and I got man of the match. It was only my second career game so probably that one sticks out the most.”
Even though you’re only 25, everyone has to retire one day, so have you got any plans for your post playing career? Coaching? Punditry? Or are you looking for a non-football career?
“Yeah, it’s something I’ve thought about and there’s a few things that I’m interested in, but for now I want to focus solely on football and try to reach my full capabilities. I feel if you’re already thinking about life after, it can affect your game slightly and your appetite for it.”
Did your two years on loan at Dunfermline benefit your game through first team football?
“Yeah massively, as the only way you can develop as a player is playing regular first team football. So I’ll always be thankful to Dunfermline for giving me that opportunity.”
What made Greenock Morton an attractive option for you?
“Greenock Morton are a team that’s always there, or there about the playoffs and have big ambitions for the future. So it’s going to be a good challenge for me to firstly try and get that number 1 jersey and test myself in a very competitive championship.”
What advice were you given during your youth development that has stuck with you throughout your career thus far? And what advice would you give to aspiring young goalkeepers?
“Hard work first and foremost. You can have all the ability in the world but if you don’t apply yourself, then you’ll never achieve anything. So I’ve always strived to get better all the time and believe in your own ability as a goalkeeper.”
Who do you look up to in terms of who you feel is the best goalkeeper ever? And have you taken any elements from other goalkeepers to improve your own game?
“I always admired Peter Schmeichel and his sheer presence, organisation and some of the saves he pulled off. Also, Boruc during his time at Celtic was phenomenal, but I’d say Buffon is the best of all time. I think he is the ultimate professional and role model for any young keepers growing up. His total calmness and decision making is top drawer.”
I would personally like to thank Ryan for firstly responding to our interview request and secondly for answering each question thoroughly. It was an absolute pleasure talking to you, and I can assure you, you’ve gained a couple of extra fans for the upcoming season.
We wish you all the best for your football career and I know for a fact we will be keeping an eager eye on your progression. I would also like to wish Greenock Morton the very best for the 2018/2019 season.
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Interview with former England striker, Paul Mariner
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