Farewell, The Goalie: Goram is Rangers’ all-time No 1 and was the equal of Seaman and Schmeichel


When you think of iconic figures from Rangers’ nine-in-a-row era, certain names immediately spring to mind. Any mention of them will evoke a goldmine of cherished memories for the club’s supporters.

Whether it was the mercurial midfield talents of Gazza, the wing wizardry and artistry of Laudrup, or the strength and leadership of Gough.

The goalscoring talents of poacher extraordinaire McCoist, or Walter, the managerial mastermind who oversaw the whole operation.

Legendary Rangers and Scotland goalkeeper Andy Goram (pictured celebrating as a Queen of the South player above) died from cancer at 58

Now, though, Rangers fans are united in their grief for a man who was known simply as The Goalie.

Andy Goram, the club’s greatest-ever goalkeeper, will rightly be viewed in the same light as all of the aforementioned Ibrox legends.

To understand just how good Goram was in his pomp, it is instructive to look around Europe at some of the other leading keepers in the ’90s.

Down south, Manchester United had Peter Schmeichel. Arsenal had Dave Seaman and together they were viewed as the best in the newly-formed English Premier League.

Looking a little further afield, there was also an abundance of terrific goalkeepers on the continent.


Goram made 43 appearances for Scotland and was No 1 at both Euros in 1992 and 1996

Germany could call on Euro 96 hero Andreas Kopke, as well as Bayern Munich star Oliver Kahn.

Holland had Edwin van der Sar, who had won a Champions League with Ajax before moving on to the likes of Juventus and Manchester United.

Italy had Angelo Peruzzi of Juventus, before a young Gianluigi Buffon burst on to the scene with Parma in the mid-to-late 90s.

Perhaps the biggest compliment you could pay Andy Goram is that he could have gone and played for any of those teams and they would not have been any weaker. Quite the contrary, actually.

This was a man who, in his nine-in-a-row pomp during the 90s, held a legitimate claim to be the best keeper in Europe.

He was Rangers’ undisputed all-time No 1 and was the equal of Seaman (above), Schmeichel, Khan and any other keeper in Europe

Goram left Rangers in 1998 and spent time on loan at Man United, making two league outings

It is a thought which resonates with Craig Brown, who had the unenviable task of trying to pick between Goram and Jim Leighton as Scotland approached Euro 96.

Brown eventually opted for Goram, a decision he would not regret. The former Scotland boss rated Goram and Leighton among the very best in the business.

‘We had in my opinion, in Andy and Jim Leighton, the two best goalkeepers in Europe at that time,’ said Brown on Saturday in a warm tribute to Goram following his tragic death.

‘Andy was the one I selected to play at Euro 96 and I did not regret that because he was outstanding.

‘He’s a cult hero at Ibrox, no doubt a Rangers legend. Just to be called ‘The Goalie’ tells you everything. The emphasis is in ‘The’ because they felt he was ‘The’ one – the best goalkeeper.

‘I remember the late Tommy Burns, the manager of Celtic, saying Andy Goram single-handedly won the title for Rangers one season.

WHAT IS OESOPHAGEAL CANCER?

Oesophageal cancer is a disease caused by tumours growing in the food pipe between the mouth and stomach.

The cancer is most common among people in their 60s and 70s and affects more men than it does women.

It can be hard to spot because it doesn’t cause any symptoms in its earlier stages, and only becomes noticed once the tumour has grown.

And its initial symptoms are often mistaken for common and benign issues. 

Signs of the disease include difficulty swallowing, persistent indigestion or heartburn, loss of appetite, weight loss, and pain in the torso, chest or back. 

Six out of 10 patients die within a year of being diagnosed, according to Cancer Research UK.

Only 12 per cent of people survive for 10 years after a diagnosis. 

The exact cause of the disease isn’t well known but smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight or having an unhealthy diet are believed to increase someone’s risk of getting it.

Sources: NHS and Cancer Research UK

‘He was a wonderful goalkeeper and a very popular guy, not only with the Rangers and Scotland players but with the opposing team.

‘He had so many attributes to make him such a popular individual. He was a character, full of fun and good-natured. It’s a heartbreak to many people hearing this today.’

Not many people can claim to have moved from Motherwell to Manchester United, as Goram did when he was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2001.

Nor can anyone else claim to have played for their country at both football and cricket, two of the more unique entries in the tapestry of Goram’s story.

Goram also enjoyed a game of golf and this Sportsmail correspondent had the pleasure of meeting him some years ago at a pro-am event in Troon.

His golf game perhaps wasn’t quite up to the same standard as his abilities on a football pitch, but that’s no disgrace.

Because on his day, there can be no doubt that Goram belonged in elite company as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation.

Craig Brown (right) had to pick between Goram and Jim Leighton (left) as Scotland approached Euro 96. He went with Goram and said he did not regret his decision 

Not only did he play football for his country, he also represented Scotland in cricket

Gordon Smith, the former Rangers, Brighton and Manchester City striker, was another to pay a warm tribute to The Goalie on Saturday.

Smith told of how he had been in Goram’s company only a few weeks ago, and how his razor-sharp sense of humour had stayed with him until the very end.

‘He was a marvellous goalkeeper – one of the best there’s ever been, without a doubt,’ said Smith.

‘He came to a function about 10 days ago. It was quite amazing that he turned up at it. It was in Airdrie, near the hospice where he was having his treatment.

‘He came along with his son on the night. He mentioned a game where I was playing for Manchester City and he was playing for Oldham.

‘He said he was delighted to save my penalty that night. He didn’t mention the fact that I did score against him later in the game.

In May Goram revealed he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given six months to live

‘We always had a laugh about it over the years. It was the only penalty in my career that I actually missed, so I always gave him credit that he saved that one and only penalty.’

Former Ibrox striker Derek Johnstone said of Goram: ‘He was a Manchester United fan when he was younger. It gave him the greatest of pleasure to play for them.

‘But Rangers were his club up here – he absolutely adored them. The fans loved him as well. He was a man who loved life and loved a laugh.’

Former Rangers boss Alex McLeish, meanwhile, said: ‘He was a guy you wanted to be around.

‘He was always encouraging people and had a wee joke here and there. It was always a pleasure to see him.

‘I’ll never forget seeing him at Hampden in his final days and he told me he only had a few weeks. I can’t believe it.’

In his prime, Goram made saves which almost defied belief. As the late, great Tommy Burns once remarked: ‘Andy Goram broke my heart’.

Former Ibrox striker Derek Johnstone said Goram absolutely adored playing for Rangers

Former Rangers boss Alex McLeish said Goram was always the guy you ‘wanted around’

The performances of Allan McGregor over recent seasons have led to comparisons with Goram, and understandably so given some of the saves he’s made.

But any suggestion that McGregor is the club’s all-time greatest No 1 does feel like a bit of a stretch. Truthfully, Goram remains out on his own.

He could rightly claim to be the best in Europe at one point. There was almost a sense of inevitability that he would make an outrageous save as a striker went through one-on-one.

Plainly, we may never quite see the like of Andy Goram ever again. One of the finest to ever put on a pair of gloves. Farewell, The Goalie.

 Gordan Smith (far left), the former Rangers, Brighton and Manchester City striker, was another to pay a warm tribute to The Goalie on Saturday 

Andy Goram once SCORED an incredible goal from a long kick up the pitch – and it was only the first of many great moments during an extraordinary career 

By Graeme Croser

Andy Goram defied logic, and seemingly his own physiology, with his ability to keep the ball out of the net. 

Yet it was on the day he stunned Scottish football by scoring for Hibs that the goalkeeper’s aptitude for the extraordinary first exploded to life in front of future Rangers team-mate Derek McInnes. 

The occasion was a Premier League fixture at Easter Road in 1988 in which Goram registered the first and only goal of his silver-laden career. 

‘It was my first league start for Morton,’ explains Mail on Sunday columnist McInnes. ‘It was a hard pitch and there was sun in our keeper David Wylie’s eyes. 

The legendary goalkeeper defied logic, and seemingly his own physiology, with his ability to keep the ball out of his own net

‘The Goalie kicked it down the slope and it bounced up and over David. I reminded him of that when I later signed at Rangers. 

‘It’s not necessarily the first thing you think of but he did like to join in. He was good with the ball at his feet and his kicking was renowned.’ 

Born in Lancashire in 1964, Andy took his cues from his Scottish father Lewis, a Rangers fan who had himself kept goal for Hibs and Bury Town. 

Released by West Bromwich Albion as a teenager for being too short, Goram bounced back quickly and determinedly to make his first-team debut for Oldham at just 16. 

It wouldn’t be the last time he would resist the odds and push his body to achievements far beyond men who better fitted the template of what a goalkeeper ought to look like. 

Fast-tracked to the Oldham first team, he made 219 appearances for the Boundary Park club and earned his first Scotland cap along the way against East Germany in 1985. 

His obvious potential earned him a seat on the plane to the Mexico 86 World Cup where he was back-up to Jim Leighton and Alan Rough. 

It was when he stunned Scottish football by scoring for Hibs that his aptitude for the extraordinary first exploded to life

Ripe for a transfer it was Hibs who decided to mount a significant cash bid, paying £325,000 to bring him across the border and closer to his ultimate destination. 

At Hibs he made his name as an agile, strong-willed competitor, one who revelled in the Edinburgh derby fixture and enjoyed the challenge of trying to keep the big Glasgow crowds quiet. 

All things considered his move to Rangers in 1991 for £1 million was the proverbial no-brainer for Walter Smith. 

Yet even as that deal lay in the balance, Goram was indulging his appetite for the unconventional. 

HOW RICHARD GOUGH’S EARLY CAPTAIN’S INTERVENTION PUT ANDY GORAM ON PATH TO BECOMING A RANGERS LEGEND

Richard Gough watched Andy Goram struggle through his early games at Rangers and staged a captain’s intervention. 

Goram’s discomfort under cross balls was exposed in the aftermath of his £1 million transfer Hibs, not least when he gifted an easy goal that helped his old club win a League Cup semi-final at Hampden. 

Skipper of Rangers’ nine-in-a-row team, Gough quickly identified the issue. 

‘When he first came to the club Andy was trying to come for crosses so we had a chat, as you do,’ recounts Gough via telephone from his California home. 

‘I said ‘look Andy, I’ll play a high line and keep the boys out of the box. Don’t worry about coming for crosses. We’ll make it hard for the opposition going for headers’. 

‘He was still bedding himself in but we went to Parkhead not long after that and he was terrific, we got a 0-0. 

‘But I already knew he’d be fine. I could always tell within a couple of weeks whether a player would settle or not. 

‘Straight away Andy hated losing goals in training, never mind games, so I knew he was a good one.’ 

Gough admits it’s hard to process the passing of one of his most formidable colleagues at the age of just 58. 

Goram’s personality and colourful social life required some clever and sometimes blunt man management from Walter Smith. 

‘We had a lot of big personalities at the club but Walter knew how to manage Goram, Gascoigne, McCoist even Laudrup – all very different characters,’ says Gough. 

‘Goram wasn’t easily managed, especially when he got injured. He had a few problems with his knee and that could put him out for a while. 

‘He’d go away and put on a few pounds and Walter would then have a problem. Andy needed that strong guiding hand.’ 

Gough first encountered Goram in 1985 when the young keeper earned his first Scotland call-up ‘Sir Alex brought him in and I just remember him being very young and hungry,’ he recalls. 

‘He trained well and not long after that he signed for Hibs, did well and then he came to our place when Walter needed to bring in more Scottish players for Europe. 

‘Walter went for Andy, Stuart McCall and Gordon Durie too. His performances in that second season, both domestically and in Europe were top class.’ 

Season 92-93 would see Rangers defeat Leeds United to qualify for the inaugural Champions League, with Goram outstanding throughout the run and earning both of Scotland’s main player of the year awards. 

‘Andy was good in the dressing-room, he was confident and he was a winner,’ continues Gough. 

‘I have played with some terrific keepers. At Dundee United Hamish McAlpine was an extrovert, brilliant with the ball at his feet. 

‘Then I went down to Spurs and it was Ray Clemence, who I have to say taught me more than any other keeper I played with. Chrissy Woods was terrific for Rangers too but then came Andy. 

‘So I’ve played with two of England’s best in Clemence and Woods but I have to say Goram was the greatest, just for the saves he would make. 

‘That high line we liked didn’t always work and occasionally a striker would get through. I’d be expecting the forward to score but they very rarely did. 

‘Andy gained that reputation in those one v one situations where he could stand up and try to read the striker. 

‘But he made brilliant instinctive saves too. I remember the point-blank one at home from Pierre Van Hooijdonk. He also saved a penalty from the same player at Parkhead. 

Richard Gough (left) recalls his time spent with Andy Goram (right) 

‘I went to congratulate him after that and he was screaming at me ‘Goughie get ready for the corner!’ He was so in the zone. 

‘I later went down to Everton and no disrespect to the keepers there but there would be goals we’d concede that just wouldn’t have happened with Andy. 

‘He rarely got beaten from outside the box and I’d gotten used to him pulling off these special saves that few keepers can. 

‘A shot would hit the net and I’d wonder how that happened. 

‘Goram had the quality to make that little difference. At his peak he was top quality, the best goalkeeper in Rangers’ history. 

‘It’s been a terrible year for the club with first Walter passing, then Jimmy Bell. It’s just so sad to know that Andy has gone too.’

By Graeme Croser 

A sporting sideline as a regular for Kelso Cricket Club earned him a call-up for an international match against Australia, much to the chagrin of Hibs boss Alex Miller who did not want to jeopardise the seven-figure deal. 

Despite Miller’s threats of disciplinary action Goram took the fine of two weeks’ wages and offset it with a newspaper serialisation chronicling his second international debut. 

Having faced Allan Border and Merv Hughes at the crease he checked in for his career-defining stint at Rangers. 

‘His was the No.1 peg in the Ibrox dressing-room, so he was the first person you encountered as soon as you walked in,’ recalls McInnes. ‘He was a big personality but incredible as a goalkeeper and I say that in the true sense of the word. At times he was unbeatable, he defended his goal with everything he could. 

‘I have worked with loads of goalkeepers, talented players, but they didn’t have that same will to keep the ball out of the net. 

‘It was always you v him and he needed to win. He was so consistent. He wasn’t the most athletic goalkeeper, he didn’t have lots of power in his legs, he wasn’t a keeper to come through bodies and win crosses. 

‘He did not have that big ranging frame that would fill the goal and make him visible at set-plays. ‘But other goalies didn’t have what he had. 

‘What he lacked in size and stature he had everything else in abundance. First and foremost I always like goalkeepers to make the saves you would expect them to make. But he would make big, special saves, ones he had no right to make. 

‘He was massive for Walter Smith and the success he had. When the players know how good your goalkeeper is it’s a massive and every player in front of him on that pitch knew exactly what they had. He had that single-mindedness to say ‘nobody is scoring against me’.’ 

Smith ordered Goram to give up the cricket and he simply became known as ‘The Goalie’, his big-game contributions contributing to a trophy haul that brought six league titles, three Scottish Cups and two League Cups. 

On an individual level he won both the players’ and football writers’ player of the year awards in 1993, thanks in no small part to his performance in the inaugural Champions League. 

Forever synonymous with Rangers’ nine-in-a-row era, his performances in the Old Firm derbies against Celtic became legendary, with Tommy Burns famously lamenting his ability to pull off the impossible by saying ‘you can put it on my tombstone: Andy Goram broke my heart’. 

Burns, too, would tragically die young and Goram’s tribute to the former Celtic boss in his 2009 autobiography makes for poignant reading this weekend. 

‘Tommy said what he did about the tombstone with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek but it lives with me today that we have lost him to cancer at the tragically young age of 51,’ he wrote. ‘I loved that man. I treasure those words and take them as a huge compliment.’ 

Goram’s relationship with Smith was not always plain sailing. In 1994 he was transfer-listed after going awol on a drink-fuelled sunshine holiday. 

A repentant attitude and leaner figure were enough to gain him a reprieve but he remained no stranger to the front pages of the newspapers. 

A regular at Rangers supporters clubs in Belfast, he faced accusations of associating with Ulster Loyalists yet flatly denied holding any sympathy with terrorism. 

On one occasion With Scotland he would accrue 43 caps, holding the first-choice position at both the Euro 92 and Euro 96 tournaments. 

Yet despite being twice selected for squads, he was destined not to play at a World Cup. If Mexico had been a valuable learning experience, Goram was unenthused at the prospect of once again playing back-up to Leighton 12 years later at France 98.

He walked out of a pre-tournament excursion to the USA and would never represent his country again. 

With Smith making way for Dick Advocaat and a host of new expensive signings brought in to reset Rangers after the failed bid to are it ten consecutive titles. 

Brief spells at Notts County and Sheffield United were unfulfilling but he rediscovered his mojo at Motherwell and earned him one last glorious tilt at the big time. 

Few players make an emergency loan move from Fir Park to Old Trafford but that’s exactly the call Goram answered when Alex Ferguson found himself in the grips of a goalkeeping crisis in 2001. And so, at 37, Goram found himself fulfilling one final childhood dream as he ran out with the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes for Manchester United in the English Premiership. 

Further stints at Hamilton, Coventry, Oldham, Queen of the South and finally Elgin City brought his career to an end at the age of 40. After hanging up the gloves, Goram craved a coaching career but was limited to normally brief spells assisting at Clyde, Hamilton and Dunfermline. 

‘I think he was a bit disappointed by that,’ says McInnes. ‘He still had a lot to offer and he always said that with the amount of games he played in, big occasions, he didn’t need all the coaching badges that are required now. His experience would have been enough.’ 

Although his personal life was seldom settled Goram continued to revel in the camaraderie of his football days. 

‘I remember one year we went over for a Scotland v England event in Dubai,’ adds McInnes. ‘Andy would go every year but I was between jobs at Bristol City and Aberdeen so could go too. 

‘He was saving everything. I remember Teddy Sheringham going through one on one and he couldn’t beat The Goalie. He was even saving his penalties. 

‘He defied logic. As soon as the gloves went on they literally were on. He was scary. He was a brilliant lad – he didn’t sound Scottish but he seemed Scottish. 

‘He loved Rangers, his love for the club was frightening and that association with the club continued long after his playing days. He was such a popular team-mate. He would put us first. He loved the bonds forged in that dressing-room and he was a huge part of what was a special time for the club. 

‘You knew we had the best team but also the best goalie. It’s so important for the psyche and the confidence. In certain positions you just need that trust and we had total trust in him. He was a good person and a great team-mate. And he could be great company too. 

‘Charlie Miller and I went for breakfast with him before Walter’s funeral last year and we spent the morning reminiscing. 

‘We’re all on a group chat and he was always the life and soul on there – throwing in the funnies and the jokes. 

‘The last wee while we’ve not had that. He had his battles to fight and it’s so sad to see him being taken far too early. 

‘The way he dealt with his diagnosis was very brave. But it was heart-breaking for him as the realisation of what was hitting him. ‘It is so sad for him to go at such a young age.’



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