Dundee boss James McPake says it’s up to Jack Hamilton to repeat his performance against Arbroath on a consistent basis and shrug off the challenge of Adam Legzdins and Calum Ferrie for the No 1 jersey.
The goalkeeping position has been a troublesome one for the Dark Blues this term with Hamilton dropped for understudy Ferrie after the 6-2 defeat at Hearts.
Former Burnley and Birmingham City goalie Legzdins was then brought in last month only to pick up a calf injury before the recent cup match at Hibs.
That saw Hamilton drafted back in at short notice at Easter Road where he put in a decent performance before shining in the weekend win over Arbroath.
After denying Michael Ruth from close range with the score at 0-0, the 26-year-old pulled off a stunning save from a Jason Thomson header to keep his side in the lead.
That save proved decisive as Dundee ended a run of three straight defeats with the 1-0 success.
Hamilton was called up to a Scotland squad in 2016 by Gordon Strachan while at Tynecastle but he’s never been short of detractors in the Dark Blues fanbase after a string of costly errors.
However, McPake was delighted to see his goalkeeper step up when the team needed him but insists there is competition for the spot between the sticks with Legzdins returning to training ahead of this week’s trip to Inverness.
On the second half save against the Red Lichties, the Dens boss said: “Jack isn’t wanting any credit for it – he just said to me that is what he is here to do.
“I think sometimes in football we are quick to have a pop at people for missing a chance and rightly so as it matters to us all.
“We criticise keepers when they make mistakes as well but they never seem to want to take the praise so I am giving him the praise because it was a big save.
“It was a good performance and I am pleased for him. He is good person. I know that doesn’t win you games of football but when you have good people who are willing to work hard for your club then you have a chance.
“He wasn’t playing last week against Hibs until the Friday when Adam Legzdins got injured.
“So Jack didn’t get told until later on that day after Adam’s scan that he was playing.
“He had to get himself ready after being on a bit of a downer.
What I think helped was that he asked to play in a development game against Dundee United on the Tuesday.
“He came to me and asked to play. I sat behind both goals as I just wanted to watch a wee bit and I said to Jack after the game that his attitude was outstanding, which it should be.
“But sometimes players hurt and you can see their heads drop and their attitude go down but I never saw that from him against United.
“I was very happy for him on Saturday to get a clean sheet and make such an important save.
“He is a great pro and the challenge is on now for him to be consistent and prove he is a goalkeeper who got a Scotland call-up.”