Stevenson: I didn't want to be a laughing stock in goals
Ryan Stevenson was the talk of Scottish football on Tuesday when it emerged that the veteran striker was being fielded as a goalkeeper against Ayr United.
Raith’s injury crisis left them without any fit goalies and when the SPFL turned down a request from the club to have the game postponed, it fell to Stevenson to pull on the gloves.
When the team news broke it led to a flurry of betting activity on an Ayr goal rush but the 32-year-old stepped up to the plate with an impressive performance between the sticks as Rovers went down to a narrow defeat 1-0.
Stevenson said: “I had an inkling before the game that there was a chance we’d maybe not be able to get someone in.
“I was given the shout that it might be me so I prepared for it in the afternoon in the eventuality that it was going to happen.
“It wasn’t until I got to the ground that I thought ‘this is actually going to happen’. There was a few nerves before the game, and then I had a save to make after a minute!
“It was an experience which as a pro footballer you never think you’re going to have to go in goals, especially not for a full game.
“I’m disappointed because I actually thought we could have won the game.”
Stevenson is an experienced campaigner - and even played five minutes in goals for Partick last season after ‘keeper Ryan Scully was sent off - but he admitted that nothing could prepare him for his first start in nets.
“I don’t get nervous now because the older I’m getting, the more I just enjoy the games because it’s not going to last forever,” he said. “But going out and warming up - this was different.
“The full thing was a bit strange. I didn’t want to become a laughing stock. I’m a proud player.
“Once I made the first save I was happy and massive credit to the boys in front of me, I didn’t have much to do.”
Stevenson may be the first outfielder to play a full 90 minutes in goals but he believes the club should never have been put in the situation.
“It’s strange for everyone involved in the game – I don’t know if this has happened before,” he said. “It’s something that shouldn’t happen. If you have three serious injuries to ‘keepers I’d like to think it could be called off.
“As soon as the decision was made I just rolled my sleeves up and got on with it. For the boys to put in the performance they did was brilliant.
“Everybody appreciated that it was strange situation and it takes a bit of guts to go in goals. I was more than happy to do it – hopefully I don’t have to do it again.”