Gary Teale considers the mounting evidence that suggests Jim Goodwin is a player forever drawn to trouble and offers a rigid defence of his St Mirren team-mate. Goodwin was involved in the major talking point of Saturday's 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock when Kris Boyd caught him with his arm around the hour mark and was immediately sent off.
The Kilmarnock striker, who had put his team in front just 11 minutes earlier, didn't seem overly happy with either Goodwin or referee John Beaton as he stomped up the tunnel, with a 1000-strong away support also letting the St Mirren defender know just what they thought of him every time he touched the ball in the remainder of the game. Goodwin later admitted he may have caught Boyd with his elbow "accidentally" as they challenged for a high ball moments before the striker lashed out in frustration, a confession that was not accepted with good grace by everyone in the Kilmarnock camp.
"Elbow every single time #fact," tweeted Manuel Pascali, the injured Kilmarnock captain, on Saturday night. Goodwin, rightly or otherwise, has developed a reputation in recent years as a player that enjoys the physical aspect of the sport. He has been booked 42 times and sent off twice since returning to Scottish football three years ago, that poor disciplinary record compounded by accusations from opposition players that there have been other incidents that may have slipped underneath the referee's radar.
The Irishman was redeployed in central defence by St Mirren last year, a position that requires him to follow opposing forwards around the pitch the way a hungry dog follows a man eating a hamburger. Not blessed with an abundance of pace, Goodwin's tactic is to play so close to the centre forward they can almost guess his brand of aftershave. It is not always a popular ploy.
"Jim likes to make it difficult for centre forwards," said Teale, posting an early contender for understatement of the season. "He lets them know they're in a game. If you're a centre forward and you know someone's going to go through the back of you, you're not going to be very happy about it. Jim plays to his strengths. I wouldn't like to play against him. He puts everything into the game. He's whole-hearted in everything that he does. What you see is what you get. He's not a dirty player but he does seem to get involved in these incidents. I think that's just because centre forwards don't like the rough and tumble."
Boyd's dismissal turned the game in St Mirren's favour. They scored an equaliser through Gary Harkins and had several chances to win it late on but failed to take any. They have not won at home since February.
"With the chances and pressure we had late in the game I was surprised one didn't fall for us," added Teale. "But that seems to be the story of last season and even the season before that. We don't seem to be able to get tap-ins. Any goal we've got we've had to really work for."
It proved to be an eventful Kilmarnock debut for Sean Clohessy, the Englishman providing an assist for Boyd's goal and generally looking promising at right-back. A one-time Arsenal trainee who counted Niklas Bendtner and Cesc Fabregas as team-mates, Clohessy is looking forward to this new chapter in his career.
"When I was down south I always saw Kilmarnock's name cropping up so when the chance came up I jumped at it," he said. "I want to help this club achieve things and get into things like the top six. I also want to progress as a footballer. There are big teams such as Celtic and Rangers here in Scotland so if I can attract attention then it's a good thing."