Craig MacGillivray has signed for Charlton on a two-year contract from Portsmouth, becoming the second signing of the summer window. The club acted quickly to replace Ben Amos who officially joined Wigan earlier the same day. Amos had a solid season with the Addicks and was broadly popular with the fanbase, having come second to Jake Forster-Caskey in the Player of the Year awards. However, like most goalkeepers, he had his weaknesses and committed the occasional howler. In particular, he has been criticised for a perceived inability to deal with shots from distance. But how true are these perceptions and is MacGillivray an upgrade? Analysing each player’s statistics from last season should help answer these questions.
MacGillivray began his career at non-league clubs Stalybridge Celtic and Harrogate Town before getting his chance in the Football League. However, he was unable to establish himself in the first team at either Walsall or Shrewsbury Town before moving to Portsmouth in June 2018. At Portsmouth, he was an ever-present in his first season but faced an extended spell on the sidelines in his second after losing his place to academy keeper Alex Bass. He was once again an ever-present in the 2020/21 season, winning Portsmouth’s Player of the Year award in the process.
Statistically, MacGillivray is clearly an excellent shot-stopper and he comfortably out-performed Amos on several related metrics in 2020/21. Most notably, his percentage of goals conceded from outside the box was half that of Amos. Amos conceded 20% of shots from outside the box last season, MacGillivray conceded just 11%. His goal kicks were also marginally more accurate than Amos’, however this may be partly down to the weakness of Charlton’s front line, particularly before Stockley arrived.
However, the statistics do unearth certain weaknesses in MacGillivray’s game. He appears to concede a disproportionately high number of goals from shots hit towards the bottom right corner of his goal. Furthermore, his ability to handle crosses (MacGillivray 92%, Amos 96%) and the accuracy of his passes (MacGillivray 82%, Amos 85%) were weaker than Amos last season.
In MacGillivray, the stats suggest that Charlton have signed an excellent shot stopper who will handle the basics well, but if Adkins wants to play the ball out from the back, he may not be completely comfortable in this role. However, when considering all this it’s important to remember that statistics aren’t everything. A quick look at Pompey Twitter shows that he was a very popular player and if he continues this form then he will be an asset for the Addicks in the season ahead.