Date: 29th March 2007 at 3:19pm
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Almost 10 years after the event, Andy Goram has now spoken out about his bitterness at being left to feel outcast by the Scotland fans and media whilst the man who so often jousted with him for the national Number 1 jersey is still regarded as a hero.

Goram finally gave his point of view on why he walked out of the Scotland camp and whilst he holds no animosity towards Jim Leighton himself, he`d like to address the hero and villain situation that has arose in the way that both men retired from national service.

Goram said ‘I’d just left Rangers.

‘I was told by two different coaches that I wasn’t going to be playing in France so I felt there was no point in me going.

‘There’s no point in me sitting on the bench, nearly a 40-year-old. I would rather a young kid came in, like I did in Mexico as a young lad, and go and learn your trade that way.

‘I took the decision and retired. I spoke to Craig Brown and to be fair he didn’t put up too much of a fight.

‘I thought I was good enough to play in France. I had never played in a World Cup, but I thought I was good enough.

‘To get told you’re not playing is fine, you’ve got to accept that.

‘But I didn’t want to risk getting injured just by training when I had no club, as that would have been my livelihood.

‘Jim Leighton did the same thing ahead of a double-header, two days before a qualifying game. And, yet, he retired in the press’ eyes.’

The now Airdrie goalkeeping coach continued ‘Even now, Andy Goram walked out on Scotland, but Jim Leighton retired. At least I gave them three weeks’ notice.

‘Jim did it just two days before a game but the press said he retired gracefully.’

Leighton has not commented on the differences between the player`s perception by the press and public but timing obviously has a lot to do with the perceived differences in the player`s departure.

It was a sensitive issue when Goram walked out on Scotland and the dilemma of who played in goal in France `98 was still very much up for debate so it was seen that Goram was just turning his back on his country before such an important tournament.

The public were given no other reason that Goram citing personal circumstances.

Now that Goram has given his view, he may find he has more backers and forgivers but as with all footballers, it`s not only what you do on the park but of it too that determines a player`s legacy.

Leighton was allowed to retire a hero because he had battled back from the scrapheap after the humiliation of being loaned to Reading and then returning to Scotland with Dundee and fighting back to become a candidate for Scotland honours once again which showed battling spirit and dedication.

He played for Scotland in France `98 which helped him become our second highest capped player ever and at the age of 40, he never let anybody down.

Goram on the other hand had all the talent in the world and quite possibly was one of the best, if not the best goalkeeper at one stage anywhere. It was his social life and the controversy that surrounded him that has ultimately decided what his lasting memory shall be.

Quite unfair really as he was a top, top ‘keeper but Goram should be able to pass on a few lessons to the Airdrie goalies he now coaches and the most important ones probably wont even involve a ball or a pair of gloves.