Convincing former Derby and Birmingham City goalkeeper Adam Legzdins to move to Dundee was “a struggle” admits manager James McPake.
His “pedigree” in the English Championship and time spent at Premier League Burnley where he trained alongside some top class goalkeepers meant a move to the Scottish Championship wasn’t so appealing.
However, timing is often everything and being a free agent in November, Legzdins was available and ready to come in and solve the Dark Blues’ goalkeeping crisis.
Since then, promotion has followed and just over a year later, that struggle is proving its worth after a string of impressive performances in the top flight.
In fact, stats show Legzdins to be among the top goalkeepers in the Scottish Premiership this season – behind only Craig Gordon and Zander Clark.
He has also made the third most saves this term (66), behind Gordon (75) and Liam Kelly (72) of Motherwell.
“Since the day Adam has come in he’s been great,” McPake said.
“Numerous saves at Ibrox on Saturday and you look back to the end of the St Johnstone game where he comes for a cross and just takes the pressure off everybody.
“As soon as he took it out of the air, you could feel the relief around the stadium.
“He’s been a great addition, great pedigree.
“Credit to him because he could have stayed down south at a bigger club than us but he wanted to get out and it was time to just enjoy playing.
“We managed to get him up to the Scottish Championship, which was a struggle because of where he was coming from.
“But now there’s the Premiership and the draw of the derbies, Celtic, Rangers and places like that.
“He’s a great help in the dressing-room. He’s a leader and a top, top pro.”
Legzdins arrived at Dens Park with a glowing recommendation from former Birmingham City room-mate Greg Stewart.
And, in turn, Legzdins received a glowing recommendation of the club from the same source after his stellar seasons as a dark blue.
Though he initially arrived on trial, McPake admits it was more a chance for the goalkeeper to see if he liked Dundee than the other way around.
Asked how Legzdins’ name came upon his radar when looking for an answer to his goalkeeping problem in autumn 2020, the Dundee boss replied: “Through Keiren Westwood and Ben Williams, two goalkeepers I had played with (at Coventry and Hibs).
“They had good opinions of him.
“I also spoke to Greg Stewart who had played with him at Birmingham.
“I knew Adam was out of contract. I had looked at his career and obviously I knew him when I was in England with Coventry.
“When we asked him to come up here, fair play to Adam, it wasn’t a trial, we just asked him to come and train.
“Within a day, we knew we had a goalkeeper.
“He came from the English Premier League to the Scottish Championship.
“Why? Because he has the desire to play football and he has been excellent.
“Ian Lawlor has been great as well. He is another who could be No 1 at this football club so we are very healthy in terms of goalkeepers at the minute.
“With those two and young Harry (Sharp) coming through as well it is the best it has been in terms of keepers since I have been here.”