Keeper's award loses sparkle

CHRIS LAKEY Paul Gallacher carried off the sponsor's man of the match champagne, but admitted he didn't feel like drinking it after the last-minute defeat by Crystal Palace.


Paul Gallacher carried off the sponsor's man of the match champagne, but admitted he didn't feel like drinking it after the last-minute defeat by Crystal Palace.

It was the second time in four days the Scot had been beaten in injury time - and the seventh goal he has conceded in the last three games.

But had Gallacher not been in fine fettle, it could have been worse, as Palace upped the tempo after the break and took control, finally getting the breakthrough in time added on when Shefki Kuqi headed home Mark Kennedy's corner.

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Gallacher denied Michael Hughes with his fingertips in the first half and Clinton Morrison twice in the second - even though the former City target did get the ball in the net only to see it ruled out for handball.

“I had a few saves, but ultimately we have lost a goal to a set-piece and we were defending them quite well of late so it is a hard one to take,” said the 26-year-old.

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“It has been a poor week all round for the players. We've dropped some points so it's disappointing, but we will need to pick ourselves up and work hard in training.

“We had a fantastic start and it's been a realty poor week. We need to put it right sooner rather than later. I know the games are coming thick and fast at the moment, so there is an opportunity to do that.”

Losing goals at set-pieces is always disappointing, particularly when the defending has, by and large, been good this season.

“He has put in two good balls, this one just went over Dickson's (Etuhu's) head and the boy has got a run on the defenders,” said Gallacher.

“It is a hard one to take because we have defended really well in weeks gone by, we've been quite solid, so to lose a goal from a set-piece is disappointing, but to lose it so late in the game again is another hard one to take.”

Gallacher admitted it wasn't the best spectacle for the paying public.

“Both teams were trying to pass it,” he said. “It was a warm day, there was a lot of hard work, a lot of tired legs out there. It wasn't the best of games for the supporters to watch, but ultimately they've taken their chance at the death and it is a hard one and we need to get on with it.”

Palace had had the ball in the net almost on the hour mark, Gallacher saving brilliantly from Clinton Morrison before the striker bundled the rebound in with his arm.

Former top-flight referee Andy D'Urso immediately disallowed it for handball - but Gallacher believes that by consulting his linesman he caused the shoving match that followed, leading to bookings for Morrison, Mark Kennedy and City's Youssef Safri.

“The ball came in the box, I made the save, he just reacted, put his hand out to knock it down and he's tapped it in the net,” explained Gallacher. “I think the ref made a big deal of it to be honest. He caused a lot of commotion and chaos over something that was so simple to deal with. I don't know, maybe he's missing his Premiership games - it was nothing really. It was just a handball and at the end of the day you have to get on with it.”

Gallacher had words of praise for new-boy Pat Boyle, who was a late replacement for injured skipper Adam Drury.

“I thought he did brilliant, he just looks like Adam Drury, he plays in the same sort of manner,” he said. “He has come in and done really well and fair play to him.”

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