BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
St Mirren midfielder Jim Goodwin is not sure how to interpret manager Ian Murray’s claim that he does not have the legs to last an entire Championship campaign.
One thing for certain is that the 33-year-old is using those remarks to fuel his desire to play every minute possible.
The Irishman, whose ill-discipline has at times overshadowed his quality as player, drew acclaim from Murray on Saturday after producing an inspired performance in the 1-1 draw at Hibernian.
Goodwin has started the Buddies’ last six league matches after missing the opening two defeats to Rangers and Dumbarton, and he has no plans to conform to his manager’s expectations over his fitness.
He said: “The manager said at the start of the season that I would not be able to play in every game and that is probably what is driving me on.
“I don’t know if he is saying it to wind me up, I have no idea.
“It probably made me get the bit between my teeth and I actually feel fitter now than I did five years ago.
“I think my pre-season fitness results will prove that – it’s a pity I can’t get them published actually. I am probably in the top three or four.
“I feel fit and I know my hair and the way I look that people probably think I’m older than I am.
“There is still enough in the legs and I don’t won’t to rest or be out of the team for any reason.
“I don’t miss a training session during the week, I don’t want days off and I don’t want any special treatment because of my age.
“I am willing to dig in as much as the young boys are and hopefully I’ll be selected at the weekend.”
Goodwin reverted to being solely a player last December after assisting then manger Tommy Craig prior to the dugout reshuffle.
And the former Celtic trainee is happy to be put his coaching aspirations on the back burner for now.
He added: “The coaching and management for me for will come later on, I’m 33 years-old and I feel like I have another four years left.
“Everyone I speak to says play as long as you can and if I can get as close to that as I can, then great.”
St Mirren took the lead at Easter Road in the 18th minute when Callum Gallagher accepted Goodwin’s pass and cut inside David Gray before slotting the ball past Mark Oxley.
Martin Boyle secured a point for the hosts three minutes before the break with a diving header from close range after connecting with Gray’s cut back.
Boyle was relieved to keep his place in the side ahead of Dominique Malonga after the Congo internationalist netted a superb individual goal in last Wednesday’s 2-0 League Cup win over Aberdeen.
He said: “There’s a lot of good players left out and on the bench and everyone is fighting for their place.
“You worry about that yourself but as long as you get the jersey, I am happy enough.
“I was delighted to get off the mark on Saturday, it’s been a long time coming.”