BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
ALAN MARTIN insists Dumbarton must find a way past the best goalkeeper in the Championship when they face Dundee United – after hailing Cammy Bell for having the bottle to rip up his contract at Rangers.
Bell, 30, has been a revelation this season and has emerged as a penalty king for United, making an unprecedented hat-trick of spot-kick saves against Dunfermline, before denying Hibs striker Martin Boyle from 12 yards to inspire his side to a crucial 1-0 win.
Martin is adamant his opposite number is largely responsible for the Terrors’ rise to the summit of the Championship, also noting three “world class” saves Bell made during their 2-1 win over Dumbarton in October.
His admiration for his fellow stopper is only increased due to the fact that, in a short career, he knows it would have been a temptation in the summer to stay at Ibrox for the final year of a lucrative deal.
Martin said: “He is probably the best goalkeeper in the Championship and you need to praise him for him leaving a club like Rangers and dropping down a division in order to play first-team football.
“It would have been very easy for him to stay where he was.
“Cammy has obviously made the right decision to leave Rangers when he did, his career has been kick-started at United, he has captained them on occasion and some of his performances have almost single-handedly taken them to the top of the league.
“You can see his class shining through now that he is up to speed. I remember watching his three penalty saves against Dunfermline and just thinking ‘that’s unbelievable’.
“Where would they be without those penalty saves against Dunfermline, Hibs or his performance against us, when he made three – in my view – truly world class saves? He has made a massive impact and I’m sure he is an important figure in the dressing room.”
Martin reckons most onlookers have already written Dumbarton off as no-hopers when United visit The Rock today, despite The Sons remaining one of only two sides to beat Ray
McKinnon’s league leaders in the Championship – notching a 1-0 home win back in August.
Nevertheless, he is adamant there is belief in the dressing room that they can spring another shock, after seeing show-down talks in the aftermath of their Scottish Cup exit to Bonnyrigg Rose spark a revival.
Martin added: “The Bonnyrigg game was the moment we said ‘right, what is it we are doing here?’ It was a question that needed asked at that point. We had a meeting – players and coaching staff – and that lasted just over an hour.
“Since then, I think we have found some answers and our performances have been positive. That shows character.
“Everyone, of course, will write us off against Dundee United but we feel we are building momentum and go into this match in a good place.”