PO Box 306, Glasgow, G21 2AE, Scotland
so farewell then...
Another youth player heads out the door, indeed another youth player who featured against Barcelona in March 2004, although Marshall had a far more important role to play than Craig Beattie.
Marshall replaced Rab Douglas after the latter had been sent off for participating in an imprpmtu light-middleweight bout against a Spanish opponent in the tunnel at half time. The result was that an unknown, untested 19 year old was facing a team with Ronaldinho at its cutting edge.
The silver lining to this particular cloud was that no matter how badly he performed he surely couldn’t be worse than Magnus Hedman.
He wasn’t. Indeed Marshall appeared to have nerves of steel. At one stage he received a short pass back.Instead of blasting it, he calmly chipped it over the head of the onrushing forward, causing a collective gasp round the stadium.
Due to the suspension of Douglas he started the match at the Nou Camp and gave one the great Celtic goalkeeping performances in Europe (or in fact anywhere) making a number of outstanding saves in a 0:0 draw. After the game O’Neill remarked that he had just told the young goalie to enjoy it because this might be as good as it ever got.
The youngster retained the No 1 jersey for the remainder of the season, giving another show-stopping performance in a 2:1 win at Ibrox (the press were bleating about Rangers being the better team etc. cheerfully overlooking the fact that they used to laud Goram for continually being the difference between the teams only a few years earlier).
That season he finished with league and Scottish cup winners badges and the world apparently at his feet (or hands given that he’s a goalie).
But the following season he was soon replaced again by Douglas. O’Neill was never obverly keen on young players and Marshall fell victim to MON preferring the more experienced player.
With the exodus that accompanied the departure of O’Neill Marshall became, by default, the number one ‘keeper at the club. The signing, initially on loan, of Boruc didn’t influence that, but losing nine goals in the first two competitive games of the season certainly focused the spotlight sharply on the goalie.
It wasn’t that he was necessarily to blame directly for any of the goals - he wasn’t throwing them in - but there was certainly something lacking.
When Boruc made his debut in the home leg against Artmedia those inside the ground found out what it was – communication. Marshall is simply too quiet.
Those of us who subscribe to Celtic TV may have noticed that when Marshall plays for the U-21s there is very little noise in the Celtic defence. When Brown was signed last season (a sure sign that the manager felt it was time for a change) and played for the U-21s you could hear him clearly shouting at his defence constantly through the game, keeping them on their toes letting them know where the opposition players were. Marshall didn’t do that.
In January he left to join Peter Grant at Norwich for a loan spell. Unfortunately he picked up an injury playing against Chelsea in the cup, but Grant had seen enough of him to reckon that he could do a good job for the Canaries.
And so Martin O’Neill was proved right when he said this was as good as it got for the 19 year old. But it must also be remembered that Marshall is still only 22. If he looks after himself he could still be playing top flight football in 15 years time.
Time yet to top that night in Barcelona.
We wish him well with Der Pointy Fuhrer at Norwich.