Goalkeeper David Hutton joined Dunfermline in the summer of 2015 and after keeping 3 clean sheets in pre-season friendly games, was replaced by another new signing, Sean Murdoch, who became manager Allan Johnston's first choice keeper. Murdoch's impressive form throughout season 2015/16 saw him set a club record for minutes played without conceding a goal in League games, as the Pars won League 1 with games to spare. Hutton's only appearances in competitive games were after the title was won, when he played in a 1-0 win at Albion Rovers and a 4-1 defeat at Stranraer. Both goalkeepers signed new contracts this summer, and although both Hutton and Johnston stated that the keepers would battle for a first team place, it was assumed that Murdoch would remain the preferred option, barring injury or a dramatic loss of form.
Hutton's chance came after Murdoch suffered a wrist injury in pre-season. After keeping clean sheets in the opening 2 Betfred League Cup games, Hutton has since played 8 more competitive games without any further shut-outs. This cannot be attributed solely to the keeper himself - there have been some calamitous defensive errors that led directly to opposition goals, and while some fans have taken to blaming Hutton regardless, that is partly due to the popularity of Murdoch and not entirely down to Hutton's own ability. Murdoch, who is a year younger than Hutton, is still relatively untested at Championship level, spending the majority of his career as a back-up keeper, and playing 125 games in an 11 year period (34% of which were in season 2015/16), compared to Hutton's 286 career appearances. It will be interesting to compare Murdoch's performances to Hutton's once he returns form injury in the near future, assuming he regains his first team place as expected.
David Hutton's career has seen him as an established first choice at 3 clubs (Clyde, Queen Of The South and Ayr United), spells which have been interspersed with periods at Hamilton and Morton where he was unable to secure a regular first team place. His career started at Aberdeen in 2002 aged 17, having previously been a youth team keeper at Pittodrie. He failed to make a first team appearance before leaving the club in 2004, leaving the professional game for 2 seasons to play for Junior club Petershill. From there he joined Clyde, with the highlight of his time there being named Player of the Year in 2008. A successful 2 years at Queen of the South came next, before the above mentioned seasons at Hamilton and Clyde. In 2013 he joined Ayr United and made 72 appearances in 2 seasons, before joining the Pars.
A tendancy to lose goals from distance, especially from free kicks, has been a feature of Hutton's appearances this season. Hutton is a capable back-up goalkeeper but the return of Murdoch will probably signal the end of his run in the starting eleven.
All photos by Pars Review.
Edited photo by https://www.instagram.com/dunfermlineloyal/