Feature: Miraculous McGovern earns Northern Ireland adulation

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern spent last season toiling for Scottish strugglers Hamilton Academical, but his brilliant display against Germany at Euro 2016 made him the toast of Paris. The 31-year-old pulled off save after save on Tuesday to frustrate the world champions and while Mario Gomez found a way past him in the 30th minute, it was only thanks to McGovern’s electric reflexes that the score remained 1-0. Captivating the 46,000-capacity Parc des Princes, and reaching the last 16 in the tournament, was a world away from his experiences with Hamilton, whose average home gate last season was 3,027, but Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill said that his role in their relegation battle had been ideal preparation. “Playing for Hamilton Academical, he makes a lot of saves every week,” said O’Neill.

How Michael McGovern went from perennial bench-warmer at Celtic to Northern Ireland hero. My piece for AFP can be read here.

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