Alan Main

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Alan Main
Alan Main.jpg
Main in 2009
Personal information
Full name Alan David Main
Date of birth (1967-12-05) 5 December 1967 (age 49)
Place of birth Elgin, Scotland
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
Elgin Boys Club
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Elgin City
1986–1995 Dundee United 152 (0)
1988 Cowdenbeath (loan) 3 (0)
1988 East Stirlingshire (loan) 2 (0)
1995–2003 St Johnstone 233 (0)
2003–2004 Livingston 15 (0)
2004–2007 Gretna 61 (0)
2007–2010 St Johnstone 75 (0)
2010 Ayr United (trial) 1 (0)
Total 542 (0)
National team
1988–1989 Scotland under-21 3 (0)
1998 Scotland B 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Alan David Main (born 5 December 1967) is a retired Scottish footballer who played as a goalkeeper.

A product of the Scottish Highland Football League, Main began his senior professional football career in the Highland League, where he made his debut as a 15 year old, for his home town Professional Football Club, Lossiemouth FC, prior to transferring to Elgin City FC, another Highland Football League Club at that time during the 1986/87 season.

Main then transferred from Elgin City, signing a full time contract with Dundee United. Main also played for St Johnstone, Livingston and Gretna in a twenty-year full-time professional career. In addition, Main appeared for Cowdenbeath and East Stirlingshire on loan and Ayr United as a trialist. He won the Scottish League Cup with Livingston and three Scottish Football League divisional medals. He also earned runners-up medals from the Scottish Cup and the UEFA Cup, having been part of the Dundee United squad that reached the 1987 final of the latter during his first professional season.

He began his second spell with St Johnstone in 2007, and during the 2008–9 season helped them win promotion to the Scottish Premier League as well as breaking the club's all-time appearance record.

Despite having been called up the Scotland squad, Main was never capped at full international level. He did however represent Scotland in under-21 and B international fixtures.

Early life[edit]

Alan Main was born in Elgin, Morayshire, on 5 December 1967 and grew up in nearby Lossiemouth, the youngest of four children. His father, Louis Main, played in the Highland Football League for Forres Mechanics.[1] Alan and both of his brothers would also go on to play in the Highland League. Main played as a goalkeeper from an early age with Elgin Boys Club. He had the opportunity to sign for Motherwell on schoolboy forms, but turned the offer down due to the distance from his family home.[2]


Main began his professional career with Lossiemouth his local club Highland League Club before transferring to neighbours and fellow Highland Club, Elgin City. From Elgin City he was transferred to Dundee United, making his début as a nineteen-year-old. He spent nine years at Tannadice, mostly under manager Jim McLean, even making Andy Roxburgh's Scotland squad. Due to make his début against Malta, he hurt his back and required an operation that kept him out of action for nine months.

Main signed for Dundee United's Tayside rivals St Johnstone in 1995 as competition for Saints' then first-choice goalkeeper Andy Rhodes. Known for his long kicks and dribbling skills outside his box, Main signed a three-year deal with the Perth club in 1997 and was again called up to the Scotland squad (this time by Craig Brown) not long afterwards. He made the substitutes' bench twice, but with Jim Leighton and Andy Goram ahead of him in the pecking order, he never took to the field.

Main broke his shin in a September 2001 game against Motherwell[3] and was out of the game for over a year, missing Saints' relegation to the First Division. Main returned to first-team action in October 2002, despite Kevin Cuthbert – Main's deputy – having just won the First Division Player of the Month award.[4] Four months after returning to first-team football, Main ended his nine-year association with the Perth club and returned to the Premier League with Livingston.[5]

In February 2004, Main was one of a number of players affected by financial problems at Livingston and was asked to take a pay cut to remain at the club.[6] Within days, Celtic indicated their interest in signing Main.[7] Along with the other five players asked to accept reduced terms, Main agreed to remain at Livingston for the remainder of the season.[8]

Following the beginning of the 2004–05 season, Main joined Scottish Third Division side Gretna on a three-year deal and went on to feature in each of their consecutive championship wins, culminating in promotion to the Scottish Premier League. Main guested for Shamrock Rovers in a friendly against Hibernian in July 2005.[9] On 6 March 2007, two months before Gretna's promotion to the top flight, it was announced that Main had signed a pre-contract agreement with his former club St Johnstone on a two-year deal.[10]

Despite turning 41 in 2008, Alan Main was still the number one keeper for St Johnstone going into 2009. In April 2009, Main overtook Drew Rutherford to become the player with the most appearances for the club. He also signed a one-year contract extension until May 2010, making him a part of the squad promoted back to the Scottish Premier League for the first time in seven years. At 42, Main was the oldest registered player in the Scottish Premier League during the 2009–10 season.[11]

Main started in the first nine SPL games of the 2009–10 season before being edged out by former Kilmarnock and Rangers goalkeeper Graeme Smith, who had missed the early part of the season due to an injury sustained in a pre-season match. During this run in the team Main saved a Derek Riordan penalty in a 3-1 win over Hibernian in the Scottish League Cup.[12] Main remained on the substitutes' bench after Smith made his way into the starting line-up, and was released by St Johnstone at the end of the 2009–10 season.[13]

In recognition of his achievements and services to St Johnstone over his 2 spells at the club, a series of events were planned for throughout 2010 as part of Alan's testimonial year. These events included a race night and also a hosted dinner. Alan was also granted a testimonial match against a Manchester United XI, which was played at McDiarmid Park on 31 July 2010.

On 21 August 2010, Main appeared as a trialist goalkeeper for Ayr United and kept a clean sheet in their 1–0 victory over Dumbarton.[14] At 42 years 259 days old, he became the oldest player ever to play for Ayr United. A permanent deal however did not come to fruition. Main joined Rangers in January 2011 as temporary cover for goalkeeping coach Jim Stewart, who was undergoing knee surgery. Main stayed in this position until 3 March. He officially announced his retirement as a player on 26 March 2011.


  1. ^ Clark, Andrew (15 October 2014). "Former Dundee United and St Johnstone keeper Alan Main joins Forres Mechanics". The Press and Journal. Aberdeen. Retrieved 7 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Anderson, Eddie (15 September 2003). "Alan Main Interview". Livingston Mad. Retrieved 7 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Main out for a year". BBC Sport. 2 October 2001. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  4. ^ "Reward for McCall". BBC Sport. 13 September 2002. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  5. ^ "Livi give Main chance". BBC Sport. 28 January 2003. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  6. ^ "Livi cut six players". BBC Sport. 10 February 2004. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  7. ^ "Celtic keeper gets time off". BBC Sport. 13 February 2004. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  8. ^ "Livi six accept cuts". BBC Sport. 17 February 2004. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  9. ^ Can't find that Page[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Main and Bingham to exit Gretna". BBC Sport. 5 March 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  11. ^ St Johnstone FC. "Main beats Rutherford's record at Dunfermline". Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  12. ^ "Hibernian 1 - 3 St Johnstone". BBC. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  13. ^ St Johnstone Football Club – News Archive Archived 28 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^

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