IF instinct is the mark of a good sportsman, ex-Scotland goalkeeper Alan Rough will have his reserves tested to the limit next week.
The 53-cap international, who was part of the Scotland squad at three World Cups, will be forced to trust his gut facing a striker with distinct advantage in a quirky penalty comp.
A blindfolded Roughie will attempt to keep a clean sheet from 12-yards against a man who has been in the dark for more than 30 years.
Opponent James Logan, 52, woke up blind one morning in 1984 and, despite expensive stem cell procedures, has never regained his sight.
Using an audible football imported for America, the Meadowbank man will smash 20 penalties against the Scotland legend and it could be down to luck whether Roughie gets a glove on the ball or James sneaks a few in.
“He was the goalkeeper in the 1978 World Cup but we both have something in common,” joked James.
“Neither of us saw the three Peru goals!”
The big-hearted pair met at a dinner for Hibs starlet David Paul who died suddenly last December and are hoping to boost the fundraising pot with the kooky penalty shoot-out.
The 18-year-old midfielder, who had yet to make the breakthrough into the first team at Easter Road, passed away in his sleep from an undiagnosed heart condition.
Roughie and James, who lost his sight through a rare hereditary condition called Leber’s optic atrophy, were inspired to boost the fundraising coffers after a heartbreaking letter from the tragic youngster’s family was read out.
“I woke up blind but this guy went to his bed and never woke up,” said James. “On the evening a friend of mine read out a letter from David Paul’s mum and dad – it was quite emotional and I was very moved by what I heard.
“I thought ‘there is something I could do here’ so I asked Alan if he fancied saving a few shots against a blind man and he told me to name and time and the place.”
“This is something that has never been done before.
But despite the long odds, Rough, 62, who amassed 624 outings for Partick Thistle and a further 175 for Hibs, thinks he will shine between the sticks.
“It has got to improve my saving percentage,” he said.
“When James ran this past me I thought it was a great idea, and an excellent way of raising money.
“I never knew which way to go when I was playing – particularly when it came to penalties – so this is nothing new to me.”
Hundreds of pounds have already been pledged and it is hoped the event at Meadowbank Sport Centre can net more than £1000.
A serial fundraiser, James has previously leapt from a plane for charity and even raced a stock car with help of a terrified co-driver. He previously worked at Registers of Scotland and was himself the recipient of donations from fundraising concert set up to help pay for controversial stem cell treatment at a clinic in Germany. Despite undergoing £14,000 of treatment, James had never recovered his sight.
The penalty showdown will take place on Tuesday at 1.30pm.
To sponsor James, go to: http://www.justgiving.com/James-Logan2