Modesty is a trait to be admired. Even more so when the individual concerned stands on the brink of equalling a 50-year British record.
Meadow Park is the location tomorrow in the Scottish Borders where Spartans striker Keith McLeod will hope to do what he has accomplished in every consecutive fixture since October’s win over Gala Fairydean Rovers and find the net in his side’s Lowland League clash with hosts Threave Rovers.
Should the 35-year-old do what he does best and come up with the goods tomorrow, he will share the record of scoring in 15 consecutive matches set by Dundee United’s Danish striker Finn Dossing during the 1964/1965 season.
He has already equalled Pele’s personal record of scoring 14 times on the bounce.
One figure who will be watching on with trepidation is Keith’s father Iain, a former Scottish Junior Player of the Year winner in 1974 with Midlothian outfit Bonnyrigg Rose.
Speaking about his son’s moment of truth, Iain said: “It won’t be in Keith’s mind whatsoever. All the publicity and things like that, he’s the kind of the guy that wishes it wasn’t all there. He likes to score, don’t get me wrong and the praise that comes with it, but I think this extra focus is perhaps a bit too much for him. But he’s taken it and he’s dealt with it in the right way. His whole family is up for it and I keep getting texts from people.”
Predominantly a left midfielder, Iain, now 61, was also renowned for chipping in with a few goals in his time but says his son is far more astute than he was when it comes to converting chances.
Recalling his own personal highlight from a career where he also turned out for Dunfermline and Berwick Rangers, Iain said: “It was a big do in a hotel through in Glasgow and Willie Ormond presented me with my award. It was my first season as a junior so to win an accolade like that was just phenomenal.
“But I was nowhere near as prolific as Keith. I’m extremely proud of what he has managed to achieve and happy that he’s content where he’s playing and has blossomed with a club he loves. Some players might have moved on but I think he’s been rewarded with staying put. No matter what level you are playing at, to score on a regular basis such as he has done is an achievement.
“I catch most of Keith’s games and go to as many as I can. I think he’s actually had better seasons than the one he is having but this is his most mature form as he’s thinking a lot more about the game. But the goals he’s scored haven’t all just been tap-ins as there have been some real crackers.”
The Spartans No.10’s modesty was typified by his response when asked how much equalling the record would mean to him. “I will be delighted if I can equal the record, of course I will,” Keith said. “But I’m also happy with the volume of goals I’ve scored so far this season. I will be proud but I’m happy with being on 14 which I think is a pretty good figure itself. But it will be one to tell the grandchildren if I manage it!
“Threave has always been a tough place to go so I’ve had some mixed results down there. I’m not expecting them to make it easy for me, that’s for sure.”