IT was the kind of save which happens once or twice a season, so when Ian Harkes appeared out of thin air to power a wonderful delivery towards goal he must have been convinced he’d broken the deadlock in Hamilton.
Unfortunately for the Dundee United midfielder, Ryan Fulton had other ideas, throwing his weight back to his right, clawing the ball off his line and onto the roof of the net.
As Harkes collapsed to the turf in disbelief, the Accies goalkeeper jumped to his feet and ignored his teammates’ plaudits. And, following the 0-0 draw, did much the same when asked just how he’d managed to keep the ball out of the net.
“First and foremost, we needed to keep a clean sheet,” former Liverpool youngster Fulton, 24, said. “It was a bit unlucky [we didn’t win]and we had a few chances to nick one.
Accies boss Brian Rice was full of praise for Fulton after the game
“[The ball] came across and I was just making sure I got there. When he headed it, I just threw a hand to it. There’s not really much to think about and you are just trying to save it.
“[I was a bit worried it might drop in] and the wind helped it a bit! It blew it over the bar.
“At the start of the season we conceded too many goals but the recent form has been a lot better.
“That’s all over the pitch from the front to the back and we are a lot better defensively and need to keep building on that.”
Unfortunately for Fulton, his heroic weekend ended with Accies bottom of the table after rivals Motherwell secured an unlikely point against runaway leaders Rangers on Sunday.
“We are always in a dogfight and we all back ourselves,” he said on Saturday. “We all trust in each other. But we don’t want to be there and want to be higher up.”
Few had a better view of Fulton’s save than United’s Nicky Clark, who might have fancied his own chances of putting Dillon Powers’ cross away.
It would have been the perfect end to a week which saw the 29-year-old commit his future to the Tannadice side, despite interest from rivals Dundee, and shine in his newly found midfield berth.
“I was keen to stay here and I am now just focusing on moving things forward with the club” Clark said. “It took longer than I wanted to get into the Premiership, so I am not just going to give that up and move away.
Nicky Clark committed his future to Dundee United last week
“It all happened kinda quick and I never knew anything about it [the Dundee interest]until I saw it in the press. The club just wanted to get it done and I was delighted as I wanted to stay here.
“It [his new position]is a wee bit different but I am enjoying it. I am involved in the game a lot more and obviously you need to do more of the defensive side of things.
“You have the licence to get forward and get into the box and I am enjoying it.”