A delighted Shay Given marked his 600th club appearance on Saturday with a clean sheet after lining out for Middlesborough against Bolton Wanderers.
The Aston Villa keeper who has been frozen out at Villa Park this season, moved to The Riverside on a month-long loan after Boro’s first choice keeper Jason Steele was given a three match ban following a red card against Leeds United.
Given was by no means bombarded by a Bolton side who managed only one real shot in anger over the 90 minutes, but he did have to face drama when they were awarded a penalty.
Boro had themselves taken the lead with a penalty from Grant Leadbitter in the 67th minute and when Jermaine Becksford stepped up to try to level the game from the spot he blasted over the bar.
After the game the Lifford man who made just twelve appearances for Aston Villa last season, most of them in the Capital One Cup tweeted his delight at the result.
“Great to be back in action today and also to make my 600th club appearance. A clean sheet but more importantly the three points made a perfect day.”
Given is one of just a handful of players to have played for all three North-East clubs, having enjoyed a successful loan spell at Sunderland early in his career and a lengthy spell at Newcastle where he is still a fans’ favourite.
“I spent a long time here, obviously at Sunderland, a long time with Newcastle, so it’s nice to be at Middlesbrough now. The North East is a hot-bed of football, really passionate fans and hopefully the fans will be impressed with me. I want them to judge me on my performances not what I’ve done in the past but what I do for this football club. I’m raring to get going and play well.”
The Lifford man also suggested that this loan chance had been too good an opportunity to turn down.
“When this opportunity came along it was too good to turn down and thanks to Aston Villa as well for letting me go, I’m just delighted to be here. I want to get going again and playing again and getting back in front of crowds. I haven’t looked past the one month loan or anything, I just can’t wait to get going.”