Canary keeper David Marshall was heading north this week to renew his long-standing rivalry with the most expensive goalkeeper in British football – Sunderland's ?9 million man, Craig Gordon.
The pair were last week named in Alex McLeish's 25-strong squad for Scotland's crucial Euro2008 double-header against Lithuania at Hampden Park on Saturday and then France, at the Stade de France, next Wednesday.
Rangers' keeper Allan McGregor provides Alex McLeish's third option. But at 25-years-old and with just one cap to his name, you wonder whether – long-term – the fight will be between the two younger pretenders to that No1 throne, Marshall and Gordon.
For Marshall, last week's Euro2008 call-up was once again reinforced his belief that the switch south this summer was the best thing he ever did – free from beneath the shadow of Celtic's Champions League hero Artur Boruc, the 22-year-old could once again gun to make his mark on the international stage.
“It just shows you – getting first team football gets you back into the squad, so it's justified my move in coming here,” said Marshall, speaking after his own, penalty shoot-out heroics at Spotland last week.
“It's a great honour to be in the squad so, hopefully, I can keep performing here and, hopefully, push the No1 up there as well.”
That No1 is, of course, Sunderland new-boy Gordon. Interestingly, roll the clock back three years when both were starting to make their initial mark on the international stage and it was Marshall that was deemed the brighter prospect having made such an astonishing impact as a teenager in Celtic's European adventures under then boss, Martin O'Neill.
It is not every 19-year-old who can boast a clean sheet in the Nou Camp home of Barcelona. Hence a feature in the Sunday Herald newspaper in October, 2004, which suggested that Marshal was the better long-term bet.
“Marshall is considered to be the more promising of the pair,” wrote the paper. “He has played against Barcelona three times, appeared in three Old Firm games and featured against AC Milan in the San Siro, all without looking as hesitant as Gordon did in Scotland's opening World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.
“Gordon inexplicably spilled one long-range shot, redeeming himself a little with a sharp turn to claw the ball off the goal line.”
In fairness to Marshall, we was swift to point out that his own international debut two months earlier had not been without fault – Scotland lost 3-0 to Hungary that August.
In the same piece, Marshall would also reveal how he and Gordon had become big mates as the future ?9 million keeper began to make a big name for himself in the mad, mad world of Hearts – just as Marshall was under O'Neill at Parkhead.
“We are good mates,” Marshall told the Herald. “Craig's been in the Hearts team only a wee bit longer than I've been in the Celtic team, so we're experiencing the same things for the first time.
“He's getting a taste of Europe too so we're going through more or less the exact same process. We talk to each other about it all.”
The two friendly rivals were room-mates then and may well be room-mates again this time round as Scotland look to put a big cat among the Group B pigeons with a victory over Lithuania on Saturday.
Currently sat in third – three points behind France and one point behind Italy – nick a result in Paris next week and McLeish's men could yet find themselves firmly in the driving seat.
Back in 2004, Marshall was well aware that his call-up only came about because he was featuring in O'Neill's thoughts; the same logic still applies after City boss Peter Grant made him his main man after that lengthy summer chase.
“The reason we're in the Scotland squad is because we are both playing first-team football and the manager prefers his players to be playing,” said Marshall. “When you are playing for your club you get pushed forward.”
Talking to The Scotsman this week, and it appeared that that ?9 million price tag was a God-send to opposition supporters as and when Roy Keane's Premiership new-boys leaked goals. And that's quite regularly, thus far.
“There's been a bit of talk down there, they see it as a lot of money for a keeper and the opposition fans like to sing 'What a waste of money…' to me,” said Gordon.
“But the importance of a keeper in that league has been shown over the past few seasons. You need to have a solid goalkeeper to do well in the league,” he added, a sentiment that will be widely shared in Norfolk after last season's shambles on the goalkeeping front.
Back at Colney and Canary goalkeeping coach Jim Hollman has certainly been delighted at Marshall's early season form – capped, of course, with his two penalty saves against Rochdale that booked Norwich a place in the third round.
“Brilliant – brilliant,” was Hollman's simple verdict on that shoot-out success.
“There's no pressure on goalkeepers in a penalty shoot-out,” he added, speaking to the club's official site today.
“He's done very well on the last one just to stand up. It's all about having a little bit of intuition and being able to read what's going to happen. I'm delighted for him.
“And I think his performance on the day before we got to the penalty shoot-out was something special on an all-round front. The penalty saves were the cherry on top of the cake. He made some great saves to get it to go to penalties in the first place.”