Craig Gordon eyes Scotland top 10 list as he explains what Hearts pal Craig Halkett will offer national side


Craig Gordon received a medal from Willie Miller for reaching the 50-cap milestone.

Now he’s set to join the former defender in Scotland’s all-time top 10 appearance list by adding another 15 to his haul.

Gordon savors the landmarks but he’s not ready to start dining out on them. Instead the Hearts keeper wants to keep chalking them up, scaling the next height.

At the age of 39, Steve Clarke’s No.1 is showing few signs of slowing down. Gordon’s wonderful form since returning to Tynecastle has cemented his spot as top pick for the national coach.

It was five years ago when Miller dished out the gong for the half century before a friendly against Holland.

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Gordon will move level with the ex-defender on 65 caps if he faces Poland on Thursday night and he said: “It’s quite a big one really when you think back to where I started back in 2004.

“I now have the chance of getting into the top 10 in the all-time list. It’s great to be getting towards that.

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“Hopefully I have a few more. I’ve not got a number in mind that I want to stop at. So I would like a few more than that. But we’ll see where it gets me.

“Willie presented me with my medal for my 50th cap and now here I am another 15 caps later to join him on that figure. It’s quite something.

“He congratulated me on first of all reaching 50 caps but also on getting back into the Scotland squad after my first 39-40 caps the first time around and before the obvious break in the middle.

“He congratulated on getting to 50 and also on getting back to that level after injury.

“It was a nice moment to hear that from someone like him who had played so many times for Scotland. It was pretty special.

“I’m lucky to have had that moment and now join him on the same number of caps should I be selected on Thursday night.

“Once I’m finished playing and actually look back and take stock of all these things, it will sink in then. But at the moment I still have that drive to keep going for more.

“But, yes, I do notice along the way special moments like this one and it is pretty special to get into the top 10.”

Gordon, of course, could have had easier ways to celebrate the milestone than facing one of the world’s most lethal marksmen.

Robert Lewandowski will spearhead the Polish attack and although the Scots keeper did once keep him out for Bayern Munich as a Celtic player, the prolific striker is an individual who could ruin his evening.

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Gordon said: “I kept him out but there were three other goals that went in so it wasn’t that great a night!

“He is fantastic though. There does n’t seem to be any weakness whatsoever in his game. It’s great to play against these players. Hopefully we can keep him out, not many have.”

Former Scotland striker Steve Archibald rates Lewandowski as the best in the world and Gordon added: “It’s hard to disagree with that. As a No.9 he can do everything.”

Gordon will need some protection from his backline against the hitman and there’s another familiar face in the ranks to assist.

While he is at one end of the Scotland career spectrum, Hearts pal Craig Halkett is at the other with the defender earning his first call into the squad.

Gordon is thrilled for the Jambos stopper and said: “He’s a great defender. You know he’s going to chuck his body from him in front of everything.

“He’s really committed to the cause. That is exactly what you need. His development of him over the last few years and certainly since he has come to Hearts has been so consistent.

“I’m delighted for him to be here. I am sure he is looking forward to getting some minutes on the pitch and hopefully that first cap. I know it will mean an awful lot to him.

“Stepping up to this level is a big step up for sure but it’s one that I’m sure he can handle.

“He’s already looked good in the few days of training that we’ve had so I think it’s an exciting time for him and hopefully he finishes it off this week with some time on the park.”

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Bologna youngster Aaron Hickey is another newbie in the Scotland ranks with a Hearts connection having begun his senior career in Gorgie before moving to the Serie A side.

And Gordon added: “It’s fantastic the way he’s gone out there and managed to adapt to play that style of football and to that lifestyle. How he’s dealt with everything has been fantastic and it is testament to him.

“It’s great to see him back in Scotland and he’ll be another one who’s looking to get that first cap.

“He’s a player who can play in a lot of different positions so he gives us that versatility.

“His career to date, how many games he has managed to play in such a short space of time going out there, has been fantastic.”

Gordon also spoke highly of the other keepers in the squad, Liam Kelly and Zander Clark. He said: “They’re both doing well at their clubs, making a lot of saves and coming up close behind on that number of saves table.

“I’ll need to make sure my performances are still at a very high standard to keep them behind me.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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