Former Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon has confirmed that one of the main reasons he left Parkhead for was so that he could revitalise his international career and prove doubters wrong.
Gordon was out of the picture in Glasgow after playing second-fiddle to Fraser Forster for much of last season. He then failed to agree a new deal with the club, resulting in his departure and subsequent summer move to Hearts.
It’s only been positive for him so far at Tynecastle too. A string of impressive saves in the early stages of the season has seen the Championship star’s stock rise once again, and he was given the ultimate reward by being named in Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad this month.
Gordon played the full 90 minutes of the 1-0 loss in Slovakia on Sunday, and he explained that playing in games such as that was one of the major reasons he left Parkhead.
Speaking to the official Scottish National Team’s Twitter, Gordon said: “We’ve been close a few times and not managed to do it so at this age to still be involved and have a chance to go to a major finals is great for me.
“There’s been times in my career where people have thought I’m finished. That’s the motivation I need, to prove people wrong. That’s a huge reason behind why I left Celtic and get some games.
“I knew making that move at best I could make the squad. It’s happened very quickly, moving to Hearts was a good decision for trying to get involved with Scotland.”
Gordon may have missed a trick by jumping ship so soon
Gordon may feel that he’s made the right decision, and nobody can deny that it’s worked out well for him. He’s playing in every game for Robbie Neilson’s Hearts, and will likely end the season with promotion and regular international call-ups to his name.
In that sense you can’t argue with his decision, especially considering he’s moved back to a club that he holds dear to his heart. However, you can’t help but think that Gordon may have missed a trick.
Celtic still would’ve recruited a new goalkeeper had Gordon stayed. Forster’s departure demanded that. So it’s not a stretch to say that Vasilis Barkas would still have been brought in.
Gordon, meanwhile, left at a time when he still thought Forster was going to be his main rival. If that was going to be the case, his game-time was always going to be limited to a few appearances.
But Neil Lennon has been struggling to nail down his number one this season. He’s flipped between Barkas and Scott Bain with neither man looking all too convincing. Had Gordon stayed, therefore, he could’ve been given plenty of opportunities to stake his own claim, and you would’ve fancied him to do it.
It’s not inconceivable to think that Craig could’ve made himself the Celtic number one once again as opposed to plying his trade in the Championship. Regardless, what’s done is done, and there’s clearly satisfaction from all parties with the agreement.