Craig Gordon and Jermain Defoe certainly have previous, and there certainly appears to be lingering resentment from the former towards the latter.
Defoe was the player who broke Gordon’s hand all the way back in 2009. It was an injury that required the then Sunderland goalkeeper to have several operations. It set his career back a tad, and it was a nasty challenge by the new Rangers man.
The pair are now set to fight it out in Scotland for the Premiership title. With Defoe here for the next 18 months potentially, there’s going to be plenty of opportunities for Gordon to get to grips with him.
And whilst Gordon moved to rubbish claims there was any hard feelings between the pair, he didn’t give off the impression everything was rosy.
“I wasn’t happy at the time – I was annoyed. I did think he meant to kick me rather than the ball, which happens in tackles.
“Sometimes you mean to give the player a little kick. That can happen, but I’m not suggesting he meant to break my arm.
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“It was a bad challenge which didn’t need to be made. But I’m not going to make a big thing about it. It’s done and in the past.”
Not an overly convincing dismissal
You have to take Gordon at face value. Perhaps everything is now in the past between the pair, and life has certainly moved on. But it’s difficult to shake the fact that the Celtic number one still has a bit of anger in him here.
When asked whether Defoe would be a success up here, Gordon summed it up by saying “Could be. Time will tell”. There appears to still be some ill feeling there, as much as the Hoops ‘keeper refuses to entertain it.
At the time of the incident, Gordon angrily turned down a telephone request from Defoe to issue an apology. Such was the anger Gordon had for the incident, which happened in a match between Tottenham and Sunderland back in 2009, Gordon couldn’t speak to his rival.
There’s no denying that Gordon isn’t showing that same kind of rage now. He’s trying to reiterate that he’s ready to move on and that there shouldn’t be a big thing made of the incident.
In truth, however, the next time the two sides face each other in March, Gordon will be itching to keep Defoe out, and likely not just because he’s part of the opposition.