Hearts player explains why he "didn't particularly enjoy" his final year at Celtic

By David Walton

May 4, 2022

Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon has explained why he didn’t enjoy his final year at Celtic before moving to Hearts in the summer of 2020.

Gordon spent 6 years at Parkhead and was the number 1 at Parkhead for the vast majority of them. He made over 240 appearances for the Hoops and managed 13 trophy wins during his time in Glasgow.

However, things took a sour turn for him in his final year. Neil Lennon brought in Fraser Forster and left Gordon playing second fiddle. The Scotland international then jumped ship to Tynecastle when his contract expired that summer, and has since rejuvenated his career.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Gordon has been announced as the SFWA Player of the Year. And as quoted by the Edinburgh Evening News, he stated the lack of game-time at Parkhead led to him failing to enjoy the success:

“The motivation was to come back and show everybody I could still do it. I had spent a year on the bench [at Celtic], I didn’t particularly enjoy it and wanted to finish my career playing games

“You never know if you will get the chance to come back here. Somebody could have been in possession of the jersey and doing well. It just so happened I was coming out of contract so it was a great opportunity for me to come back and get playing.

“At the back of my mind, what I wanted to do was get back playing for Scotland and put pressure on that No.1 position, also get promoted and try to get Hearts into Europe. That was everything that was discussed when I came back. That was the plan. I’m backed by players and management and it feels good being here. It’s nice to be loved by the fans and have that respect, knowing they will be behind you no matter what.”

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Craig Gordon received plenty of backing at Celtic Park

Gordon was given plenty of backing at Celtic Park – of that there’s no doubt. He was the number 1 at Parkhead for a long time.

It’s almost as if people forget why he was dropped in the first place. Nobody was complaining at the time given his distribution at the back was dreadful and his shot-stopping was hardly at its peak level either. Celtic decided to upgrade and did so massively when Forster arrived.

Ideally, Fraser would’ve been signed up permanently last summer. However, his sudden change of heart led to us scrambling to sign Vasilis Barkas after Gordon had already departed. Yes, that was a mistake, but only the fact that we didn’t upgrade on Craig well enough.

Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images

It’s been thrown in Celtic’s face far too much the idea that they should never have let Gordon go. Not many were saying he should’ve been number 1 when Forster was in Glasgow. Celtic needed to do better at the time and simply failed by going for Barkas.

You can hammer the Hoops for that particular piece of business, but they got the departure of Gordon right. He needed a place where he could play every week and that wasn’t at Celtic Park.

Considering we’re most likely going to go on and win the title this season, it’s harsh to continue talking Gordon up as if he should still be between our sticks.

In other news, Celtic support await crucial Josip Juranovic update as “couple of weeks” timeline ends