Hearts' Craig Gordon reveals crucial factor in Scotland's World Cup play-off hopes ahead of draw

Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon is convinced a full national stadium will be pivotal to Scotland chances of navigating the World Cup play-offs, the draw for which takes place in Zurich tomorrow.

Craig Gordon promotes the Hearts FC annual foodbank collection in aid of the Community One Stop Shop which takes place ahead of the St Mirren match at Tynecastle Park this Saturday. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Craig Gordon promotes the Hearts FC annual foodbank collection in aid of the Community One Stop Shop which takes place ahead of the St Mirren match at Tynecastle Park this Saturday. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

As seeds, Scotland will play their semi-final at home against either Poland, North Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, Austria or Czech Republic, with a separate draw also staged to decide a venue for the final should they advance.

The country is surfing a euphoric wave after six successive qualifying wins powered by youthful energy, a brilliant goalkeeper and a raucous Hampden Park. The Tartan Army simply cannot get enough. Likewise the players.

“Those two matches against Israel and Denmark, the atmosphere was incredible,” said Gordon. “Hampden is such a good place to play when it’s full. It can be difficult when it’s empty to create pressure on the other team but when it’s like that you hear players talking about it and I think it was a factor.

“That’s something we need to have if we can fill Hampden and have everyone pulling in the right direction. That’s what it has been during this campaign from players and fans. The atmosphere around the national team has been so positive. Everyone is fighting for the same thing. It makes a huge difference."

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Gordon ranks the current group as “close to the top” of the squads he has been involved in. Being a wise old owl doesn’t faze him too much.

“I wish I wasn’t. I wish I could go and play for another ten to 15 years but that is something that has crept up and I don’t think about it too much,” he said. “The togetherness is so good in that squad that it wouldn’t matter what age anyone was.

“It’s a really good mix of ages, although I am the oldest by a considerable distance. The players all complement each other really well and the manager has created a good atmosphere. The staff have too, so it’s an enjoyable squad to be part of.

“Nobody will be pulling out of squads unless they absolutely have to. We still have guys turning up who know they are injured but still try to make the games. That’s great for everyone else to know that we are all giving everything to get to a World Cup.”

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