Craig Gordon reveals why Hearts team meetings and goals chat annoyed him

Team meetings at Hearts were starting to annoy goalkeeper Craig Gordon as colleagues mentioned the lack of clean sheets more and more often.

He isn’t often visibly angry but losing goals is guaranteed to spark his wrath. Even at 38, Gordon prides himself on not conceding. Tuesday’s shutout in the 4-0 win at Raith Rovers appeased him somewhat but he wants more.

It was his fourth clean sheet in 13 league appearances since rejoining his formative club in the second tier. Defending had been discussed in team gatherings in recent weeks and Gordon was growing irked each time his net bulged.

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Raith put three past him at Tynecastle Park last weekend so keeping them out in Kirkcaldy represented a marked improvement.

Craig Gordon has been unhappy at not keeping more clean sheets with Hearts this season.Craig Gordon has been unhappy at not keeping more clean sheets with Hearts this season.
Craig Gordon has been unhappy at not keeping more clean sheets with Hearts this season.

"Yeah I still get annoyed. I'm quite grumpy after a game,” he admitted. “Losing three goals at home took a bit to get over. It was one of those strange games with a couple of penalties against us. Everything that could've gone against us did and we just couldn't get back into the game.

“It still hurts losing goals. I don't think that ever goes away, no matter how old you are or how many games you've played. It's not a nice feeling. You want to give the team a solid base to work from, get forward and score goals.

“We wanted to help the team a lot but our side of the bargain wasn't getting held up quite as well as it should be. We've ironed a few things out, although that's not to say we'll not lose any more goals, because we will.

“I think we're in a better place now having spoken about it and drilled down into the reasons why we were losing goals.”

Raith failed to register a single shot at Gordon. Asked what the clean sheet meant to him, he replied: “I really do want more.

“It was a while and it was something that was starting to annoy me. It had been mentioned in meetings and in the changing room that we needed to start doing that much more consistently.

“We had been talking about it for a while and not managed to do it. From the first Raith game, hopefully we've ironed a few things out to help us going forward.”

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Meetings are generally led by the Hearts manager Robbie Neilson. “We all managed to have a say about what we thought. It wasn't just a back-four issue,” said Gordon.

“We looked at the positioning of the midfield to ensure the whole team was coming together to make sure we weren't losing as many goals.

“We really saw that work ethic of trying to keep them out on Tuesday night. I don't think Raith had a shot on goal, even off target. That was a huge improvement.”

Another aspect of the midweek victory which pleased the goalkeeper was getting to captain Hearts again – exactly 5000 days since he last donned the armband against Kilmarnock in May 2007.

“That's a stat I got after the game. It was a long time ago but it's always great to lead Hearts out,” he said. “Last time I did it, Steven Naismith scored a penalty and this time I handed the armband to Naismith [when he came on]. It shows you how times change.”

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