Hearts keeper Craig Gordon keeps up penalty shoot-out trend and uses key bit of info to thwart Ayo Obileye

Hearts captain Craig Gordon has been involved in five penalty shoot-outs in his career and has saved one effort in every single one of them.

Hearts keeper Craig Gordon saves Ayo Obileye's penalty.
Hearts keeper Craig Gordon saves Ayo Obileye's penalty.

But, Saturday was only the second time the Scotland keeper has managed to walk off the pitch victorious.

It did not make up for the 2020 Scottish Cup final loss to Celtic, but there was delight and relief as the Gorgie side progressed past Livingston and into Monday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final draw.

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“We didn’t manage to pull it off that day, but everybody stepped up and scored this time and I kept one out, so that was us hopefully putting that behind us and now if we do have another penalty shootout, then we’ve got good memories to fall back on,” said Gordon.

“It was good to help out. I normally seem to be able to get one out of the five, so if I can do that, and then the guys can score their penalties then I give the team a chance.”

Andrew Shinnie, Sean Kelly and Jason Holt all scored for Livinsgton but John Souttar, Peter Haring and Ben Woodburn responded positively for the home team to turn up the heat. So when Christian Montano hit the post and Ellis Simms netted Hearts’ fourth kick, the stage was set for Gordon to dive down to gather Ayo Obileye’s do or die attempt.

“They were excellent,” the 39-year-old said of his team-mates who showed courage under pressure.

But having scored for Queen of the South against Hearts last season, the Livi man hit a similar penalty, and Gordon was ready.

“I had one or two bits of information, but any player can change their side or do whatever, so it’s a bit of cat and mouse really, you don’t always want to look too much into what players have done before.

“There’s all sorts of little games going on, so you just hope you pick the right side.”That save finally broke a spirited Livingston side but there was a relatively subdued reaction, with the team aware that they had put the fans through the wringer in a 0-0 draw, and cognisant, after two final losses in the past three years, that they will have to win another three games if they want the trophy.

“Yeah, we’re into the next round. We wanted to do it in style, but we’ve had to go all the way, fighting and scrapping and showing another side of our game. So, no wild celebrations. We’ve not won or achieved anything yet, so we keep our feet on the ground, keep progressing and improving and see where it takes us.

“But we are delighted to get through and we’ll see what comes next in the draw.”

The triumph took them a step closer to what could be a brilliant season as they look to wrap up third place in the league and then add silverware.

“But only if we keep working hard and pushing, and stick together and keep everybody fit and fighting for the cause.

“If we can do that then we have a good chance to have a memorable season, but it could swing the other way, so we need to be mindful of that and make sure we’re still right on our game and there’s no complacency creeping in.”

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