Hearts star Craig Gordon provides injury update, savours clean sheet and speaks on form
A clean sheet is the most treasured of possession for goalkeepers. For someone of Craig Gordon’s ilk, they are bread and butter.
Across his 21 years or so in professional football, from his time at Cowdenbeath on loan to his current spell with Hearts, the 39-year-old has racked up more than 260. Yet, until last week he had encountered somewhat of a dry spell at club level, stretching to 12 games prior to the 2-0 win over RFS in the Europa Conference League.
And just like Lothian Buses’ No.26, you wait long enough for one, a second comes along immediately after.
While Gordon has to produce some heroics in Riga, in the 3-0 win at Motherwell he was aided by the woodwork, the Steelmen’s profligacy and, of course, his own genius between the sticks.
Worryingly for rivals, the Hearts goalkeeper shows no signs of his powers waning.
“Last season was great for me personally but it took a little while over the summer (to recover) because I didn’t get much of a break.
“It felt like more of a struggle coming back into pre-season so early. But I do feel the more I get into a run of games then keeping playing is the best way of keeping my fitness and my form up.
“I feel good. That was only our second clean sheet of the season and I’d like a few more of those. But two back to back is pleasing and the squad is getting back to fitness so there are a lot of positive signs.”
‘Not quite sure how we managed it’
He added: “I really don’t know how Motherwell didn’t score against us. It was backs to the wall at times for us on Sunday. It’s always that little bit more difficult coming off the back of a European. We had to grind it out at Fir Park.
"There were a few of those instances in the game. We have the woodwork to thank because they struck it three times. When the ball went to McGinn and he made contact with it, I thought it was going close to the post so I got back up in anticipation of a rebound. I managed to beat him to the loose ball.
“But I was really pleased with how we dug in and the character we showed when we weren’t playing very well. We stayed in the game and we were dangerous on the counter. Motherwell played some very good football and they look a very good team so it was pleasing to get out of Fir Park with all three points and a clean sheet — even if I’m not quite sure how we managed it.”
Now Gordon's focus switches to international duty as he prepares to become Scotland men's team sixth most capped player, providing he players each of the triple header.
The good news for Steve Clarke, a knee knock sustained at Motherwell is nothing serious.
“I’m okay,” he said. “It was a bit of a bang. It was a contact when the ball came in from the corner. It was just bruising so the next few days should be fine.
"It’s sore at the moment but these knocks settle quite quickly. I will be alright for Scotland.”
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