Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon has accused BT Sport pundit Chris Sutton of waging a “campaign” of criticism against him.
Sutton has regularly questioned Gordon’s performances for the Scottish champions, suggesting he should have been replaced by manager Brendan Rodgers in the summer and claiming that he “can’t be trusted” in big games.
Gordon has hit back at the former Celtic striker, issuing a robust defence of his record since joining the Parkhead club in 2014.
“It’s his [Sutton’s] opinion but he focuses rather a lot on the negatives, rather than anything positive,” said Gordon. “It’s more of a campaign.
“He had his mind made up [about me] very early on. He is trying to make everything fit his early statements. That’s his job as a pundit.
“My record against any other Celtic goalkeeper would stand up in terms of wins. The last time I lost a league game was against Aberdeen about a year and a half ago.
“I think he goes over the top at times and I know I’m not the only one to perceive that. There are other guys in our squad who receive as much, if not more, criticism than me.
“I’m not sure it’s a personal thing, but it seems to be. I don’t agree with an awful lot of what he says but I suppose that’s the case for half the players in Scottish football. I’m not alone.”
When asked if Sutton’s analysis of goalkeepers carries less weight because the pundit was a striker during his playing days, Gordon replied: “A striker? I’ve got other words for him.”
There was no disguising the depth of ill-feeling on Gordon’s part and the 34-year-old was equally dismissive when asked if he would fancy the opportunity to discuss the criticism personally with Sutton
“Fancy a what?” he replied. “Oh, a chat! Nah, not really. I don’t think that would make any difference. He’s got his opinions. I just think it tends to send the signals out to the Celtic fans. It’s a little bit unfair.”
Gordon has a more favourable view of his former Hearts and Scotland team-mate Neil McCann who gave up punditry with Sky Sports to manage Dundee, the team who stand in Celtic’s way when they continue their defence of the League Cup in tonight’s quarter-final at Dens Park.
“Neil missed that day to day interaction of being involved in football,” said Gordon. “It’s hard for some people to give up. He did some coaching at Dunfermline under Jim Jefferies. It was something he was always looking to get into. He’s kept himself in the limelight, everyone knows him through his TV work.
“He was always looking for a job to come up and Dundee is a good one for him to show what he can do.
“I know Neil well. I was at Hearts during both his spells there. I was on the groundstaff when he left and then in the first team alongside him when he came back. He was always a fiery character on the pitch. He did well last season, going in and making sure Dundee stayed in the league.
“I’m sure he’ll do a good job. He just loves football. He is so enthusiastic and I’m sure that will come across to his players. He will put high demands on them and I’m sure he’ll let them know if they fall short.
“Saturday’s win against St Johnstone shows his players are fighting for them. It wasn’t one most people expected them to win. They have scored a few goals in the process which will give them confidence coming into this tie.
“I hope he goes on and does well, but only after we get through to the next round on Wednesday night.”