Craig Gordon has revealed he was in Paris on the night of the terrorist attacks, anxiously following events online as he feared being caught up in the atrocity that claimed 130 lives.
The Celtic goalkeeper travelled to the French capital with his wife Jennifer and daughters Freya and Emma, only hours before the co-ordinated killings a week past Friday.
Carried out in the name of Islamic State, a series of attacks on various locations in the city – including the Stade de France – saw mass shootings, suicide bombings and hostage-taking.
Gordon had headed over for a weekend at Disneyland Paris after declining time off in order to work on his game earlier in the international break.
However, after an initial brief visit to the attraction he found himself having to explain to his children why they could not visit again as the site closed that evening when a state of emergency was called by French president François Hollande.
Speaking after his side’s 0-0 draw at home to Kilmarnock which was preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of the victims, Gordon said: “I didn’t experience the atrocities because I was towards Disneyland, which is half an hour away, but it was scary and when we heard about it, I was busy Googling places to see how close we were.
“It was an eerie atmosphere, very strange. No-one was really talking about it, it was just very quiet. It’s hard to describe how it felt. We didn’t go into the centre, we just stayed in the hotel for two days, then came back.
“It certainly puts things in perspective. It is a horrible thing that happened. The minute’s silence on Saturday was absolutely impeccable, there was not a single sound from anywhere in the ground.”
Both sets of players wore black armbands out of respect for those who lost their lives and Gordon told how he had the number 32 on his as a “wee tribute” to former Sunderland team-mate Marton Fulop, who died of cancer last week aged 32.
The stark reminders as to the fragility of existence that have confronted Gordon in the past week have certainly caused him to feel grateful over his lot in life.
“We are very lucky to come out here and play a game we all love,” the Scotland international said.
“At just 32, Martin was only slightly younger than me. That brings it home because he has a young family as well and it’s desperately sad.
“I spoke to him even after we left Sunderland and I was in touch with him right up until a couple of months ago. I wasn’t in constant contact. But we would exchange messages a couple of times a year.
“We kept up with each other’s careers. He played for a year in Greece and we would keep in touch.
“I knew they were running out of treatment options and it wasn’t looking good. I knew the situation was pretty bad and was probably expecting the news. They were experimenting with different treatments.
“Nevertheless it was still sad to hear when it comes. It was a desperate situation.”