When playing for Sunderland against Bolton Wanderers in 2010, Craig Gordon produced a remarkable reflex save to deny Zak Knight. It was so impressive that, on the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Premier League in 2012, it was voted the best save in the history of the elite division.
However, Gordon himself argues that the spontaneous stop from Louis Moult’s header during Sunday’s 2-0 Betfred Cup final over Motherwell meant more to him.
Celtic had just opened the scoring when Gordon threw out his right arm to prevent what had appeared to be a certain goal. Five minutes later, Celtic had doubled their lead and Motherwell were down to 10 men, so Gordon’s intervention was a pivotal moment.
“It gives me as much satisfaction as any save I’ve made in my career,” he said. “You look at the context of the game, and when the save was made. I could make a save like that in a match which we lose and nobody would speak about it. It’s the context that makes it more memorable, not just for me but for everyone watching.
“To do something like that in a cup final and it has such a big bearing on the match… you don’t get to do that too often as a goalkeeper. A few minutes later we were 2-0 up and it was game over.
“It was unusual for me to have to do it in this Celtic team but it was great to have played such a big role on the day.
“Louis Moult said he thought he had scored when he headed it so, from that point of view, my save is as good as a goal because if it had gone to 1-1 they would have got a lift and made it more difficult for us.”
Gordon’s latest clean sheet will have disappointed the growing band of neutrals hoping to see Celtic’s undefeated sequence come to an end. Gordon and his team-mates are aware that many people are anxious for them to lose but he claims that knowledge spurs them on.
“We can use that to strengthen ourselves and keeps us motivated,” he said. “It’s been a good run up until now and we want to try and stretch it as far as we can to try and leave the record at the highest possible point for anyone coming behind us to try and beat. We want to keep extending it as far as we can. One day we will be beaten – we know that’s a certainty but we’re determined to make sure that day is a long way away. We’ve done so well to get this far and we want to push it so no-one can get to it.”