CRAIG GORDON experienced cheers and tears as he helped Hearts to a 2-1 Scottish Cup semi-final win over Hibs at Hampden yesterday.
The former Celtic keeper, who rejoined the Edinburgh side in the summer after four years in Glasgow, was a hero as they overcame the Easter Road outfit.
But the glory day was tinged with sadnes for the Scotland international shotstopper with the news his former Jambos team-mate Marius Zaliukas had passed away.
The Lithuanian centre-back who captained the Tynecastle side to their 2012 Scottish Cup triumph died after a battle against illness.
Gordon was a friend of Zaliukas during their time together at the Gorgie club and, following the gallant extra-time win over their city rivals, he was quick to fondly remember the man who played more than 200 times for the team between 2006 and 2013.
HAMPDEN HERO…Marius Zaliukas after Hearts’ Scottish Cup win in 2012.
The veteran netminder, speaking to the Evening News, said: “I’m quite emotional about Marius. He was a great guy in the dressing-room, a real leader.
“He was the exact type of centre-half you’d want in front of you – whether it was a match or five-a-sides. He’d always throw his body on the line.
“He was a real, hard defender. I played many games with him, he was fantastic for Hearts.
“I feel for his family at this time. It would be fitting if we could go on and win it for him now.”
Hearts booked their place in the December 20 shoot-out with Liam Boyce netting a penalty-kick to win the match in the added-on 30 minutes.
Gordon added: “We’ve given ourselves the chance to go and do that now, whoever we play. But, for now, we need to get back to league business, get points on the board to try and make sure we get back to the Premiership.”