CROCKED Craig Gordon has no intention of quitting football, despite his career in jeopardy following a sickening double leg break in December.

The former Celtic and Scotland international keeper celebrated his 40th birthday on Hogmanay and faces at least another SEVEN months out of the game.

However, the veteran netminder has vowed to battle on in his defiant bid to get back into the Hearts first team where Zander Clark is currently deputising.

DOWN AND OUT…Craig Gordon lies stricken on the Tannadice pitch after a collision with Steven Fletcher in the 2-2 draw in December.

Gordon had to be stretchered off after an accidental collision with his one-time international team-mate Steven Fletcher in the 2-2 draw with Dundee United at Tannadice in late December.

The resolute shotstopper said: “I suppose it’s a possibility I won’t come back from this, but that’s not even entered my head. That’s not the way I’m thinking right now.

“I’m just focused on what I need to do at each stage to get back on to the football pitch.

“I can control my rehab and I can control how hard I work, and I’ll give everything to all of that. I will work every day until the muscles are too tired to work.

“It’s a fine balance because you can do too much and make things worse, I know that. There will probably be days when I get it wrong and do too much.

“But I will always push myself to the very limits.

“I went back to see the surgeon a few weeks ago and he’s happy with how the bones are knitting back together again. I will go back in another eight weeks to see him again.

INVINCIBLE…Craig Gordon and skipper Scott Brown celebrate a Celtic Scottish Cup triumph.

“Until I get to that point, I won’t really have a date or a timescale to get back playing again.

“I have done my research and looked at other players who have had similar injuries to mines and it ranges from seven months to nine or 10 months.

“Some folk have never played again after it.

“That’s the severity and reality of this injury. So, there are a lot of things I need to get right between now and then to make sure I get the chance to play again.

“But I will give it absolutely everything I’ve got.”

Asked about the possibility of hanging up the gloves, Gordon, speaking in an exclusive interview with the Scottish Sun, answered: “No chance. I want to retire on my own terms and not to have that dictated to me by an injury.

CAPITAL SHOW…Craig Gordon returns to Hearts in June 2020.

“I want that feeling back of leading the Hearts team out and playing again.

“I have a lot of hard work to do before I can get back to that, but that’s the goal for me. I really can’t guarantee anything, but I want to push myself as much as I possibly can.

“If I can get back playing for Hearts then, hopefully, I can get back playing for Scotland, too.

“When injuries happen you have to fight your way back and prove all over again that you deserve to be playing. That’s the challenge for me now.

“I have had the majority of my career. I know there is only a certain amount of time I’ve potentially got left playing.

“Had this happened when I was 17 or 18, when I hadn’t done anything in the game, then it would be a completely different story.

“But I’m content with where I am. I’ve given my career absolutely everything until now.”

Gordon added: “If things don’t work out from here on, then I still have that to show for all my efforts and I have a lot to be proud of. I could deal with it.

“But that’s not the way I’m thinking because I flip it around and say: ‘I’m not done yet’.

SCOTLAND THE RAVE…Craig Gordon in charge while playing for his country.

“In fairness, the surgeon has been very positive. But the concern people have is with my age and the fact I’m 40 now, which I understand.

“That plays on people’s minds and I know there will be some who will question if I’m the same player as before if I do come back.

“But bring it on. Let’s see. Give me that opportunity and I’ll see what I can do.”

Gordon was a Celtic Invincible when the Parkhead side completed Brendan Rodgers’ debut campaign as Hoops manager in season 2016/17 with an unbeaten record on their way to a domestic clean sweep.

He left the Glasgow outfit in the summer of 2020 to return to first club Hearts where Robbie Neilson named him captain as he won his way back into Steve Clarke’s international line-up.


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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