08 October 2021

Craig Gordon comes full circle against Israel but has no intention of stopping

08 October 2021

Craig Gordon will come full international circle in Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against Israel at Hampden Park on Saturday – but insists he has no intention of calling it quits any time soon.

The 38-year-old Hearts goalkeeper made his Scotland Under-21s debut against their Israeli counterparts 19 years ago at Hamilton.

Since that match in 2002, Gordon has enjoyed a successful club career at Hearts, Sunderland and Celtic while winning 60 Scotland caps, the first against Trinidad and Tobago in 2004.

Coincidentally, while Steve Clarke’s men prepare to face Israel for the seventh time in three years, none of Gordon’s senior team appearances have been against this weekend’s opponents, but recalling his first taste of international football he said: “I remember getting to the ground, I think there were protests at the time that we were even playing Israel.

“It was a strange start to international football under Rainer Bonhof. I think I came on in the second half.

“That was my very first involvement at international football and 19 years on it’s good to finally play them again.

“Even though Scotland have played them so often it will be my first time in 19 years.

“You never know when you start your career (how long it will continue). You go out to try your best and it’s each little goal at a time. To play for the 21s at the time was a huge achievement.

“Then after that it’s can you play regularly at club level and get into the international team.

“There is a whole list of things you need to go through before 19 years later you are still playing international level. I would never have known at that stage what was ahead of me.

“Hopefully I can keep going for a while yet and try and enjoy a few more games. I hope I can go on a bit longer. I don’t know how long that is.

“I will keep training as the best I can to keep myself in shape and give myself the opportunity.

“I don’t know that answer for as long as I possibly can. I will be available as long as I’m wanted.

“If I can help out the national team no matter what then I would always want to be available to do that. We can only wait and see how long that may be.”

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