Who would have thought that Craig Gordon would ever be Celtic’s number one? I mean, the guy was outstanding in his Hearts playing days and when he went south of the border I never expected him to look back.
Of course everything changed with multiple injuries sustained during his time at Sunderland. Even after making comebacks, his knees remained troublesome.
With historic injuries and then a period of time out of the game I would never have thought that he would be on Celtic’s radar. In fact, even when he was training with Celtic, I didn’t envisage him between the sticks for the Hoops.
Fraser Foster was Celtic’s number one when Gordon signed a contract with the club but the rumour mill was, as it always is with Celtic players, awash with stories about yet another Celtic player moving south. This time it turned out to be true and Foster was gone, leaving Gordon to fill those big shoes of la gran muralla.
It was no easy task. Even though Gordon himself had found early fame between the sticks, he had been out of the game for a while.
As it turned out he did a fine job for Celtic in his first season. So much so, he was automatically forgiven for a howler in a key European match.
In the season that followed, cracks were beginning to show in Gordon’s performances though. These of course were not isolated to him but rather the whole team and former manager, Ronny Deila.
So when Brendan arrived in the early summer of 2016, he brought in a keeper he knew well after running the rule over Craig Gordon. Many of us thought Dorus de Vries was going to come in and show him how things were done, but that was far from the case.
Even though Brendan had dropped Gordon, de Vries wasn’t faring any better. Brendan had claimed de Vries knew how to play a ball out properly and not just lump it up the park.
Maybe he did, but to be quite honest he was pretty crap in goal in general. The bottom line here was that de Vries was brought in to put the wind up Craig Gordon and at a very low-cost.
He had nobody challenging him for the number one slot. Forgotten man Logan Bailly was barely seeing any action as it was before falling to injury so Brendan needed something or someone to jolt a reaction.
That was the real reason de Vries was brought in. Some have said that it was Brendan’s first mistake and I was of the same opinion initially but I’m more of the opinion that this was a master stroke to get Gordon playing better and if not he knew what he had to do.
And it has worked because since he reclaimed his spot he has been in fine form. That has brought about a new contract for himself which he signed today.
Chelsea were supposedly keen to bring him in during the January transfer window and I could understand his interest if true. The thing is he would only be back up and having spent so long out of the game, he would want to be playing.
The only thing I was a little surprised at was the length of contract he received. I know that goalkeepers can potentially have a much longer playing career at the top than outfield players, but I was expecting a year or two not three.
If he is still doing a job at that point – 37 years old – then great, but I’d like to think there is some long-term planning for his replacement. De Vries and Bailly are both contracted until 2018 and by the time those deals expire they would be 38 and 33 years old respectively.
Removing de Vries from the equation, does Bailly have the potential to replace Gordon. Or will Leo Fasan make a return from Port Vale and take up the reigns at some point?
I’m not even sure who is second choice at this stage. All I can say is that for the immediate future I am glad to have an in form Craig Gordon between the sticks.