Opinion: Craig Gordon Should Be Remembered Fondly By The Celtic Support

Following Craig Gordon’s announcement that he is departing Celtic, there has been a bit of a mixed reaction on social media. In my opinion this is unfair.

As a person, Craig Gordon gave his best to Celtic and appeared to enjoy his time at the club. He respected the Celtic support and did his job. He has never spoken ill of the club and also turned down the money of moving to Chelsea, in order to continue playing first team football at Celtic. Beyond that, Gordon did a huge amount of charity work at Celtic, including taking part in the Celtic FC Foundation sleep out at Paradise on several occasions. It is also notable that whilst the majority of the squad enjoyed a holiday, Craig was busy helping the club’s charity with their project work in Kenya. Therefore, he seems a man with good integrity. The fact that he supports Hearts and has now rejected a contract on reduced terms, likely to go and play first team football at his boyhood club, is no slight on the man or disrespect from him towards Celtic.

As a footballer, Gordon represents a good bit of business for the club. Having sold Fraser Forster, it was a big gamble to bring him in after several years away from the game through injury. That gamble paid off when Gordon became a key last line of defence under Ronny Deila and was outstanding right up until the February in his debut season with the Hoops. It was then that he had a terrible night at the office against Inter Milan, with two howlers costing us victory. However, after each error, Celtic Park sang “One Craig Gordon,” as a show of support for the keeper after his fantastic season up to that point.

Gordon was the number one goalkeeper during the Invincible treble and double treble campaigns. He was an exquisite shot stopper, who did very well for the most part. Much of his downturn in form was as a result of a change in playing style, whereby Brendan Rodgers wanted him to use his feet and play out from the back. Clearly Gordon didn’t suit this style and it seems a little unfair to ask a goalkeeper to completely change his game when it doesn’t suit him. It’s almost akin to asking Tom Rogic to play holding midfield. It’s the way Brendan wanted to play and Bain suited that system better, but that’s not necessarily a negative against Gordon.

It should not be forgotten that Craig saved a crucial penalty kick in Israel, which was the difference in Celtic qualifying for the Champions League. That save was priceless, or perhaps it was worth over £30m. He was terrific in the December derby of 2017, which ensured the Hoops avoided defeat against the new Rangers, saving twice from close range against Morelos, Waghorn and Tavenir. In addition to this, during Gordon’s 200th appearance for Celtic, he racked up his 100th clean sheet at the club. He went on to make a further 42 appearances in a Celtic shirt.

Gordon is ultimately an Invincible, part of the nine in a row and the treble treble. He came on a free and leaves the club with 6 league titles, 5 League Cups and 3 Scottish Cups.

He should be remembered well and given our best wishes as he did a good job, represented Celtic well and leaves having lost the number one spot and being offered a reduced deal. This is his prerogative and there is nothing wrong with that.

Good luck to him.

About Author

Hailing from an Irish background, I grew up in Bournemouth with the good fortune to begin watching Celtic during the Martin O'Neill era. Still living on the south coast, I have a season ticket at Paradise and also travel to European away matches when possible. I have written four Celtic books since the age of 19: Our Stories & Our Songs: The Celtic Support, Take Me To Your Paradise: A History Of Celtic-Related Incidents & Events, Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys: Celtic's Founding Fathers, First Season & Early Stars, and The Holy Grounds of Glasgow Celtic: A Guide To Celtic Landmarks & Sites Of Interest. These were/are sold in Waterstones and official Celtic FC stores, and are available on Amazon.

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