Ex-Sunderland man to fight for Scotland spot after injury hell

Craig Gordon has vowed to fight for the starting goalkeepers spot in the Scotland squad, having missed two years of professional football.

The stopper, who signed for Celtic this summer, has spent a two-year spell on the sidelines through a series of injuries, but he is relishing the chance to reclaim the number one jersey for Scotland.

The 31-year old was most recently seen playing with Sunderland, having moved to England for £9 million in 2007 - a record transfer fee paid by a British club for a goalkeeper. However, injury limited the 40-cap keeper to just 88 Premier League appearances in that five-year spell, and during the 2012/13 season, it was rumoured that Gordon was looking to move into coaching. Despite this, he trained with Rangers during the 2013/14 season, and in June 2014 he confirmed that he was training with Celtic, and that talks were ongoing to sign a permanent deal.

Fraser Forster’s transfer to Southampton opened the way for Gordon to guarantee first-team football, and the keeper made his first competitive appearance in over two years when he kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 victory over St. Johnstone in August.

His reappearance on the playing scene warranted an immediate recall into the Scotland fold, and, although Hull’s Allan McGregor and Cardiff’s David Marshall are likely candidates for the number one shirt, Gordon has promised that he is there to force his way back into the international eye.

Speaking prior to Scotland’s European qualification match with Germany in Dortmund, Gordon was quoted by the Daily Mail expressing his desire to force himself onto the park.

He said: 'It's good competition (with Allan and David) and I enjoy meeting up with the squad. The standard of training among the keepers is fantastic. It's been great to be involved in it and it improves my game as well.

'The next stage is to go there and try to show up well in training and demonstrate that I'm more than capable of holding my own and pushing for a start. I don't want to just go along there looking to make up the numbers now that I have been included in the squad. I want to put pressure on the other two goalkeepers and try to force myself into contention for a starting spot.

'I wanted to get back in as soon as possible and [the Germany game] was the very first opportunity. I hadn't set myself a goal to try and be in this squad. I wanted to get back in however long it took.

'Now that I have managed to get called up the next goal is to force myself on the park and getting a game.’

Scotland fans will be grateful that Gordon is back in the squad, with the high level of all three goalkeepers offering a level of competition not seen for a long time. The upcoming European Championship qualifying campaign promises to be a challenging trial, but with some of the talent now scattered amongst the Scotland squad, they may just find themselves at another international tournament.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch