Craig Gordon ready to step in for Scotland with David Marshall injured
Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon is ready to step in as Scotland’s No.1 for this month’s World Cup qualifiers.
David Marshall is nursing a back injury and Gordon’s form puts him in pole position to face Austria, Israel and the Faroe Islands as the campaign for Qatar 2022 begins.
Marshall was forced off during Derby County’s draw with Nottingham Forest last month and missed their next two games. He hasn’t been able to train since and manager Wayne Rooney confirmed today that the 36-year-old won’t make Wednesday’s game at Barnsley.
It remains to be seen if he can recover in time for the international break but Gordon, 38, is ready if called upon.
He has made numerous crucial saves in 24 Hearts appearances so far this season. National coach Steve Clarke recalled him to the Scotland squad last year and gave him a 55th cap against Slovakia in November’s Nations League match.
Should injury rule Marshall out of forthcoming World Cup ties, Gordon will be poised to step in ahead of other potential candidates like Jon McLaughlin of Rangers, Livingston’s Robby McCrorie and Motherwell’s Liam Kelly.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson extolled his goalkeeper’s qualities following a number of important stops in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Dundee.
“That's the sign of a top keeper,” Neilson told the Evening News. “I hope he continues to do that and I hope he gets into that Scotland squad. Saturday will definitely do him no harm. He deserves to be in that squad, 100 per cent.
“He is the best keeper we've got in my opinion. I know there are a few other keepers doing quite well down in England but, for me, Craig's experience and shot-stopping ability are there for everybody to see. He's been outstanding for us.”
Gordon fell out of the national squad during the 2019/20 season after becoming second-choice at former club Celtic. He returned to Tynecastle Park last summer and immediately targeted both the Championship title and a Scotland recall.
It came last November when Clarke named him in the squad for three away games in Serbia, Slovakia and Israel.
Marshall played in Serbia – famously saving a penalty to secure Scotland’s European Championship place – and Israel. Gordon took the gloves against Slovakia and may now be asked to do so again.