Hearts keeper Craig Gordon back in Scotland squad as three Hibs stars drop out

Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon has been included in the Scotland squad for the upcoming international triple-header, including the crunch Euro 2020 play-off clash with Serbia.
Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon is back in the Scotland squad. Picture SNSHearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon is back in the Scotland squad. Picture SNS
Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon is back in the Scotland squad. Picture SNS

The Tynecastle stopper has been rewarded for his fine form since rejoining his boyhood heroes this summer. He’s made top class saves in the victories over Dundee and Alloa Athletic in the Scottish Championship, not to mention a stunning stop from Kevin Nisbet in Saturday’s all-Edinburgh Scottish Cup semi-final.

He joins Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths and Norwich City centre-back Grant Hanley as former national team regulars returning to the group, while the six players who were forced to drop out on the eve of the Israel clash last month are all available.

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This has meant there’s no place for the three Hibs stars – Ryan Porteous, Paul Hanlon and Paul McGinn – who were all involved in the set-up during the last international break. Hanlon even received his first cap after coming off the bench to help shore up the 1-0 win against the Czech Republic.

Porteous was included with the initial squad last time around, while Hanlon and McGinn were called up after injury robbed manager Steve Clarke of the services of Liam Palmer, Scott McKenna and Oliver Burke. The Scotland boss was also dealt the triple blow of losing Stuart Armstrong to a positive Covid-19 test, which meant Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie were forced into self-isolation as a result of being in close contact with their former Celtic team-mate.

Scotland were able to get over such disruption with three positive results. After defeating Israel on penalties to book their meeting with Serbia on Thursday, October 11 for a place in next summer’s European Championships tournament they were then able to defeat Slovakia and the Czech Republic in the Uefa Nations League.

They’ll be back in Nations League duty again after the Serbia clash. Three days later they travel to Slovakia before ending the latest Nations League campaign with a meeting against Israel on Wednesday, October 18.

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Scotland are currently top of Group B2 with a four-point lead over the Czech Republic. Clarke’s men just need one victory from either of their two final matches or for the Czechs to drop points in either of their two final games. They have a pair of home clashes against Israel and Slovakia. Similar to the route which culminates in the play-off with Serbia, finishing top of this group could ultimately help Scotland qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Hearts), David Marshall (Derby County), Jon McLaughlin (Rangers)

Defenders: Andy Considine (Aberdeen), Liam Cooper (Leeds United), Declan Gallagher (Motherwell), Grant Hanley (Norwich City), Scott McKenna (Aberdeen), Stephen O’Donnell (Motherwell), Liam Palmer (Sheffield Wednesday), Greg Taylor (Celtic), Kieran Tierney (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Ryan Christie (Celtic), Ryan Jack (Rangers), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Kenny McLean (Norwich City), Scott McTominay (Manchester United),

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Forwards: Oliver Burke (Sheffield United), Lyndon Dykes (Queens Park Rangers), Ryan Fraser (Newcastle United), Leigh Griffiths (Celtic), Oli McBurnie (Sheffield United), Callum Paterson (Sheffield Wednesday), Lawrence Shankland (Dundee United)

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