Robbie Neilson explains why Craig Gordon deal was so important in Hearts contract talks

Robbie Neilson has underlined the importance of getting Craig Gordon signed up to a new deal after a third contract extension was announced by the Tynecastle club.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 2:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 2:49 pm

Stephen Kingsley followed two days after Craig Halkett put pen to paper on committing to Hearts as the third-place side in this season’s cinch Premiership look to nail down some of their better players for the future.

Even though it looks as if John Souttar could be signing a pre-contract with Rangers, the overall situation is a lot rosier than it was going into the final day of 2021.

The first to sign up was captain Craig Gordon and his manager insists it’s no coincidence that his team-mates have now followed his lead.

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Hearts goalkeeper and club captain Craig Gordon signed a contract extension on December 31. Picture: SNS

“It was one of the reasons we wanted to get Craig Gordon signed up first. Because if we could get Craig signed up then the rest would follow,” Neilson told the Scarves Around The Funnel podcast.

"Craig is a really influential member of the dressing room. He’s the club captain. He’s played at the highest level.

"By him committing to the club for the next few years you can then speak to the guys, like Craig Halkett, and say ‘look, this is what we’re trying to do’.

"We speak to them about where we want to get to – we want European football, we want to win cups, we want to get into the group stages – but it’s great when it comes from within the dressing room as well.”

Speaking before the announcement of the Kingsley’s extension, he added: “There’s a couple we’re hoping to do in the next few days.”

Neilson was also asked about what’s the biggest difference in Gordon between this current spell and when he played alongside the Scotland No.1 during his early days at Hearts.

"Definitely his gear. It’s so much better than it was back then, my god,” joked the Tynecastle head coach.

"Craig is now an experienced keeper. There’s a calmness to him. He’s been there, got the t-shirt, played at the highest level, nothing flusters him.

"That calmness in the goalkeeper spreads throughout the whole team and even into the stands. That’s what he brings to the team and, in my opinion, he’s a world-class goalkeeper.”

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