Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon admits it will be hard to repeat one of his best seasons

·4-min read
Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon admits it will be hard to repeat one of his best seasons
Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon admits it will be hard to repeat one of his best seasons

CRAIG GORDON concedes replicating last season’s heroics in goal for Hearts will be a challenge after admitting it was one his most enjoyable campaigns.

The Scotland international exhibited sensational form as he played a starring role in helping Robbie Neilson’s side finish third and reach the Scottish Cup final.

At 77.2 per cent, Gordon also had the best record for shots saved among his contemporaries in the Premiership.

It was therefore no surprise that he amassed a bunch of individual prizes, including the SPFL Premiership and Scottish Football Writers’ player of the year awards

At Hearts’ own awards bash he picked up the fan and player gongs.

Gordon would love to maintain that form but acknowledges he has set the bar high.

“For me personally it could well be one of the best seasons that I’ve managed to play,” said the goalkeeper.

“My form was probably as good as it's ever been.

“It'll be a challenge to keep that going at that level. But certainly it was a good season for me personally.

“I made a lot of saves. But just the way that everything came together for Hearts in general, the feel good factor that we had.

“Getting that relationship with the fans back was great. They really backed us, Tynecastle was a good place to play football again and difficult for other teams to come to.

“That is what being at Hearts and being a Hearts player is all about, Tynecastle when it's full and has a good atmosphere like that, it's a great place to play in.

“If we can keep them onside, trying to play our best football then they appreciate the effort we're trying to put in to be successful.

“We've got a good group and a good understanding. There's a lot of good people trying to do their absolute best for the club and it feels as if the club's on an upward trajectory at the moment.

“It's up to us to keep it going that way."

Gordon is now seventh on the international roll of honour after he collected his 70th cap in last month’s UEFA Nations League win in Armenia and is still desperate to represent his country.

But the veteran admits he may have a decision to make come the World Cup break at the end of the year as he faces the gruelling schedule of 29 competitive games for club and country in the space of three-and-a-half months.

Hearts face a busier than normal schedule due to their guaranteed participation in Europe until November,

Gordon added: “I still plan to play for Scotland as long as I can. The goals just get shorter and shorter at the moment.

“We've got a break in November, which isn't what anybody wanted, and that now makes the next three or four months a sort of mini season.

“The aim is to get through to the end of there and see how things are after that.

“But I certainly want to keep playing at the highest level, keep training and keep my body in the best condition I possibly can. I've no end date in my mind. If I still feel good, then I'll still play."

Gordon refused the offer of additional time off to link up with the Hearts squad on their training camp in Spain.

But the shot-stopper insists he is refreshed and ready to go despite only playing for Scotland in Armenia a little over two weeks ago.

Gordon, who wasn’t used in Thursday’s 4-0 friendly victory over Europa in Spain, added: “Is it enough time to recharge? "It'll do! I had about ten days.

“It's just about getting back into things.

“I’ve had a good week's training and I feel really good.

“The rest of the boys have had a good week as well. We've had no injuries and it's been a real good camp.

“Another week's training and I'll probably be ready for getting back and playing games as well."

Hearts are guaranteed eight games in Europe from August until November in either the Europa League or Europa Conference League and Gordon insists the volume of matches is something the players will have to learn to cope with.

Gordon, who is not short of experience on the continent from his time with Celtic, added: “Everybody's been talking about that and trying to get the best possible things in place.

“Recovery is going to be huge for us this season. The sports science guys have been on top of that all pre-season and emphasising how important that is.

“Nutrition, everything to give us the best possible chance.

“We've got a bigger squad so more players can come in and play different matches.

“There's a lot of different things we're trying to put in place to give ourselves the best possible chance to be successful."

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