Craig Gordon announces Celtic exit with emotional goodbye

Well, Celtic do need more strength in depth in the goalkeeper department, that’s for sure, now that another winner in that position has moved on.

Craig Gordon has brought an end to the “will he or won’t he” debate. He’s now formally confirmed he has left Celtic. He has had a brilliant career throughout his time in football. We shouldn’t forget that he was in what seems the prime of his career when he left Hearts in 2007 to join Sunderland. Gordon went for an enormous sum at the time of £9 million. That was a British transfer record for a goalkeeper, which shows the esteem he was held in.

Gordon suffered serious injuries while at Sunderland and only played 88 games for them from 2007 to when Sunderland unsurprisingly released him from his contract in 2012. What was a surprise was when, after two years out of professional football, he signed with Celtic in 2014. It’s unlikely Gordon anticipated the future success he would achieve never mind playing so consistently after his injuries.

In his time with Celtic the club have won six league titles, five league cups and three Scottish cups. His playing time started to slow down after Scott Bain arrived in 2018 and had to cover for Gordon famously in a game against Rangers. The arrival of Fraser Forster further curtailed his appearances last season, Gordon had just six matches, four in European games before Forster arrived.

When Gordon’s contract expired recently he was made an offer by Celtic, but it didn’t meet what he was looking for and he has now decided to formally decline the offer and look elsewhere. St Mirren were interested but his original club Hearts is a much more likely destination with a two year contract apparently on the table.

Via his Instagram account, Gordon has been clear on his objectives and desire to play on. He also showed his appreciation of his Celtic years.

“At 37, and with a few years in me yet, I just want to play the game I love, and have played for 20+ professional seasons.

“Football can make for difficult decisions, but I’m looking forward to the next chapter and challenge.

“The last six years have been the most successful period of my professional career, and I would like to thank everyone who has played their part in making this possible.

“The club, for initially taking a chance on someone who hadn’t played in nearly three years.

“And to Woodsy [Celtic goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods] for encouraging me to make the move in the first place, and for training me ridiculously hard ever since.”

Gordon played a significant role in securing titles and trophies for Celtic, he made some terrific saves and supported the desire to play out more from the back, even if a few of us had our hearts in our mouths occasionally. He deserves our gratitude, respect and thanks as fans. Good luck Craig!

While his news comes as no surprise, it does increase the urgency for Celtic to bolster their goalkeeping positions. Especially  given the ongoing uncertainty regarding Fraser Forster, who still remains head and shoulders ahead of alternatives like Joe Hart as far as fans are concerned.