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Craig Gordon reflects on ‘extremely emotional night’ after Scotland milestone

Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon applauds the fans during his 75th appearance (Steve Welsh/PA)
Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon applauds the fans during his 75th appearance (Steve Welsh/PA)

Craig Gordon admits his record-breaking 75th Scotland appearance was “extremely emotional” after being told he was being left out of the Euro 2024 squad 24 hours earlier.

The 41-year-old surpassed David Weir as Scotland’s oldest international after replacing Angus Gunn in the 70th minute for his first appearance for the national team since suffering a double leg fracture on Christmas Eve 2022.

Gordon was visibly emotional as he came on to a standing ovation and the night did not go to plan as Scotland lost a 2-0 lead to draw with Finland in their final warm-up game before the European Championship opener against Germany in Munich next Friday.

The equaliser was harsh on the Hearts goalkeeper, who conceded a penalty following a collision despite getting his hands to the ball first.

Craig Gordon looks sad
Craig Gordon after the game (Steve Welsh/PA)

Writing on his Instagram account, Gordon was able to reflect on his journey over the past 18 months since breaking his leg in a collision with former Scotland team-mate Steven Fletcher at Tannadice.

“I set myself four goals,” he wrote. “The first was to be out of pain. The seriousness of the break made for complications and further procedures. I went through a lot of pain and wanted to be able to live life without it. I did that.

“The second thing I wanted to achieve was to be back on my feet and able to run around the garden and play football with my children. We’ve done that. Many, many times and they won’t let me stop now.

“The third goal I had was to play for Hearts again. This meant a lot to me. I did that competitively in January, having played my first friendly in November, 10 months after I broke my leg. It was a long wait, but I was ready to play the rest of the season.

“The last thing I hoped to do was to make the Scotland squad again. And to put myself in a position to be at the Euros. Coming into the provisional squad I knew I hadn’t got the games I needed so I trained harder, I trained well and felt, and still feel, very good. I am of course, so disappointed not to be there.

Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon collides with Finland's Tomas Galvez
Craig Gordon was penalised following a collision with Tomas Galvez (Steve Welsh/PA)

“Playing again for Scotland last night meant I did what I set out to do. And while it wasn’t in the way I wanted, I could never turn down the opportunity to play at Hampden again. Something I have had the honour of doing for over 20 years.

“The circumstances were tough, it was an extremely emotional night for my family and I. But I’m grateful I got that opportunity. To become the oldest player to play for Scotland, it’s a special record.

“Given how long I’ve been doing this, I’ve experienced so much and I, probably more than others, know all too well, that things don’t always go your way. Decisions go against you.

“Last night, of all nights, I wished they didn’t but if a nervous 21-year-old could have seen that so many years on, through some big challenges, I’d be there at 41 years old, I think I’d be very happy with that. I should have been given a smaller shirt on my debut(!), but I knew that if I played for the badge on the front, people would remember the name on the back.

“I hope I’ve done that, and will continue to do so for as long as I feel good enough. 75 caps. Thank you.”