For 24 of the last 36 months – actually, for longer than that, and thank God for Joe Hart – Celtic has been repeatedly beaten with the Craig Gordon Stick.
It was tiresome at the time. It is tiresome now.
It outgrew itself at birth, and I have hoped ever since that his ghost would be laid to rest.
When Craig Gordon left this club he was facing the prospect of continuing to be our second choice goalkeeper. Fraser Forster was supposed to come back and Gordon knew that and made his decision then to leave.
We have been beaten for allowing him to go.
Please note; we are not being beaten for allowing him to leave without signing a first choice keeper.
We did sign a first choice keeper, and we always intended to. We are being slagged because we let him go at all, as though keeping him would have been a masterstroke.
I cannot repeat this enough times. Gordon wanted to go because he knew he would not be Celtic’s number one.
Had he stayed he’d have been the stand-in for Barkas. That scenario might have had a happier ending for him, because he’d certainly have supplanted the Greek based on the form he had, but we never got to find out.
Because Craig Gordon did not want a battle for the jersey, and knew he’d face one.
The one scenario which could have avoided it all was to make Gordon himself the first choice keeper, and nobody believed that was a good idea. Nobody. Celtic had no intention of making him the club’s number one, it wasn’t in the running at all.
Craig Gordon has too many deficiencies in his game for that to have been a consideration.
As a backup he was fine.
For our club, that’s as good as it was going to get except in an emergency. Yet ever since – more than 2 years now – we’ve been getting hammered for letting him slip through our fingers as though that’s what actually happened.
Gordon went to Hearts for less money than we were offering him.
Fair play to him, he turned down the bigger pay-packet to play regular football.
He, at least, understood the reality of that position even if the media never acknowledges that.
Tonight against the Republic of Ireland I thought he was plainly and simply dreadful.
Every one of the reasons why I was glad Celtic got shot of him was on display.
This is the guy who many of the hacks voted for as the player of the year … anything not to give it to someone in Hoops, and if they could regurgitate all the old lies about how we were stupid to let him go then they were more than happy to do so.
Again and again and again and again.
I have never missed him. I think we did the right thing in letting him go elsewhere.
We didn’t fight that decision. We didn’t struggle against it. We offered him a good deal and he chose to turn us down, and that’s what happened regardless of what the press says.
I just wish they would spare us this tired claptrap about how we were stupid.
Chris Sutton is amongst those who thinks we should have paid Hearts a handsome sum of money to take him back at the start of the last campaign … give me a break with that.
After months of hearing nothing about how brilliant he was – from people who otherwise would have had to vote for Carter Vickers or McGregor – tonight proved what any Celtic fan who has watched the guy knew already; on that bigger stage he isn’t nearly good enough, and I write that as someone with tremendous respect for the service he gave us.
It’s time the media retired that old joke.
It’s time Steve Clarke did as well.
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