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Robbie Neilson backs Hearts’ cup hero Craig Gordon for Scotland comeback

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian – William Hill Scottish Cup – Semi Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson believes “top keeper” Craig Gordon gave Scotland boss Steve Clarke food for thought with his performance against Hibernian.

The 37-year-old  was named man of the match after the Jambos’  William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final win over their Edinburgh rivals at Hampden Park on Saturday.

Gordon made a terrific save from Kevin Nisbet’s close-range header in the first half and, in the dying stages of the match as Hearts led 2-1, he pulled off another stop to prevent Christian Doidge’s over-head kick taking the match to a penalty shoot-out.

Doidge had levelled Craig Wighton’s opener but Liam Boyce’s penalty  in extra-time, after Nisbet had crashed a spot-kick off the bar,  sent Hearts into the December 20 final.

Scotland boss Clarke will soon announce his squad for the Euro 2020 play-off final away to Serbia and  the Nations League games against Slovakia and Israel this month.

Neilson insists that Gordon, who won his 54th cap in a 3-1 friendly defeat by Portugal in October, 2018, should be in the frame for a comeback.

The former Tynecastle defender said: “He is a top keeper.

“I will be honest, when the ball goes into the box, I don’t think anyone is going to score.

“His reaction saves are unbelievable

“We see it every day in training. He has presence at the back and he talks and organises his team.

“If I was a centre half – he is the best guy in the world to have behind you because he will talk to you and you know he is going to be secure.

“So he has been great for us and he is desperate to get back into the Scotland squad to try to get to the Euros if we qualify.

“He has definitely given Steve a few questions because after the last couple of performances he has had, and this was on TV, in my opinion there is nobody better out there than Craig.”