PAT BONNER, Celtic’s legendary goalkeeper, insists his old club should have made sure Craig Gordon didn’t quit last month.
The 37-year-old Scotland international shotstopper left the nine-in-a-row champions at the end of his contract when he knocked back the offer of an extension on vastly reduced terms.
Gordon has returned to Hearts on a two-year deal with the promise of a 12-month option.
Ronny Deila brought him as a replacement for Southampton-bound Fraser Forster in the summer of 2014 and the towering netminder proved conclusively he was over the knee and arm injuries that had wiped out two years of his career.
Ironically, though, he had to step down when Forster agreed a season-long loan and made his return in a 3-1 Premiership win over Hearts at Parkhead on August 25.
The fans’ favourite went on to play 39 times while Gordon had to be content with six outings, the last coming in the 2-0 Europa League Group E loss against Cluj in Romania on December 12.
Neil Lennon is now looking for a No.1 as the team bid for a historic 10 titles on the trot with Forster’s situation unclear at the moment.
Scott Bain, who made eight appearances last term, is the Irishman’s only experienced keeper at the club as they prepare for a crucial campaign.
And Bonner believes Gordon should still be there to play his part.
The Irish icon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Craig did a superb job. Some of his performances within his time at Celtic were fantastic, including Europe which were sensational at times.
“The value they got out of him was unbelievable. At this moment when Celtic don’t have anyone experienced in the first team except for Scott Bain, Craig is still one of the top goalkeepers in Scotland.
“They still need three for all of the competitions they play in and Craig fitted the profile so well that I would have gone all out to try to keep him. He has been given that opportunity at Hearts to play, which is important.
“But I would have gone all out to keep him and help him through his coaching education because, having seen him involved with stuff we’ve done in the past, he’s going to be a really good coach.”