GOALKEEPING greats Craig Gordon and Joe Hart both won their first honours at Celtic in the League Cup.
The 40-year-old Scotland international picked up his debut medal at the Hoops when Ronny Deila’s team beat Dundee United 2-0 at Hampden in March 2015.
Over six years later, the 75 times-capped 35-year-old England netminder paraded the silverware following the dramatic 2-1 success over Hibs at the national stadium just four months after sealing his £1million switch from Spurs.
Gordon, who joined Hearts in the summer of 2020 when his Parkhead contract expired, faces a seven-month period on the sidelines after a sickening double leg-break at Tannadice just before the turn of the year.
The towering shotstopper will be watching his old team in action when they face Michael Beale’s Ibrox club in the Viaplay League Cup Final on Sunday afternoon.
THE CUP THAT CHEERS…Craig Gordon completes his comeback with the League Cup following the 2-0 win over Dundee United at Hampden in March 2015.
Like Gordon, the Hoops No.1 has had to fight back from adversity in his career when he played in the shadows at Burnley and the London club after hitting the heights at Manchester City and the ex-Celt said: “It’s resilience to get back out there.
“The criticism you had in the past will never go away, it’s always something people will go back to right throughout his career.
“People mention it about Joe Hart and when he left Man City. That’s what everyone wants to talk about. They don’t want to talk about how he has managed to come back via different clubs and all the avenues he had to go down.
“He was a second-choice for a while, but he’s come back and is now a No.1 playing in a Cup Final with a great chance of winning the league, as well.”
Gordon, who was signed by Deila after Fraser Forster quit for Southampton in a £10million switch in August 2014, cemented his comeback with a shut-out at Hampden when goals from Kris Commons and James Forrest overcame Dundee United.
THE FINAL SAY…Joe Hart and his Celtic team-mates celebrate the 2-0 win over Kilmarnock to seal a place in the silverware showdown on Sunday.
The netminder, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “It’s a major trophy and you don’t get many chances to win silverware. Players and fans will celebrate because it’s a big deal, some people might put more importance on the Scottish Cup with the history or whatever.
“But it means something when you get your hands on a winners’ medal and there is no better feeling than going up those stairs at Hampden to lift a trophy. The League Cup was my first winners’ medal with Celtic.
“I have fond memories of the game against Dundee United. It was my first one back after my knee troubles.
“The adrenaline of coming back and proving people wrong carried me right through that campaign. It was probably to the detriment of the season after that as I had to put so much into the comeback.
“But that first year was incredible and it was great to win a couple of trophies. That Final was a big moment in my career.”
The competition, of course, opens the door to the opportunity of a treble and Gordon added: “That’s true. I managed to win a few of them as well, which was nice!
SILVERWARE CELT…Joe Hart gets his hands on the League Cup trophy after the exciting 2-1 victory over Hibs at Hampden in December 2021.
“It’s part of Scottish football. You have three trophies to aim for and while sometimes the goal is to try to get one, it’s sometimes the target to win all three.
“It’s difficult to win. You have to win five games or more with the group stages and it’s something you want to have on your CV. It’s a great feeling to win and a horrible feeling to lose in a Final.
“I’ve faced that a few times, as well, but more often than not it was happy memories for me. We’ll just see what happens this weekend.
“It’s going to be a really close game and it will be down to who performs on the day and manages to impose their style on the opposition.
“They have slightly different styles in terms of how they want to play, so it will be a really intriguing match.”