First Team

Craig's list of Hampden delights

18th April 2022

Craig Gordon may have been the toast of Gorgie after his semi-final super save, but critical moments like that are simply what Scotland’s number one is all about.

The goalkeeper played a starring role in Hearts’ Scottish Cup triumph over Hibs, pulling off an exquisite second half save from a Ryan Porteous header – tipping the ball onto the post to keep the score at 2-1 as Robbie Neilson’s men booked a spot in the final.
 
“It was a big one,” said Craig.
 
“It was a big moment in the game and the season to keep them out at that particular point because they were on top. To keep our lead intact was hugely important at that stage because they still had 11 men at the time.
 
“I think it would have been difficult for us to get the momentum back in the game if it had been 2-2. 
‘I was really happy with it. I got a little bit of luck when it came back off the post and it came towards me and I managed to dive on the second ball.”

Big saves against Hibs at Hampden is familiar territory for Craig, who produced a similarly mesmeric stop against our rivals back in the 2020 semi-final. It was the moment that produced the iconic ‘grinning’ GIF, much adored by Hearts fans on Twitter. This time round, Craig said he had no reason to smile.
 
‘Not this time!” he laughed
 
“It was a good moment for me but there was still a long time to go in the game. We had to put in a great shift to get through in the end.
 
 “I hopefully deserved that bit of luck for the first touch. It can always happen as a goalkeeper that you make a save and the rebound goes it. But I managed get that little bit of luck and I was very happy because it was a key moment.”


 Our Hampden heroics mean Hearts are guaranteed a group stage berth in European competition, as well as a cup final spot. Rangers’ victory over Celtic in Sunday’s other semi-final match now sets up a showpiece clash against the Ibrox side next month.
 
The boys in maroon have twice gone close to bringing home a ninth Scottish Cup in the last three years, unfortunately falling short at the final hurdle. The challenge is there now, but Craig insists Hearts will be prepared for another Hampden showdown.
 
“Underdogs can win football matches. We’ve seen that this week in the Champions League and you see it every week in football that an underdog wins a football match,” he said.
 
“We can go in and we know we have good players and we can be confident in our own ability and know we can cause teams problems on any given day.
 
‘Yes, they are used to it so it’s not a big worry to them. We will just concentrate on ourselves as best we can and try to go into the final on good form.”