Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson has said that Celtic netminder Craig Gordon has been “outstanding” over the last couple of seasons and seemed to query why he has had so little gametime for Neil Lennon’s side this term.
The 36-year-old Scotland international has had to compete with Scott Bain and August loan arrival Fraser Forster for the goalkeeping slot at Celtic this season and has been the least-used of the trio, as per TransferMarkt.
Speaking to Football Insider about Gordon, Robinson said: “He’s been excellent for Celtic for the last couple of years, I think he’s been outstanding. I don’t know if it’s harsh he has been dropped, that’s a manager’s personal preference.
“I have not seen enough of his performances this year to comment on whether he should be dropped or not but the way that Craig Gordon’s suffered injuries and was able then to come back at a level at Celtic – because he was frozen out for a while and was brought out the wilderness by Celtic – for him to reinvent himself at his age was an outstanding achievement.”
When looking at Gordon’s statistics for Celtic in recent months, Robinson is right to be complimentary of the 36-year-old.
Gordon has made just five appearances this season but the Hoops have been victorious in each of those, with only two goals conceded (0.4 per game) and three clean sheets kept (60% of games). [via TransferMarkt]
It should be noted, though, that two of those matches were in the Betfred Cup against Championship opposition, while another was in a Champions League qualifying tie against Nomme Kalju of Estonia when Celtic already had a 5-0 lead from the first leg. [via TransferMarkt]
The other two appearances were in the Europa League play-off tie against AIK, his performances in both games drawing praise from journalists. The Scottish Sun‘s Robert Grieve wrote after the 4-1 away win that “he can again hold his head high with a typically solid performance”, while his Scottish Sun colleague David Friel noted that the goalkeeper’s “composure started [the] move for Celtic’s opener” in their 2-0 win in the first leg at Parkhead.
A fairer comparison of Gordon’s statistics over a lengthy time frame can be drawn from last season’s record of 15 clean sheets and 27 goals conceded in 32 appearances, a 46.9% clean sheet ratio and a goal concession average of 0.84 per game. [via TransferMarkt].
Forster has started the Hoops’ last seven Premiership matches as well as both Europa League group games, with six goals conceded (0.67 per game) and four clean sheets (44% of games), statistically worse than Gordon for both metrics this season, albeit against a higher calibre of opposition. [via TransferMarkt]
Bain, meanwhile, has been completely frozen out of the first team picture since the concession of four goals to CFR Cluj in the Champions League qualifying defeat in August, the 27-year-old failing to even make a matchday squad since then. [via TransferMarkt].
Forster’s consistent string of starts suggests that he will continue to be Lennon’s first choice goalkeeper for the time being, barring injury or a loss of form, although Gordon has proven to be a very capable deputy who has impressed when called upon, therefore meriting the praise from Robinson.
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