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SportHeartsHearts keeper relishing going up against old Scotland team-mate at Easter Road

Hearts keeper relishing going up against old Scotland team-mate at Easter Road

Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon admits his friendship with David Marshall will mean nothing when the pair lock horns in Sunday’s Edinburgh derby.

The former Scotland team-mates will be at opposite ends of the pitch at Easter Road for the televised encounter as both teams look to maintain their winning starts to the Premiership.

Marshall returned to Scottish football following 15 years south of the border when he joined the Leith outfit earlier this summer.

Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon is interviewed by Andy Halliday | Hearts news
Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon (Pic: Hearts TV)

The pair had shared an international dressing room on and off since 2004 before Marshall announced his retirement from the Scotland team in June.

And Gordon is looking forward to going up against the 37-year-old in the weekend’s clash.

He said: “It’s a good move back up the road for him. I know his family have been back up here for a few years so it’s nice for him to get back up here and be in Scotland again.

“But probably all friendly rivalries will be put aside for the derby. We’ll try to win that game and I’m sure we’ll speak after it.

”Marshall is a legend in the eyes of the Scotland fans after his penalty heroics against Serbia helped get the national team to Euro 2020.

However, Gordon admits that will not make him immune to stick from the Hearts fans in derby encounters.

He added: “It’s a good signing for Hibs. He’s been a real steady goalie over his entire career and he’s got the very famous moment that all fans will always thank him for, but maybe not at Tynecastle for the next couple of years.

”Gordon, meanwhile, has described the club’s Europa League play-off draw as ‘reasonable’ after Hearts managed to avoid some of European football’s bigger clubs.

Robbie Neilson’s side will take on either Swiss side FC Zurich or Linfield of Northern Ireland for a place in the lucrative group stages, the ties taking place on August 18 and 25.

Greek giants Olympiakos, Swedes Malmo, Maribor of Slovenia, Serbian outfit Partizan Belgrade and Fenerbahce of Turkey were among the other teams Hearts could have been paired with.

Zurich, who are favourites to progress, won their league last season but are currently second bottom of the table with only one point from a possible nine.

Even if Hearts fall short, they are guaranteed Europa Conference League group football until November.

Gordon added: “It was going to be tough no matter who we got, we’ll wait and see who comes through that tie. “It’s exciting for us to be a part of it, we’ll give it our best shot.

“It would be an incredible achievement to get through to the Europa League (group stages).

“We watched the draw after training to see who we’d get, there are a few big names that were possible and the draw is reasonable, although I still think it is going to be very difficult.

“We’ll give it our best shot, we’re excited to be part of it but we also want to achieve and go there and win that game.”

After Hibs, Hearts will also face Dundee United before turning their attention towards European football and Gordon insists the Gorgie outfit, who beat Ross County in the Premiership opener, are looking to build some momentum.

He added: “We want to arrive at that game on a good run, get a few victories before then.

“It’s up to us now to concentrate on the league and make sure we’re arriving there on good form and ready to take that challenge on.

”Gordon was part of the last Hearts team to compete in European group stage football back in 2004 and is relishing returning to that stage with the team he grew up supporting.

He added: “Guaranteed group stage of some description, we’re happy about that, it’s going to be a difficult season with the amount of matches but the challenge is great.

“That’s what we want to be part of. We want to enjoy the European games, especially at Tynecastle, the fans will love having European football back there.

”Hearts supporters, meanwhile, have snapped up the club’s entire 3,900 ticket allocation for Sunday’s eagerly-anticipated showdown.

Fans with the required loyalty points bought the remaining briefs yesterday morning.

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