Stendel full of praise for Celtic goalkeeper

Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon admits he would have jumped at the chance to take their Europa League campaign into the final group game at one stage.

Hearts boss Daniel Stendel has talked up Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon but admits signing him this month will be difficult.

Gordon is out of contract at Celtic at the end of the season and Stendel has been linked with a swoop ahead of Friday’s midnight deadline.

The 37-year-old, who started 18 league games for the Bhoys last season, lost the number one jersey following Fraser Forster’s arrival from Southampton and hasn’t featured in the Premiership this term.

He has been handed opportunities in the League Cup and Europa League and Neil Lennon recently rubbished talk of a sale this month.

Lennon claims Gordon is still an integral part of the set-up and regards him as the second-choice ahead of Scott Bain and Connor Hazard.

Hearts are known to be admirers of the Edinburgh-born stopper, who started his career at Tynecastle, but Stendel isn’t confident of getting a deal done.

Stendel said: “I think he’s a really good goalkeeper and an important player with a history with Hearts.

“But he’s playing for Celtic and has a contract with them. We have [been linked with] a lot of names.”

Hearts aren’t desperate for a goalkeeper with Zdenek Zlamal, Republic of Ireland international Colin Doyle and Joel Pereira, who is on loan from Manchester United, on their books.

It’s expected that they will return for Gordon in the summer if Celtic decide against offering up a new contract to the 54-cap Scotland international.