Uk news Craig Gordon revels in Hearts 'feelgood factor' as he sets out major targets PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - Now he’s drawing on his continental experience as the Jambos look to do it all again this season
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Craig Gordon was part of the Hearts team that played in the group stage of the UEFA Cup almost 20 years ago., writes Ross Pilcher in Spain. Now he’s drawing on his continental experience as the Jambos look to do it again this season. The name may have changed but the prestige and rewards are still there. Robbie Neilson’s side are just 180 minutes away from the same stage of the Europa League. They go into those games in the knowledge they have the safety net of the Europa Conference League if they’re knocked out. That contingency wasn’t there when Hearts faced Braga back in 2004. The Portuguese cracks stood between them and the honour of becoming the first-ever Scottish team to play in the group stage. Gordon was between the sticks at Murrayfield for a 3-1 win before Mark De Vries’ double in the away leg secured a 2-2 draw to get the job done. The reward for Craig Levein’s team was a group containing Feyenoord, Schalke and Ferencvaros. The Tynecastle team could face a big gun in this season’s play-off round. Given they know they’ll be playing Thursday/Sunday eight times regardless of which competition they end up in, pre-season has all been geared towards coping with a European and domestic schedule. Gordon has been through it all before with Celtic as well and the devil’s been in the detail during this week’s training camp at La Cala in Spain. Read More Related Articles Liam Boyce shoots down Aberdeen transfer links and makes new Hearts contract admission Read More Related Articles Josh McPake seizes Rangers opportunity as youngster scores in narrow Partick Thistle friendly win Gordon said: “That’s what the coaching staff have been looking to do pre-season – put things in place that are going to come up during the season. The potential is that we could have to go and play somewhere quite warm. Also going back to play two games a week from next week which is what we’ll encounter when we go into Europe, playing and then travelling. “We’re trying to recreate that as much as possible so we get into the swing of things. Recovery is going to be huge for us this season The sports science guys have been on top of that and emphasising how important it is. Nutrition, everything to give us the best possible chance. We’ve got a bigger squad so more players can come in and play the different matches. The rest and in between games will be vitally important. We’re not going to be able to do a great deal of tactical work in between these games, so it’s about getting everything as organised as we can in pre-season. The manager has already set out how he wants to play and the formations we’re looking to use in the next few weeks. We’re trying to get everything in place early in these camps and that’s why he’s wanted the players in quick, to get everything bedded in." Gordon’s plan was always to get Hearts back to where they belong when he returned to his boyhood club from Parkhead two years ago.
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. “We wanted to be successful,” said Gordon. “We’ve done it very quickly, coming up from the Championship and having a really good year last year. “We’re probably a little bit ahead than what most people would’ve thought but certainly the aim was to get Hearts back into the position where they could challenge for European football. We’ve given ourselves a great chance. “We’re trying to develop all aspects of the club and I think everybody can see that. “The fans are buying into everything, they’ve renewed their season tickets and we’ve really improved in all aspects. “It’s a good club to be part of at the moment. There’s a real feelgood factor and it’s up to us to try to continue that into this season.” Assuming Hearts get to the quarter-finals of the Premier Sports Cup, Gordon could find himself playing 29 games between the end of July and the World Cup break in November. That’s a hectic schedule for any player, never mind a 39-year-old. He has been given extra time off after playing for Scotland and flew home early from Spain for further rest. But has it been enough for him to recharge the batteries? “It’ll do,” he said with a laugh. “I had about 10 days. It’s just about getting back into things. “I’ve had a good week’s training and I feel really good. The rest of the boys have had a good week as well. We’ve had no injuries and it’s been a real good camp. “Another week’s training and I’ll probably be ready for playing games as well.” Old pal David Marshall, now his Edinburgh rival at Hibs, called time on his Scots career last month but Gordon has no plans to do likewise any time soon. He added: “The goals just get shorter and shorter at the moment. “We’ve got a break in November which isn’t what anybody wanted and now makes the next three or four months a sort of mini-season. “The aim is to get through to the end of that and see how things are afterwards. “I’ve no end date in my mind. If I still feel good then I’ll still play.”
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