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Gordon backs Ukraine play-off move and says Scotland can take positives

The Scotland number one says friendlies can help maintain momentum.

Craig Gordon backs Ukraine play-off move and says Scotland will take positives SNS Group

Craig Gordon has said that postponing Scotland’s World Cup play-off against Ukraine is the right thing to do – and the national team will work to improve in the meantime.

The play-off semi-final was scheduled to take place later this month but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted the authorities to push the match back until June.

Scotland goalkeeper Gordon believes that the correct decision was reached.

“I think it was inevitable,” he said. “I think everybody is in agreement that it was the right thing to do.”

Steve Clarke’s players will now play one friendly on March 24 before playing the loser of the Wales v Austria semi-final five days later.

Gordon said: “We now have a couple of friendlies coming up and we want to go there and continue our momentum, make sure we’re still winning games.

“From that point of view, it gives us a little bit of preparation. We’ll go there and look to build on what we have been doing.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been together so it’ll be good for the manager just to re-assess and put his thoughts over again.

“We’ll play the two games, hopefully get a couple of good results, and build the momentum into the qualifiers in June.”

Before international duty, Gordon has plenty on his plate at Hearts, starting with Saturday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final against St Mirren.

Robbie Neilson has revealed that 11 players are out at the moment and he won’t be able to pick his team until late fitness tests have been completed. Gordon says it doesn’t matter who is selected,Hearts will be giving everything to reach the semi-finals at Hampden.

“We will see what happens with the injuries,” he said. “We are hopeful on a few and there is strength in those positions.

“There will be players that make it and there will be ones that have to step in. But we have a good spirit and no matter who comes in, everybody will be together and willing to win the game.

“That is something we have had and we proved it against Dundee United with everything that was going against us.

“We still managed to come back and get something from the game when it looked lost. Everything that could go against us was but we stuck at it and I’m sure, no matter who plays, we will have that same spirit that we can go and get a result from any game.

“I can’t remember anything like it. Just as well it was five subs because otherwise we could have been struggling. It was really strange to have that amount of injuries in the one game but we managed to get through and get something.

“Players had to play out of position a little bit, fill holes in the team that they probably wouldn’t have expected to going into the game, and we got something from a difficult place to go at the best of times.”