Hearts first-team coach Lee McCulloch believes veteran Jambos keeper Craig Gordon still has as many as four years left in his career as he lauded the Tynecastle number one as a “phenomenon”.

The 38-year-old shot-stopper has continued to defy the years with a string of impressive performances for Hearts since returning to Gorgie from Celtic and McCulloch is delighted to have the Scotland star as part of the squad in the capital.

Heart of Midlothian v Dundee - Scottish Championship

Could the 38-year-old keep playing beyond 40? (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

McCulloch, who played alongside Gordon for Scotland during his own playing days, praised the Tynecastle “father figure” as he claimed the keeper doesn’t always get the praise he deserves.

“He’s still at his peak,” McCulloch said [Daily Record].

“I think his full career, his levels have been through the roof.

“His consistency doesn’t get spoken about enough, he’s certainly got a few more years in him.

“He’ll speak his opinion and he’s a true leader in how he acts on and off the pitch.

“It’s just brilliant to have him in the dressing room. He’s the father figure.

“What a phenomenal career he’s had, but I think there’s still a good bit of success left in him.

“He’s a phenomenon, I think it can only be good for the club, but good for him too, he’s definitely got 2-3-4 years left in him.”

With Hearts and Hibs starting the season really well, McCulloch has targeted splitting -and then overcoming – the Old Firm this season – although he admits it will be a huge task for the players and staff at Tynecastle.

 

The Jambos coach insists Hearts need to be able to cope with that level of expectancy, and is confident they are heading in the right direction but warned there is no room for any complacency.

When asked if Hearts were aiming to split Rangers and Celtic, McCulloch confessed he wants to go even further as he threw the gauntlet down to the players, saying: “One hundred per cent that’s what this club is all about – trying to split the Old Firm and then can we go above and beyond that?

It’s high expectations but it’s a massive club and we need to cope with those expectations.

“As a staff and dressing room we have done that so far. It’s that message – can we get better together and week by week?

“Time will tell how quickly we can do that. It’s been a good start but that’s all it’s been.

“I have known since I started following football how successful a club Hearts are, how hard it is to go to Tynecastle and get a result.

“I think we have brought that back. Before we came in the club had won four league games the previous season so it speaks volumes for the management and change of mentality in that time.

“We are heading in the right direction but there’s no complacency.”

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