CRAIG GORDON has revealed for the first time how he feared Hearts would go to the wall despite him handing his first club a six figure gift when he left them.

The Celtic goalkeeper, who today will face the team he supported for the first time on league duty, donated his signing-on fee to the Tynecastle club's youth set-up when he completed a £9million move to Sunderland in 2007.

But there was a period two years ago when Gordon began to consider the real possibility of Hearts going into liquidation, until Ann Budge came to the rescue.

The 32-year-old Scotland international has established himself as a real favourite at Celtic Park but has never hidden his affection for the club where it all began for him and he felt the worst was going to happen when the Vladamir Romanov era inevitably collapsed.

"I thought it was a possibility (Hearts would go out of business)", said Gordon. "I think it would’ve come back somehow, whatever way, whatever route it had to go down to do that.

“Obviously, the pleasing part is to keep the club as it was, although it had an administration to emerge from. For it still to be the same club with the same history is massive for the fans. They really wanted that to happen — and also for it to come out of it all really strong.

“That is a great credit to everybody, all the fans, everybody who stuck with it. Now they are packing the stadium every other week. They have done very well to come back.”

Gordon was quick to praise Budge, the owner and saviour of Hearts, and revealed he had done his bit when he left eight years ago. Even if he conceded the money he gave back was "long gone."

“Anne Budge came in and she was the catalyst all of this happening," said Gordon. "She has done an unbelievable job, setting things up the way that she has. There wasn’t a way forward and it looked as if it wasn’t going to be worthwhile and until that happened there were some pretty dark days.

“We didn’t really know where the club was going to go but thankfully it seems to be no the right path now. The club is very stable and there is a huge difference on the park as well.

"When I left Hearts, I didn’t take anything with me from the transfer fee or any signing on fees. I left that with the club. Maybe it would have been better if I had taken it with me so I could put it back in now.

“I waived what I could have taken. I thought that was the thing to do. The club did well by me. They gave me my chance to come through and showed a great deal of faith in me. They put me on a good contract before I left, which was not long after it.

“I certainly didn’t feel the need to take any more than was necessary. I did say that I would rather leave it to the youth development which had helped me. To put it towards perhaps a few more players coming through.”