FORMER Scotland goalkeeper Neil Sullivan has backed Celtic keeper Craig Gordon to be Alex McLeish’s number one ahead of returning Rangers stopper Allan McGregor.

Sullivan knows all about battling it out with quality keepers for the Scotland gloves, having been third choice behind Jim Leighton and Andy Goram at the start of his international career, and he is a huge fan of all of the keepers currently vying for the position. But he believes that Gordon has the edge.

“Scotland right now have a good choice of quality goalkeepers,” Sullivan said. “I think it’s the best position the country’s been in for a while regards that position.

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“Craig Gordon’s doing great, but it’s also important that there’s a couple of youngsters coming through. That helps push everyone on. It raises the standards.

“To have that strength in depth with the goalkeepers is a great for Scotland. The good thing is the decision for who is number one is a very difficult one. I think it’s close.

“I think Craig will play, he’s probably shading it at the minute.”

Sullivan was in Scotland for a reunion with the national squad from the 1998 World Cup in France, exactly 20 years on from the opening match of the tournament against Brazil.

Even though he was watching from the bench that day, time has done little to ease the pain of the narrow, and cruel, defeat.

“It’s been great to catch up with the boys from France ‘98,” Sullivan said.

“The way the Brazil game went it was a shame. We had a game plan and we felt we could’ve got something. Our spirit and attitude going into it was excellent. We couldn’t wait to get out there.

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“It was a massive game, there was a lot of press and attention.

“But in the camp, we weren’t fearful. We just wanted to get out there and that showed in our performance. When you’re watching it again you’re thinking what might’ve been.

“It was frustrating how we lost, we didn’t deserve that.”

The most memorable moment on the pitch in France for Sullivan was prior to the Brazil game, when the squad surprised the nation and the watching world by strolling out of the tunnel in full highland dress.

“I enjoyed wearing [the kilt],” he said. “There were one or two friends asking me ‘what’s going on Neil?’

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“But my father in law’s from Scotland and he saw me wearing it before we travelled. It was great and he was very proud, as I was wearing it.

“I thought we looked the part. The fans didn’t realise we were doing it until we walked out on the pitch ahead of the Brazil game and it was a nice surprise for them. To be fair to the gaffer, it was a great idea.

“I’ve still got the kilt, although I’m not sure I’d be able to get into it now.”