If anyone out there is still betting against Craig Gordon, they are a brave soul. The Hearts and (still) Scotland goalkeeper has beaten the odds after being written off so many times that his return to the international set-up after a horrific leg break - and at 41 years of age - should come as little surprise to anyone.

He’s come back from worse, after all. But the really astounding thing is that even now, as he has emerged gingerly back into action for his club side in cup competitions, he seems to have maintained the ability and the standard of goalkeeping that has been the hallmark of an illustrious career, despite its many setbacks.

Gordon is back in the old routine once more, reporting for training with his country as part of a four-man goalkeeping ensemble – specially expanded by Scotland head coach Steve Clarke for the friendlies against The Netherlands and Northern Ireland to accommodate him.

Where previously it was David Marshall and Allan McGregor that Gordon would have been vying with for the gloves, now it is Norwich City’s Angus Gunn who is the man in possession. Along for the ride too are Motherwell’s Liam Kelly and Hearts teammate Zander Clark, who it could be argued, somewhat curiously, is above him in the Tynecastle pecking order but behind him in the reckoning for his country.

READ MORE: Steve Clarke explains Craig Gordon's Scotland recall

If Gordon was playing regular first team football at club level, there would be no question of his inclusion in Clarke’s final squad for the European Championships. The experience he has gained over 74 caps for Scotland, though, would surely make him a more than useful player to have around in Germany in any case.

He certainly retains the hunger to prove that he still belongs at such a level, and he intends to do just that over these days he has to work under Clarke’s gaze. His last cap came in November 2022, but if he was handed the gloves against the Dutch in Amsterdam on Friday evening, who would bet against him producing a display that belied the fact he had ever been away?

“There is more to go,” Gordon told the Scottish FA’s in-house media team.

“There is always the next one.

“I am always very happy to get back to this level and I want to continue that and get back playing.

“I would love to be out there playing for the national team and that will drive me on to try and achieve that and to gain as many caps as I possibly can.

There are still a lot of driving factors in there to make sure I do everything I can to keep playing to the best of my ability.

“It is a brilliant squad to be part of. I have thoroughly enjoyed it throughout my career.

“This team, at the moment, is a really special one to be part of. It was always something I was striving to get back for, especially with how well the team was doing and the build-up to these Euros. “It’s great to be back and hopefully I can stay here for a while yet. We all want to be part of it and to travel to Germany.

“It will be a huge occasion for everybody and the nation. As goalkeepers on anybody else in this squad we are all desperate to be on that plane to be part of it and to be successful.”

Despite his many, many years of national service, another cruel twist of fate in Gordon’s career is that when the major tournaments have eventually rolled around, he has lost his place as Scotland’s number one due to factors outside his control.

Marshall seized his opening prior to Euro 2020, making crucial saves in the play-off penalty shootouts against Israel and Serbia to ensure he would be first choice going into the championships, and this time, it is Gunn who has excelled since coming into the fold in March last year.

But the first step for Gordon is simply making sure he is on that plane to Germany, after admitting that the last Euros turned out to be as much of a damp squib for him as it ultimately did for the rest of the nation.

“This will be even better,” he said.

“That was off the back of Covid and things weren’t quite as normal as they are now. It was a strange sort of tournament. There weren’t many fans in the stadium, and this will be absolutely bouncing.

“The fans will have a great experience. It is a football country that has a great history and teams. It is going to be massive to be part of.

“I hope I can be part of it and the fans can enjoy it and we can give them something to shout about.”

In the here and now, Gordon is hoping he will indeed get the opportunity to really stake his claim during Scotland’s matches over the next few days, and his belief in both himself and his teammates is steadfast.

“It will be a difficult first game up, away from home, against another team that have qualified,” he said.

READ MORE: Steve Clarke defends Scotland squad loyalty

“We have done well away from home and the team always sets up really well. We are a difficult team to beat.

“I expect us to go there and work on that side of our game. We always believe we can get results against anyone.

“It will be a good test for us and to come back to Hampden in a game where we will be looking to attack a little bit more and to try and get some goals and entertain the fans.

“It is a good balance between the two games for everybody and we will all be hoping to get on the park.”