Celtic’s Craig Gordon says he’s ready to draw a line under his simmering row with new Rangers striker Jermain Defoe.
The Scotland keeper broke his arm in three places playing for Sunderland in November 2009 after the then Tottenham star slid into a late challenge. Gordon branded it ‘poor’ at the time and blanked Defoe’s attempts to get in touch.
Conceding time has been a healer, however, the Parkhead No1 claims he’ll have no issue with shaking the ex-England international’s hand after the next Old Firm game. ‘It’s a long time now and it should probably remain in the past and we can get on with it,’ said Gordon, 36.
‘I wasn’t happy at the time. I was annoyed. I did think he meant to kick me rather than the ball, which happens in tackles anyway. Sometimes you mean to give the player a little kick, that can happen, and I’m not suggesting he meant to break my arm. He’s not that type of player. He never would have meant to do that.
‘I just felt it was a bad challenge which didn’t need to be made. I’m not going to make a big thing about it. That’s done and in the past.
‘I’ve come back, I feel strong. It’s not something that will be in my mind.’
Asked if he’d ever discussed with Defoe what happened, Gordon admitted: ‘He did try to contact me afterwards but I declined the opportunity to speak to him. I was still too angry at that particular time. But that’s long finished now.
‘I played against him for Sunderland after it. He was just another player. It’s not something you can go into a game thinking about.
‘Lots of players get injured because of a tackle, you play against them and that’s just the way it is.
‘I’d shake his hand, no problem. I’m just going to get on with the game. There won’t be any problem between us.’
Asked if Defoe is likely to prove as prolific and effective with Rangers as he was when they faced each other in England, Gordon said: ‘Could be. Time will tell. He’s scored a lot of goals and that will make people sit up and take notice.
‘He’s coming to the end of his career now but, in terms of goalscoring, there haven’t been many better around the British game over recent years. He always seems to hit the target.
‘I can’t see that being any different. He’s always been a good finisher and will be someone to watch out for next time.
‘But we’ll focus more on ourselves, the signings we’ll make, and improving how we are.’