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Hearts manager Steven Naismith has backed Craig Gordon to return to the Scotland squad in time for next summer’s European Championships.

The veteran goalkeeper has spent nearly a year out injured after suffering a double leg-break at Tannadice on Boxing Day last year.

However, the Hearts boss confirmed today that the Scottish international is back in full training and even tipped him to be involved in Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for EURO 2024.

He said: “I think so, yeah, I would say so. Now he’s at the stage of getting minutes, we just need to get games for him to get minutes in and then that gives him a good opportunity.

“You’ve got Zander (Clark), you’ve done Shanks (Lawrence Shankland), so we’ve got a few that have been in and around it who will want to do what they can to be in that squad.

“Craig (Gordon) obviously got some minutes in a game which we played which is the first next step for him, which is brilliant.

“So, he’s now in that next zone where he needs to get some minutes to just sharpen up that last bit. But in terms of injury and training, he’s now consistently training.”

The Hearts club captain has been capped 74 times by the national team and played 88 times for Sunderland in the English Premier League before moving back to Scotland to win five Scottish Premiership titles in a row with Celtic.

It’s no surprise that manager Steven Naismith believes his experience can be invaluable for others at the club.

He added: “He’s one of the more experienced in the group and has had an unbelievable career. Being on the pitch is good because the boys that have come in that haven’t trained with him yet get to see his qualities and where he’s been.

“So that inevitably brings respect from they guys. It’s good for him, good for us. I think this international break and the way it turned out for Scotland, for everybody that’s in and around the squad or on the fringes of the national team, there’s your target: go and play well from now until the end of the season to give yourself a chance of getting in the Euro squad.”

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