“You’re kidding! Is that right?!”

Colin Cameron is in disbelief. The Heart of Midlothian great, now assistant manager at Raith Rovers, has just been informed that he and Lawrence Shankland have played the same number of games (two) alongside Craig Gordon for Scotland.

It’s one of those little bits of time-related trivia that doesn’t sound right when you first hear it; like discovering that here in the present day we are closer to the birth of Cleopatra than Cleopatra was to the construction of the pyramids. Surely someone forgot to carry a digit at some point?

Alas, the maths checks out. It’s a remarkable little fact that neatly illustrates what makes Gordon truly special: his longevity. For 20 years now, the goalkeeper has been representing Scotland on the international stage. His appearance off the bench in Friday’s 2-2 draw with Finland made him the oldest player to ever represent his country, but the night would end in disappointment for Gordon.

After the game, Steve Clarke confirmed that Gordon wouldn’t be going to Germany after all. Despite the 41-year-old’s recovery from that horrific leg break at Tannadice a year and a half ago, Gordon missed the cut for the Euros. The Hearts legend posted a moving message on Instagram the following day where he outlined his four primary goals in his recovery, noting his pride that he had achieved the lot.

READ MORE: Hearts legend Craig Gordon and the remarkable record-breaking Scotland stat

Gordon will understandably be disappointed at missing out on a place in the Scotland squad, but he can perhaps take some comfort from the fact that he is not alone. Cameron – who first met Gordon before the keeper even made his first-team breakthrough at Hearts, and never played alongside him at club level – would have liked to have seen the veteran shot-stopper on the plane.

“He is a testament to himself,” Cameron told Hearts Standard. “His professionalism is there for everybody to see. It didn’t surprise me that he came back from his recent injury because of the type of character he is.

“I remember when he was a wee skinny boy back at Hearts. We were all watching and truth be told, at that point if you’d asked everyone if Craig was going to go on to have the career he had, they would have laughed.

“He played a couple of games for the reserves right at the end of the season and then we went away for the close season. We came back and it was like someone had put him on a stretcher. He had literally grown six inches and he had suddenly filled into himself.

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“I never had the pleasure of playing with him at Hearts because I then left to join Wolves, so I never really got to see him break into the first team. I always kept an eye on how the club was doing and how well he has done. If you’d seen him back then you never would have guessed he would achieve what he has achieved. I’ve got nothing for admiration for everything he’s done.

“It’s a wee bit disappointing that he’s not been able to go to the Euros. I thought he deserved the opportunity to go, especially with the experience he has got. But you can’t complain too much because of how well Steve Clarke has done in the job. It’s just one of these things and you have to move on unfortunately.”

Cameron himself enjoyed a lengthy playing career – the midfielder didn’t hang up his boots for good until the grand old age of 42 – and so there are few better placed to assess Gordon’s longevity. The box-to-box midfielder is big enough to admit that Gordon might well be playing even longer than he did, and is magnanimous enough to point out that Gordon is playing at a much higher level during the twilight of his career. But, Cameron insists, there is another big difference too.

READ MORE: Craig Gordon shares emotional message after reaching 75 Scotland caps

“Aye, he trumps me there because he’s still playing at international level,” Cameron conceded. “But the one thing I will say is that he’s a goalie – they don’t do any bloody running about! I mean, what age was Dino Zoff when he finished? He must have been about 50!

“But aye, all credit to him. If you look after your body and do the right things then anything’s possible. I go back to Andy Harrow at Raith Rovers. He was at Kelty when I went on loan there and he said to me, ‘play as long as you can because once you stop, you can’t get it back’. So I listened to him. I had just turned 42 when I called it a day. Craig will still be playing until he’s 43 or 44, I think!”