Sunderland No1 Gordon determined to keep Scotland cleansheet

Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon is determined to keep a clean sheet for Scotland in tomorrow's big Euro2008 qualifier against Italy.

"They issued a set of Premier League stickers for kids this season," said Gordon, with undisguised self-deprecation, "and they managed to spell my name Gordan, with an 'a' instead of an 'o'. So, in terms of celebrity, I've a bit to go yet.

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"But that doesn't matter. I'm always more concerned with keeping a clean sheet, which is the aim every time you pull on the gloves. To do it against Italy, of course, would be very, very meaningful, but it's what we need, one last great effort.

"It's undoubtedly the biggest game of my life and I don't think you'll find a player in the squad who will say otherwise. For me, not to concede a goal would also be my greatest achievement. I think the fact that we're at home gives us a serious chance of winning the match.

"There is no doubt that the backing we get at Hampden is of enormous help. What the supporters do is act as a reminder of why you're there, of what it means to everybody in the country. In that respect, the match against Ukraine was the best I've ever experienced.

"The entire stadium was behind us from start to finish and I'm certain it will be no different against Italy. If anything, it will be even more intense. I think everybody realises, as the players do, that to make it out of our group, to get to the European championship ahead of one of the world's greatest footballing countries, would be quite remarkable.

"For us, it's the fulfillment of the dream. It's what you want to do in the game, it's where you want to be. And you see how it affects the rest of the country when Scotland make it to a major championship."

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