YOU don't often hear of a goalkeeper recording a hat-trick.

Especially not at the level Craig Gordon is thankfully back operating at.

But the Celtic and Scotland shot stopper is celebrating achieving just that, and hopes he will get the opportunity to add to it tomorrow.

Over the last two months, the 32-year-old has walked out on the Hampden pitch - a surface of vastly varying quality - on three occasions. Firstly he appeared in the League Cup semi-final against Rangers, then earlier this month in the final facing Dundee United, before topping it off on Wednesday for his country against the Northern Irish.

What does each game have in common? Not once did the talented shot stopper let one strike ruffle his net.

In truth, in all three matches Gordon only had one save to make between them, with that tame effort coming against United.

Regardless, Hampden has proven to be a happy home for the man who thought his time on such a stage may be over two years ago through injury.

And speaking to SportTimes, Gordon acknowledges the special run of form he has enjoyed at the National Stadium.

"Playing at Hampden has been good to me so far and hopefully it continues," said the man who played in the first half of Wednesday's 1-0 win. "Fingers crossed I'll have more games here before the end of the season.

"It's been a good place for me to go and play.

"There is something special about the place. It is a wee bit more difficult when it's not full and there are big open spaces when the fans are so far away. It doesn't tend to help when it is full.

"But I've got to praise the fans for sticking with the team the way that they did. We were going right to the end to make sure we got the win for them."

He added: "The last game here was lifting a trophy so it was a bit different from coming off at half-time, but I enjoy playing here.

"It's a great stadium to come and play in and the fans stuck with us even though it was 0-0 for a long period of time. Thankfully we managed to give their rewards."

It was a long wait for Gordon to grace Hampden once again in Scotland colours.

His last outing for the national side there came way back in March 2010. "It was the Czech Republic I think," he said. "It would have been Craig Levein's first game in charge, which was a while ago!"

It is therefore understandable that he wants to hold on to his place in the Gordon Strachan's team for as long as physically possible.

While David Marshall has been the man occupying the No.1 jersey the most during this campaign, the presence of the current Celtic keeper back in the international set-up has started to put a different complexion on matters.

Gordon was given the second half at Parkhead against England back in November before being selected to start earlier in the week.

He was later replaced by Allan McGregor with Marshall having to settle for a place on the bench.

It was a selection choice that has many supporters believing that the man with the Hampden hat-trick of clean sheets is the front runner to feature between the sticks when group whipping boys Gibraltar turn up tomorrow.

However, Gordon, quite understandably, is not prepared to make such a presumption.

"I really didn't know I was starting against Northern Ireland, and it will be the same for Sunday as well," he said.

"I'm delighted to have started tonight and done my job with a clean sheet. I didn't have a great deal to do but what I had to do I did fine."

There is a school of thought that a cardboard cut out of the former Hearts man would be enough to keep Gibraltar at bay tomorrow afternoon.

The minnows have been battered repeatedly during this Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and have not even scored a single goal during their four losses.

And while Scotland's outfield players will see plenty of the ball in a game that must be seen as a golden opportunity to not only build confidence but swell the nation's goal difference, it will surely be one of the quietest afternoon's for whoever is picked by Strachan to feature in goals.

That brings its own challenges, of course, as the man selected may have to leap into action suddenly on the back of large swathes of inactivity.

No matter who that man is, Gordon insists they will be prepared.

"It can be hard when you go that long without doing anything and that's a different kind of preparation we will do," he said.

"We'll speak about that particular department and it will be important that are starting positions are quite high and to cut out those long balls and clearances. We'll need to get the ball back into play quickly and keep the tempo up and play nice and quickly.

"It's a different style of play but it's one that we'll prepare for."