CELTIC keeper Craig Gordon has refused to accept the blame for Happoel Be’er Sheva’s second goal in the nerve-shredding Champions League play-off in Israel last night.
The strike set up a difficult second-half with the home outfit looking for the third goal that would have taken them through to the £22million group stages.
Gordon looked at fault as he failed to hold onto a simple angled right-wing cross into his penalty box. But the international shotstopper claimed he didn’t see Saidy Janko coming charging in out of his view.
The right-back, who endured a torrid 90 minutes, clattered into Gordon and the ball was spilled towards Ovidiu Hoban who couldn’t miss from practically under the crossbar.
However, the 33-year-old keeper defended his role in the goal and said: “I didn’t even see Saidy coming.
“I shouted to Kolo Toure to let it run and Saidy came in on my blindside and crashed into me. These things happen, but we managed to see the game out.
“I think I did all right, I don’t think there was a lot I could do about the second goal, to be honest with you. I thought I handled everything the came in the box and that’s all I can do.”
Relieved skipper Scott Brown praised his “outstanding” team-mate following Gordon’s early penalty-kick save from Maharan Radi. The midfielder believed the No.1 played a key role in ensuring Brendan Rodgers’ men gained a 5-4 aggregate victory.
He said: “We made it tough for ourselves, but the Big Man saved our day once again, an outstanding performance from start to finish and a penalty save, as well. That’s the way he has been playing recently.
“We managed to dig deep and it was a gutsy performance. It’s been a couple of years since we have been in the Champions League but we deserve our place.”
Brendan Rodgers will have seen the problems created from right back last night and will know that should Celtic go into the Champions League without strengthening that position then teams will ruthlessly target his side down that flank. This is exactly what happened to Efe Ambrose and the player has struggled to regain his form since Juventus noticed that he was vulnerable.
A new right back must be a priority surely.