NEIL LENNON has issued a challenge to goalkeepers Scott Bain and Craig Gordon ahead of the new campaign.
The Scotland internationals fought it out for the No.1 position at Celtic last season.
Gordon kicked off the campaign as the man entrusted with the gloves, but Bain came in after the turn of the year and remained in place with a string of impressive and consistent performances.
The veteran former Hearts and Sunderland showstopper, who made a remarkable comeback after career-threatening injuries to revive his fortunes at Parkhead in the summer of 2014, was again sidelined in the run-in to an unprecedented term of success for the club with the treble treble secured.
Gordon is still battling back to peak fitness, but will be delighted the manager has thrown down the gauntlet to the glove rivals.
Lennon, speaking to the Scottish Sun, said: “It’s up for grabs – a clean slate, a new season. They’ll both be challenging for the shirt.
“That’s the way I want it. They have to be competitive. Craig was out for a concerted period of time and we have to keep an eye on it with his injury record, but he’ll let us know.
“Craig is doing modified training, he’s not back into full training, but, hopefully, in Austria he will get the green light. He was unlucky to lose the jersey in the first place.
“And I think Scott’s been unlucky as well, getting left out of the Scotland team. That’s Steve Clarke’s prerogative, his choice, but Scott had played for Scotland and importantly played really well for me at the back end of the season.
“So, I think the two of them may have a few points to prove going forward, which is great. That’s what you want as a manager.
“I’ve not seen Craig since I came back – he’s had a course of injections in the knee over three or four weeks and it took a long time to settle, but he’s doing bits and pieces now on the training ground and hopefully he’ll be full-time next week.”
Gordon, of course, was written off by many, but he came back determinedly, won 10 medals, assisted in three trebles, became an Invincible, got his Scotland place back and won Footballer of the Year.
The 36-year-old warrior is out to prove he can still contribute in another vital season for the champions.