CRAIG GORDON admitted he had two very good reasons for welcoming Kolo Toure to Celtic.

The international shotstopper is delighted the 35-year-old Ivory Coast international will bring experience to the middle of the defence.

And Gordon revealed he is just as happy to lose his tag as the elder statesman in the Hoops team!

The thirty-three-year-old goalie said: “I’ve lost count of the amount of partnerships who have played in front of me over the last year and a bit.

“Obviously, there have been a lot of changes and it’s something we have to deal with and work on.

“Including the pre-season friendlies, we’ve played something like 11 games already and I think we have been looking better defensively.

“Certainly, we didn’t give up too many opportunities to Astana in midweek.

“Kolo was only on the park a few seconds as a sub for Stuart Armstrong when we lost the goal.

“However, he immediately proved he’s a good talker, good motivator and is the type of player who is always looking to get the best out of those around him.

“I’ve no doubt he will be good for the dressing room and moral around the place with the quality he brings on the pitch as a very experienced defender.

“Actually, he’s more experienced than me, which is nice. Kolo’s older than me, so I’ve lost my tag as the oldest man in the squad.

“That’s quite nice. Yeah, I’m happy about that!

“Seriously, though, he’s been great since signing and once he settles down, gets a few more games, then I’m sure we will see his qualities coming through.”

Toure became Brendan Rodgers’ second signing for the club when he agreed a one-year deal with his former Liverpool boss.

Gordon refused to accept any blame for Astana’s equalising goal in the tense Champions League qualifier that made it 2-2 on aggregate.

He said: “That goal isn’t anything that is going to worry me and I believe I made the right call.

“It was a through ball and it was one I had to come for. I’ve watched it again with goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods and the decision to come out and head clear was the right one.

“Their striker was straight through on goal if I hadn’t done it. I had to clear the first danger, that was my immediate priority and I managed to do that.

“Unfortunately, the rebound went straight to their guy who performed a miraculous finish to score from that range.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to hold up your hands and say it’s a great finish.

“There wasn’t a great deal I could do about it and I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

“I made the right call and it was just one of those freak goals.

“If that identical situation arose again, I would have to say I would do the same thing.”

Gordon also revealed he couldn’t bear to watch Leigh Griffiths or Moussa Dembele take their crucial penalty-kicks against the Kazakhstan champions.

He said: “I turned my back on them and that’s the first time I have ever done that. We missed a few last season – not that it’s got anything to do with me – but I thought if I didn’t watch them, they might go in. 

“I reacted as soon as the crowd cheered on both occasions.”

The veteran keeper, who started his career at Hearts in 2000 before moving to Sunderland in a £9million deal seven years later, is looking forward to returning to Tynecastle for the first Premiership game of the campaign this afternoon.

He added: “It’s time to focus on the league opener against Hearts and it’s always nice to go back there.

“Everyone likes to play there, the players and fans love the atmosphere, regardless of who you play for or who you support.

“It’s a great ground to play football and it’s always packed for a Hearts v Celtic game.

“And, being the first league game of the season will add to that, as well.

“The players are expecting a really good game and we knew it will be tough.

“We’re looking forward to going to Tynecastle at the start of the defence of our title and, hopefully, we’ll do well.”

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