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‘HARD WORK AHEAD,’ GORDON

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CRAIG GORDON is confident Celtic can finish their Champions League qualifying campaign against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in Isreal on Tuesday.

The international keeper, though, warned there is still some hard work ahead before the Hoops gatecrash the £20million-plus group stages.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are on course to qualify for the first time in three years following a dramatic 5-2 win in the first game at Parkhead in midweek.

Gordon said: “It’s a good result. If we’d been asked beforehand, we would have taken that, so we’ll go over there with a good lead. It’s not finished yet, but we’ve certainly put ourselves in a good position.

“They’ve shown their qualities as well and scored two goals away from home, so we have to respect that they’ll be good on their own patch. We have to go over there and do a good defensive job.

“In the first leg, we kept creating chances and, of course, we have great forward players always capable of scoring goals.”

The champions have beaten Gibraltar semi-professionals Lincoln Red Imps and Astana, of Kazakhstan, and Gordon praised the methods of new boss Brendan Rodgers with the stage among the elite a mere 90 minutes away.

He said: “The manager has come in and done very well. He’s got everybody believing in one another and every time we’ve been asked a question, we’ve come up with an answer.”

The 33-year-old shotstopper will now be challenged for the No.1 spot by Dutchman Dorus de Vries, who is two years his senior. The former Dunfermline goalie arrived from Nottingham Forest at the weekend foloowing a £400,000 deal.

Gordon added: “Every club needs three top-quality goalkeepers when you go and try to get into the Champions League, so we’ll see what happens.”

Italian rookie Leo Fasan was on the subs’ bench on Wednesday while De Vries was sidelined with an ankle injury. Coincidentally, Belgian back-up Logan Bailly is also out for the next few weeks after sustaining a similar injury during pre-season in Slovenia.

 
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