CELTIC shot-stopper Craig Gordon doesn’t know for sure whether he’ll get the nod from Brendan Rodgers to face Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday evening at Celtic Park.
Both round one matches went the way of the home sides so Celtic realise the importance of picking up three points against the mega bucks Premier League leaders, and achieving a clean sheet is going to be a high priority for the Scottish champions.
Speaking to Celtic TV today the former Hearts and Sunderland goalkeeper talked about the competition for places at the club under the new manager and also the injury sustained by Dorus de Vries in the first half at the weekend which resulted in a substitution during the interval with the popular Scottish internationalist taking over between the sticks.
Asked if he expected to start against City, Gordon was non committal. ‘We’ll see over the next few days. It was a chest injury (Dorus de Vries) picked up so the physios will be looking at that.
‘It would be good to get a run in the team but there’s a lot of competition. We have now got four first-team goalkeepers that are all of a really good standard so it’s going to be tough but it’s a good challenge and one I’m definitely up for.”
After using his place to the 35 year old Dutchman who signed from Notting Forest in the summer, Gordon has worked hard in training to impress the former Swansea and Liverpool boss.
‘I have been training very hard over the last few weeks to try to make sure I’m in the manager’s plans and try and get a run in the team, and I’ll continue to do that.
‘I spoke to him once when he told me he was going to put Dorus in the team. I have not spoken to him since then but I have just gone away and tried to work and also do my homework on what he likes his goalkeepers to do.
‘I’m trying to improve my game so when I go back in the team that I can maybe adapt more to what he’s looking for.
‘I’m still learning. I want to do as well as I can at the things he is looking for me to do and if I can do that and keep the standard of my play up, then I give myself a chance of getting a run in the team.’
Rodgers had some words of advice for Gordon after his rather passive 45 minutes at the weekend. Certainly he couldn’t do much to make himself any busier as an on form Celtic ran riot at the other end of the field, scoring 4 second half goals and it could have been many more.
The papers only seem to talk about Man City being on a decent run of form.
‘He spoke to me at the end of the game on the pitch,’ Gordon revealed.
‘He’s looking for me to demand the defenders drop deeper to get on the ball. He wasn’t happy with some of their positioning when I had the ball. It’s little things like that that are going to help make sure we are all on the same page.’
The one thing that is certain is that the vast majority of Celtic fans would prefer to see Gordon in goals on Wednesday rather than Dorus de Vries with one online poll on the subject gave Gordon 93% of the votes cast.
Meanwhile That Season in Paradise, Ten Months of Celtic Heaven tells the story of Celtic’ season 50 years ago when the club was successful in every competition they played in. The players lost out in a cricket match in East Kilbride – despite the best efforts of Jim Craig!
This book is a joy to read and it builds into a wonderful climax as Celtic are crowned Champions of Europe.
Now that’s a claim that Manchester City, with all their hundreds of millions, can only dream of.
Order your copy at www.cqnbookstore.com now.