NEIL LENNON has hailed the comeback of Celtic keeper Craig Gordon as “a remarkable story”.
And the former Hoops boss revealed he missed out by only a week in witnessing the start of the shotstopper’s return to glory.
Lennon watched Gordon keep the clean sheet that proved so crucial in the draw against Qarabag in Baku and said: “It just shows you the value of having a top-class goalkeeper, particularly away from home in Europe.
“It’s important that they make big saves at big moments and already Craig, in his 12 or 13 months in the team, has proved that.
“He came in at Celtic and trained under the tutelage of goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods. It was round about a week before I left.
“Craig did a bit of training behind closed doors and Stevie felt he was good enough to go.
“But I don’t think anyone, maybe not even Craig, could have envisaged how well it has gone for him.
“It’s a remarkable story when you consider he had been out of top-flight football for two years.
“To come back and play so well at this level is testament to his character and talent.”
Lenny, now boss at Championship outfit Bolton, also singled out Honduran left-back Emilio Izaguirre for some special praise.
He said: “The defence had a good night in Baku and the two central defenders, Dedryck Boyata and Virgil van Dijk, did well to make sure Craig Gordon was well protected.
“The two full-backs, Mikael Lustig and Emilio Izaguirre, also played very well. Izaguirre was very strong defensively and he was always a big-game player for me.
“In his first season he was outstanding, but he got a bad leg break at the start of the second one.
“Towards the end of my time at the club, he was beginning to show his best form again.
“I think when he really concentrates and puts his mind to it, he’s a very good full-back, offensively and defensively.”