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‘THANK YOU, BHOYS,’ GORDON

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CRAIG GORDON kept his third clean sheet from four Champions League qualifiers in the goalless draw against Rosenborg in Trondheim last night.

The Celtic keeper has been beaten only once in six hours of European action – Birgir Meling’s shock opener in last week’s 3-1 comeback win at Parkhead.

After denying the Norwegians in the second leg, the Scotland international No.1 thanked his new-look back four.

World Cup stars Mikael Lustig and Dedryck Boyata weren’t ready to start while Jozo Simunovic was banned.

Cristian Gamboa, who rarely figured last season, played at right-back with mainstay Kieran Tierney on the opposite flank and youngsters Jack Hendry and Kristoffer Ajer in the middle.

Gordon said: “Defensively, we were assured and I thought the two young centre-halves in front of me were brilliant — they headed everything.

“Rosenborg put plenty of balls into the box and both Jack and Kristoffer stood up to it. It was a good clean sheet.

“Jack was good, won his headers and he was against difficult opponents. It was about hanging on and the two centre-halves were great. They haven’t played that many games together, but they were superb.

“The first 45 minutes were challenging for the boys at the back.

“I wasn’t called on too often, just a few times, and we stood up to the test. We’re happy with that.

“We didn’t keep the ball that well and that put us under a bit more pressure defensively. But I thought the backline dealt with it really well.

“We changed it a little bit for the second-half to allow the midfielders to get the ball a bit better.

“I think for large chunks of that period it was more under control for us.

“The last 15 minutes was about seeing the game out. It wasn’t our best European performance, but, in terms of getting the job done, being defensively sound, it was well done.”

Gordon also praised comeback man Gamboa, particularly for an outstanding last-ditch tackle on Pal Andre Helland.

He said: “Cristian is so quick. If there’s one man you want to be back there to make that challenge then it’s him.

“He’s got so much pace and he’s tenacious. It was a great piece of defending.”

 
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