Celtic’s Craig Gordon has stated that he’s close to a return to full fitness, but still has a bit to do yet.
The Hoops’ now secondary shot-stopper put in a fine performance in his first official pre-season outing against Stade Rennais nearly two weeks ago. He made a couple of fine stops to keep the game level at Parkhead. He also featured in the embarrassingly one-sided 9-1 victory over St Gallen’s under-21s in Switzerland.
The last six months have been a tough time for Gordon at the club. It’s the first time during his spell that he’s been a consistent back-up to someone else. Scott Bain currently has the gloves, and with Gordon having picked up an injury towards the end of last season, it led to him barely having the chance to keep Bain on his toes.
Now, however, the former Hearts man is closing in on a return. And, speaking to the Celtic View (Volume 55, Issue 3, Page 18-21), Gordon confirmed where he’s at in his preparations for the new campaign.
“I always want to do more than what I can”
“It’s difficult working your way back from injury because, mentally, I always want to do more than what I can. I still wasn’t quite at the level everyone else was at coming into pre-season. I still had a little bit to catch up on. It was a case of getting myself back into things in the first few weeks.
“I still haven’t played a full 90 minutes. I’m still building towards that to really be up to speed and put pressure on to try and get back into the team.
“It was a good first opening game for me, and I’m ready to push on and get more – I played 60 minutes and felt good. I felt good when I was out there and I was able to kick well, so I was confident with how my knee felt. I need to try and get myself fit first and get 90 minutes under my belt.”
Celtic’s Craig Gordon will get his chance
One year ago, Bain would’ve been getting excited at the thought of the Betfred Cup starting. Mainly because it was the only game-time he was managing ahead of a fully-fit Gordon. But Brendan Rodgers then switched things around after the winter break, and Bain suddenly became the number one.
Gordon now finds himself in that same position Bain did. He’ll be itching for the Betfred Cup to start, as it looks like his best bet for some minutes on the pitch. Being a goalkeeper is always one of the hardest positions to overtake your rival in. There aren’t as many opportunities going, and even if you do impress, it takes a lot for managers to drop their number ones these days.
Lennon hasn’t even confirmed whether he’ll use Gordon as his “cup keeper”. Not all managers are in favour of tinkering around like that. But Gordon has to look for chances somewhere. And, if Celtic want to keep the experienced veteran reasonably happy, he needs time on the pitch.
Still a top goalkeeper
Gordon is still a terrific shot-stopper. He’s had a few glaring errors in recent years, and his distribution is questionable at times. But with Lennon looking to tame the pressure Celtic invite onto themselves at the back, that could help the former Sunderland man (Football Scotland).
Gordon’s shot-stopping was never an issue. He’s made some fantastic saves both at home and in Europe in the last few years. Poor decision-making with the ball at his feet has been his main enemy, however.
It remains to be seen when Lennon decides to give him his chance. But at the very least, it won’t be long until he’s available to get out there and perform for Celtic once again.