Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish Celtic

Barcelona can inspire Celtic to glory: Craig Gordon

By Ronnie Esplin

Craig Gordon wants Celtic to be relentless on the domestic scene after exiting Europe against Barcelona on Wednesday night.

The Hoops' 2-0 home defeat to the Catalans in the Champions League ensured they would finish bottom of Group C without even the prospect of the Europa League to look forward to after Christmas.

The Parkhead side, however, remain unbeaten in Scotland with 34 out of 36 points in the Ladbrokes Premiership and now turn their attention to the Betfred Cup final against Aberdeen at Hampden Park on Sunday.

Gordon wants Celtic to return to their domestic dominance to pick up the first trophy of the season. But he insists it will not be easy against the Dons, who are second in the table even though they have lost 4-1 and 1-0 to the champions in two previous meetings this season.

"We have done very well to put ourselves in this position," said the Celtic goalkeeper.

"We want to be relentless and keep going and win as many matches between now and the end of the season as we can.

"We have worked very hard in the first part of the season to get to a cup final, to play some very difficult games in Europe and we want to win this one.

"It is going to be tough, with the qualities Aberdeen possess.

"We have played them twice this season and we know what we are up against and we know we are in for a very tough game.

"We have come out on top but they have been very close games.

"Even at Celtic Park, the scoreline was probably a little flattering towards us so we know it is going to be very tough.

"They have good qualities and we have to be at our very best to make sure we are containing that but also to go ahead and try to dominate the game and win the match."

A Lionel Messi double - the second coming from the spot - helped Barcelona to a comfortable win in Glasgow.

However, Gordon caught the eye in the first half with a remarkable save from Luis Suarez's close range header, which pleased the Scotland number one no end.

"Hopefully that will be in the highlights reel come the end of my career," Gordon said. "When you do it against a superstar like Suarez, it is always going to get talked about more.

"It is something that we worked on during the week.

"The speed across goal is how Barcelona get a lot of their goals and my goalkeeping coach had me well prepared for that type of thing to happen and we were doing similar exercises to that for a few days leading up to it."

He added: "We are all aware of how good the nights at Celtic Park have been and we will be desperate to try and give them that again next season."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph