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Gordon targeting Euro trips

By Gavin McCafferty

Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon is targeting playing at the highest level of European football after returning to the peak of his own powers.

The 32-year-old was this week rewarded for his stunning comeback with a new three-year contract.

The former Hearts and Sunderland player's career looked to be over after a knee injury restricted him to one game in more than three years.

But he defied the numerous sceptics by winning the Scottish Football Writers' player of the year award after returning to football with Celtic last season.

However, this season could surpass that glory as he looks to compete in the Champions League and European Championship for the first time, with his club and country embroiled in qualifying campaigns.

The Scotland international said: "It's something to strive for. But that's up to myself and my performances and also the team, Celtic and the national team, to try to make those things a reality.

"There's a lot of football to be played, but certainly those are things I would like to do. We will give it our best shot and hopefully I can put those things on my CV."

Gordon added: "Perhaps the easiest part of it was to come out and try to prove people wrong. Now I have got to a level I'm very happy with, I want to continue to improve.

"That's part of the motivation for getting out there every week and trying to improve and play at the highest level I possibly can.

"The European Championship and the Champions League would be a fantastic thing to experience."

Celtic kick off their Ladbrokes Premiership defence at home to Ross County today but their focus will then switch to Azerbaijan for the second leg of their Champions League third qualifying-round tie next Wednesday.

Gordon kept a crucial clean sheet against Qarabag this week with Dedryck Boyata's late winner giving them every chance of making the play-offs.

"We kept a clean sheet, which was important," Gordon said. "We will be looking to score an away goal, which could be important.

"Going over there is going to be very difficult. It's a slender advantage so we have to look to score."

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