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  • Craig Gordon's defence of the Celtic defence

    Craig Gordon's defence of the Celtic defence

    By: Martin Dalziel in Astana on 26 Jul, 2016 15:57

  • CRAIG Gordon is anticipating a testing night in tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) UEFA Champions League qualifier against FC Astana but the Celtic goalkeeper believes the Bhoys' backline will be up to the task.

    The Scottish champions have been forced into a string of changes at the back in recent weeks due to injuries to key players but Gordon said those players drafted in, like Eoghan O’Connell, have maintained the level of quality in the defence.

    “We’ve defended fairly well, regardless of who has come in,” said the Celtic keeper, speaking at the Astana Arena in Kazakhstan. “We’ve changed systems and personnel in the back three or back four, depending on which game we’ve been playing, and everybody who has come in has done well.

    “I don’t see it being a problem. We still have the same defenders we had at the club at the end of last season so I don’t see any problem with whoever is picked to start. They’ll be up to the task.”

    Celtic’s opponents boast an impressive recent European record following their participation in the Champions League group stages last season, which saw them hold eventual finalists Atletico Madrid to a 0-0 draw at the Astana Arena.

    Stanimir Stoilov’s side also won through to the third round of qualifiers this season with a 2-1 home victory over Flora Tallinn of Estonia in the previous round, but Gordon said Celtic will go into the game with the same approach they do in any match – to score goals and win.

    “I think it will be very difficult,” he added. “This team qualified for the Champions League last season and we’ve looked at video footage of them.

    “They have players who are very good and can cause us problems on the counter-attack and they have some good qualities that we’ll have to watch out for. They are definitely going to cause problems and we’ll have to defend well and try to pass the ball and try to keep it.

    “We’re certainly looking to try and score. You never know. We didn’t need to score in Gibraltar but it just depends. It’s a two-legged game and we’re looking to score in every game so that makes no difference. We’ll approach the game looking to try to win the game, to try to score goals and we will take it from there.”

    CELTIC'S European football adventure continues as they Bhoys take on TV Astana in Kazakstan this Wednesday (July, 27) in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie, and fans outwith the UK, Ireland, and Kazakhstan can see every kick of the ball LIVE on Celtic TV

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