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  • Gordon: Celtic keepers will reap the benefits of tough pre-season

    Gordon: Celtic keepers will reap the benefits of tough pre-season

    By: Mark Henderson in Austria on 02 Jul, 2018 18:12

  • CELTIC’S shot-stoppers have been working just as hard as the rest of the Hoops first-team squad during the club’s pre-season training camp in Austria, according to Craig Gordon.

    Forget the notion that those between the sticks don’t face the same demands as the outfield players – there’s just a different focus.

    And under goalkeeping coach, Stevie Woods, Gordon and the other three keepers – Scott Bain, Conor Hazard and Ross Doohan – have been undergoing extremely rigorous sessions in the summer sunshine to ensure their readiness for the new campaign.

    Speaking exclusively to the official website, Gordon explained how pre-season for a goalie differs from their normal training regime.      

    “It’s more intense and a lot more work, and you’re on the training field more often and double sessions,” he said.

    “When the players are out, and if they’re working on specific things, we go away with Woodsy and work on specific aspects of our game which we need to work on. There’s a lot of time spent in that group. We’ve had some pretty tough sessions, but good ones, and ones that will get us fit and ready for the start of the season.

    “The outfield players cover the distance and put a lot of miles in their legs, so it’s heart and lungs fitness for them. For us, it’s all-over body exertion - you’re using your legs to jump, you’re getting down on the ground as quickly as you possibly can, you’re getting back up and using your arms, you’re getting the ball blasted off you. You’re using your whole body.  

    “It’s a complete workout, and it’s not just the running or the tactical side of things. It’s absolutely everything every single day. And it’s tough.

    “For anyone that’s watched any of the sessions, the amount of dives and get-ups we’ve done is in the hundreds. We’ve had so many repetitions, but that’s the only way to bed-in your technique and get your fitness. We do the work and it’s hard, and it’s totally different from what the rest of players do, but that’s valuable time on the training ground and preparation.”

    “We’ve had a good camp," continued the 35-year-old. "It’s the second time we’ve come here so we know where everything is and it’s good place to come and train, and we’re miles away from anywhere, so we can concentrate on our football.”

    In between training and the friendly fixtures in Austria, the Celtic squad have been paying close attention to the World Cup games, particularly with Dedryck Boyata and Mikael Lustig still involved in the competition for Belgium and Sweden, respectively.

    Last night saw the goalkeepers take centre stage as Croatia prevailed to the quarter-finals on penalties against Denmark after drawing one apiece.

    Denmark shot-stopper Kasper Schmeichel and his Croatian counterpart Danijel Subasic both saved three spot-kicks in the match but the former still ended up being on the losing side.

     “The goalkeepers last night obviously did very well, with three penalty saves each,” said Gordon. “It’s quite a feat to have six penalty saves in the one game. You have to feel sorry for Kasper after saving the penalty in extra-time with two or three minutes to go and saving two in the shootout.

    “That’s the life of a goalkeeper – you make saves but it’s still not enough! It was a good game to watch and there have been a few decent games so far and it’s been a good World Cup so far, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of the games and there have been some incredible goals as well.

    “I want to talk about the goalkeepers but there have been some excellent strikes and as a tournament, so far, it’s been the best I can remember in terms of entertainment.”

    “From a Celtic point of view, I would like to see Dedryck go all the way,” continued Celtic’s No.1 “They have a good enough team to do that.

    “Mika is obviously still in there and Sweden are such a difficult team to beat and Sweden don’t lose many goals and they’ll be a difficult task for anyone in the tournament. They fight so well for each other and I’d like to see them go as far as they can.

    “From what I’ve seen, I certainly think Belgium have the chance and it would be great for Dedryck to go far into the tournament.”

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