NEYMAR Celtic have got next superstar
PSG megastar says Parkhead is perfect place for new Bhoy
THE most expensive player on the planet last night tipped Celtic new boy Timothy Weah to become one of the greatest strikers in the European game.
Paris Saint-Germain megastar Neymar gave Weah the ringing personal endorsement following the 18-year-old’s move from the French giants to BY KEITH JACKSON AND CRAIG SWAN Glasgow on a six-month loan deal.
Brazil’s pin-up boy – who shattered the record books when he joined PSG from Barcelona in a £200m deal 18 months ago – believes his young prodigy has picked the perfect place to sharpen his shooting boots
CRAIG GORDON knows Celtic’s squad have the mental strength to see through a title tilt.
But the Parkhead keeper isn’t convinced their Premiership rivals can handle the heat.
Celtic are in the box seat as they chase eight-in-a-row having returned from their mid-season break in Dubai top of the table.
But unlike in Brendan Rodgers’ previous two seasons, the pack are snapping at their heels.
Second-placed Rangers trail only on goal difference, while Kilmarnock and Aberdeen are also within three points.
Heading into the business end of the campaign, it can be about bottle as well as ability when the pressure and scrutiny is really on.
And while several members of the Celtic squad have been over course and distance, none of the challengers have as many serial winners within their ranks.
Gordon believes that winning experience could be a big factor in the weeks ahead as the championship race approaches the nitty-gritty and reckons it’ll be up to the rest to prove they can also go to the wire.
He said: “It will be an interesting second half of the season. We will see who can come and have a go. “We’re happy with the position we are in, we are used to the pressure that brings and I’m looking forward to pressing home our advantage and getting away from the rest of the teams. “We’ll take confidence from the fact we know what it takes to get the job done and, really, nobody else does over recent times because we’ve won it the last seven years. It is something that’s new to those teams and a lot of the players who will need to step up and deal with it. “That will come on in the second half of the season. It’s something we’ve enjoyed when the big games have come along and more often than not we’ve stepped up and performed. We can rely on each other when that comes. “We are top of the league, we won the League Cup, we’re still in Europe. If you were looking at three things at the start off the season to have happened by now then it’s those three. “We’ve done [email protected]lyrecord.co.uk the job we set out to do but we can always improve and that’s what we were doing in Dubai.
“We’re trying to improve on what we’ve done, we’ve laid good foundations by starting well enough. Sure, we’d like to be further ahead but in what we’ve achieved so far, it’s job done.
“We need to focus on having a good end to the season, pressing home the good we’ve done and it could be another special year.
“You could go down to Hibs in eighth who are in this. With a good run they could get right up there. There’s a lot of teams involved but that will bring its pressure to those teams because they are not used to being in this position.”
Celtic, would have been further ahead than just goal difference had almost the entire team not had an off day at Ibrox when Rangers beat them 1-0 before the mid-season shutdown.
But while the outfield boys toiled, Gordon was sensational.
The Scotland star produced a stunning performance with a clutch of good saves and was only beaten when Ryan Jack’s strike took a deflection going through the legs of Scott Brown.
Gordon said: “I had a few saves in the game which is always nice as a keeper. It means more if you get something out of the game.
“It was a bit of a reversal from the game at Celtic Park when Allan McGregor made a number of saves and we won 1-0.
“I was happy with the way I performed and, if Broony hadn’t tried to shut his legs, I probably would’ve saved that one as well.
“On the day I felt good and on top of my game but I was as disappointed as anyone going back into the dressing room knowing that we missed the chance to go six points ahead with a game in hand.
“That would have been an excellent position, albeit we’re in a good one at the moment.
“How long can you go on for? As long as I possibly can. Hopefully I’m not slowing down. If I can keep on top of injuries and make sure my body is in a fit state to go out there and perform, then I’ll want to keep playing.
“It’s a while since I’ve had to play like I did at Ibrox and make as many saves because that doesn’t happen at Celtic, apart from occasional European games.
“Kicking is also a big part of the way we play. It’s always something I look at after games in terms of pass completion.
“We worked on it in Dubai in terms of what positions players should be to get the ball, so it is a big part of this team. I’m sure this is something the manager takes into consideration.
“I just have to train well, keep improving and prove that I’m the one who should play. If I can do that then I have a chance.”
Gordon hopes he’s not on the sidelines when Celts return to Scottish Cup action on Saturday.
The Celtic No.1 was put into cold storage as the squad surged to success in the Betfred Cup.
Back-up Scott Bain was chosen throughout the tournament by Rodgers as the holders retained their trophy.
Saturday sees the beginning of the second cup competition with a home tie for the Hoops against Airdrie and Gordon hopes to play a key role in the run to Hampden.
He said: “I’d like to play, I want to play in every game. That’s probably because I missed a chunk in the middle of my career. I am fit, able to play, so I want to be involved all the time.
“I want to be selected for the Cup. That will be the manager’s call. If I don’t then I’ll do the best for the team and Scott if he’s playing. We will both deal with it when it comes.
“I have no problem with that whatsoever. I’d rather I was playing but we have so many games and we’re all aware the full squad will be used by the manager.”
How long can I go for? As long as I possibly can. Hopefully I’m not slowing CRAIG GORDON
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