NEY­MAR Celtic have got next su­per­star

PSG megas­tar says Park­head is per­fect place for new Bhoy

Daily Record - - FRONT PAGE -

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

COUP Weah has joined on six-month loan

WAIT­ING GAME Bain SU­PERB Gor­don de­nies Rangers’ Ryan Kent in Old Firm clash last month

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.