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‘THERE’S TREBLE TREBLE AHEAD,’ INSISTS GORDON

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CRAIG GORDON insists Celtic already have their eyes on a third successive treble as they prepare for the new campaign in Austria.

The Scotland international keeper admitted six out of six domestic trophies in two memorable campaigns haven’t satisfied the Hoops’ desire for even more honours.

Gordon said: “The challenge for any successful team is to keep it going, but we are enjoying it so much and we want to go and perform again.

“The first year under the manager was an absolute fairytale. To go unbeaten for so long, it was a crazy stat. To then follow it up with another three trophies is not the norm.

“It’s an incredible effort for everyone to keep that going, but coming back for pre-season, the hunger is the same. We have collective and individual targets. They are put on the board and everyone is well beyond what’s expected of them.

“The targets cover everything in training. Heart-rate, intensity and speeds you should reach. Everything is mapped out. The targets are up on the board and it tells you who is running the most, for example.

“That filters down. There is no hiding place. We are all working at our maximum. When you see someone in your position doing a wee bit more then it adds extra motivation. We are all pushing each other, from the management to the players.”

At the age of 35, the shotstopper realises the clock is ticking. He still believes he’s got more good years at the top level, but past experiences have taught him to savour everything he’s got at the moment.

GLITTERING SUCCESS…Craig Gordon and Celtic skipper Scott Brown with the Scottish Cup after last season’s 2-0 win over Motherwell. Pic: Geo.

When Gordon flew out to Austria in 2014 having signed as back-up to Fraser Forster, not even he knew what the future held. Four years later, he’s back in Linz with nine additional winners medals and a dozen extra Scotland caps.

He added: “At that stage, I’d have seen 10 games or a few Cup-ties in a season as a success. In the end, I played nearly every game that year. It was far beyond my expectations.

“I couldn’t have written the script better and it was incredible what followed. I worked hard, got a bit of luck with Fraser leaving and then managed to get in the team.

“But even then the transfer window was open. If I’d started badly and had a few bad games, there was still time for the club to bring someone in.

“I had to prove early I could play, play well and also do it twice a week. I wasn’t sure I was capable of it at that stage, but once I got through it I realised it was possible and it became easier.

“I’m 35 now. That’s a cut-off age for some people. They think you can pick up your pension. But I’m just focusing on getting my body in the right shape to play at my best.

“I can brush criticism off better now. I have played hundreds of games. So no matter what happens and given where I’ve come from, I’ve had a good innings.

“I can accept that, but I still want to play at the highest level possible. I don’t want people to be talking about my age I want them to say I’m playing better than I ever have.

“But I don’t want to look too far ahead. I want to keep performing well and keep my place.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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