Craig Gordon has predicted a four-way battle for the Scottish Premiership title in what he believes could be one of the most enthralling domestic campaigns in recent memory.
The Celtic goalkeeper believes it is far from certain that the return of Rangers to the top flight will present the single biggest threat to his club’s bid for a sixth consecutive league championship triumph.
Gordon anticipates both Aberdeen and Hearts will also have a significant say in the outcome of a title race which has already had a galvanizing effect on season ticket sales for all of the main protagonists.
“It’s looking like it could be one of the most exciting seasons for a long time,” said Gordon. “There are four really good teams who are going to be pushing at the top.
“Aberdeen aren’t going to go away, they will still be right up there. They could be our biggest rivals again. Hearts are also bringing in a few more players and everyone is still trying to recruit a few more players which could make a difference.
“Even now, it looks like there’s going to be four teams who are going to be in and around things. We’ll see over the next few weeks who comes in, who strengthens the best and who starts the season the best.
“It’s going to be a tough league and the fixtures are going to be difficult. You aren’t going to get many easy games. For everybody watching, it looks like it’s going to be a good season.
“As players too, you want a challenge. It’s certainly going to be a challenge for us from those teams. We are ready for it, looking forward to it and we want to come out on top again.”
Gordon, speaking as queues stretched around Celtic Park yesterday as the public sale of new season tickets commenced, admits there will be heightened awareness from the champions’ dressing room of how their title rivals fare now that Rangers’ four-year absence from the equation is over.
“I think there will be that bit more anxiety,” added the Scotland international.
“You are always going to be looking around to see how everyone else is getting on.
“We’ve seen the season tickets are going very well, so if we can get off to a good start, if we can fill Celtic Park and get out of the traps and also have a good Champions League qualification campaign, it’s going to set us up for a good season.”