Brendan Rodgers says he has no fears about sending Craig Gordon out to face Manchester City in this week’s Champions League group match.
First-choice keeper Dorus de Vries had to be replaced by the Scotland international at the start of the second half against Kilmarnock at Parkhead yesterday, casting doubts over the Dutchman’s involvement in Wednesday’s glamour tie.
“He strained his chest, Dorus, when he landed,” said Rodgers. “He could have played on but we had Craig there fit and capable and I didn’t want to take any risk with it so we will see how Dorus is over the next couple of days.”
The manager denied that the player had been withdrawn because he was caught off guard as Kilmarnock’s Souleyman Coulibaly pinged a 35-yard lob over his head. But doubts remain.
“At the time I thought to get beat from that range, I would need to see it again. But when I seen the video, and I watched it two or three times there, I give the credit to their player,” said Rodgers.
“It was an incredible touch, turn and the technique was great. When a goalkeeper gets beat from that range there’s always a question mark but I give applause to the kid because it was a great goal.”
Furious to have been beaten from that distance, De Vries had lashed out, booting his own post, prompting speculation that any injury had been self-inflicted.
“He said it was his chest,” said Rodgers. “It might be his foot. But we’ve got capable goalkeepers. The performance was fantastic, the goalkeepers didn’t have a great deal of work to do because of the intensity of the outfield players.”
The Celtic manager has not completely ruled De Vries out but if he is sidelined few supporters at Parkhead on Wednesday will be too upset, given the goalkeeper’s questionable start to his Celtic career. He has conceded 12 goals in five games, having faced fewer than 20 serious shots at his goal, according to the statisticians, and his manager claims he will be happy to rely on Gordon, left, instead.
“One hundred per cent. He’s more than capable,” said Rodgers. “He’s a brilliant shot-stopper, he’s improving his game with his feet all the time. It’s a part of how I work, players have to work that way, there’s no compromise, no choice, and he’s more than capable to come in, of course.”