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Thursday 8 December 2016

Celtic without Ciftci, Izaguirre and Mulgrew for season opener as Gordon signs three-year deal

Nadir Ciftci of Celtic and teammate Emilio Izaguirre are suspended for Celtic's Ladbrokes Premiership against Ross County on Saturday
Nadir Ciftci of Celtic and teammate Emilio Izaguirre are suspended for Celtic's Ladbrokes Premiership against Ross County on Saturday

Celtic kick off their Ladbrokes Premiership defence at home to Ross County today but their focus will then immediately switch to Azerbaijan for the second leg of their Champions League third qualifying-round tie next Wednesday.

Nadir Ciftci and Emilio Izaguirre are suspended for Celtic's Ladbrokes Premiership curtain-raiser against Ross County on Saturday.

The former Dundee United striker starts a six-game domestic ban - a further two games are suspended - after being found guilty of biting Jim McAlister during a Dundee derby on the final day of last season, with left-back Izaguirre suspended after going through the disciplinary points total last season.

Charlie Mulgrew is still suffering from a minor knee injury which kept him out of the Champions League qualifer against Qarabag last Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon is targeting playing at the highest level of European football after returning to the peak of his own powers.

The 32-year-old was this week rewarded for his stunning comeback with a new three-year contract. The former Hearts and Sunderland player's career looked to be over after a knee injury restricted him to one game in more than three years.

However, this season could surpass that glory as he looks to compete in the Champions League and European Championship for the first time.

The Scotland international said: "It's something to strive for, to set myself to try and play in those types of games. But that's up to myself and my performances."

Celtic v Ross County, today (ko 12.45), live Sky Sports 1

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