THE focus of attention on Celtic just now is apparently split between the prospect of other teams signing Moussa Dembele, Leigh Griffiths, Kieran Tierney or Kris Commons, and the probability of Kouassi Eboue and others arriving at Parkhead.
Yet for the squad itself, the prospect of the domestic treble remains the object they all concentrate on, especially in the warm weather of Dubai.
The transfer news first – as a non-capped player, Eboue will need an appeal to be made for him to gain a work permit. Since the main criterion of the appeal panel of former players and manager is ‘will he add to Scottish football?’ the £3 million Ivorian can pack his bags and prepare to leave Krasnodar in Russia for Glasgow.
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Dembele, Griffiths and Tierney will both be staying, but Commons could either have his loan at Hibs extended – Neil Lennon is desperate to keep him – or go across the Pond to where several American clubs are interested in him.
None of that is a distraction in Dubai. For goalkeeper Craig Gordon, one of Celtic’s best signings in recent years given that he cost nothing, the second half of the season will see him and his colleagues concentrate on what they have been doing in the first half – winning.
After a few days’ rest, Gordon and his team-mates had their first full training session yesterday in warm sunshine, and the Scotland international has enjoyed the rest but can’t wait to start back with the benefits of a break.
Gordon told the club website of the winter break: “It was good to have it on the horizon as we could really give all our efforts towards it, especially in December with nine games.
“We gave everything we had in those games to try and stay unbeaten, knowing we had this to look forward to at the end of this month to recharge the batteries, get some good training under our belts and really look forward to the second half of the season.
“It helped to have this to aim for. We knew it was going to be a tough month with a lot of games and a lot of hard work but at the end of it we had the chance to come away here and get a bit of rest but also to refocus and look at our targets for the second part of the season.”
Gordon and his family have also taken the chance to get a short holiday:“I came out to Dubai early with the family and had a nice break and everyone enjoyed it. The weather is always perfect and it was great to get away and have that week of relaxation.
“It gives your body a rest for a week or two. It was quite punishing, playing two or three game a week towards the end of December so having that rest lets your body calm down and get any little injuries or things you have been carrying sorted out.
“You come back with that freshness in the second half of the season and hopefully it will show in performances in that we don’t have dig out results which we had to do during December.
“We had a few one-nils and had to scrape a few results, but getting that freshness back in legs that we can take into the second half of the season and hopefully everyone will see a better team for it.
“We now have a week of training which will be needed after a week off. After not training for four or five days, you feel the need to get back out there and start again so I’m looking forward to a good week’s training.”