Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon believes that the "relentless" work being done on the training field by Brendan Rodgers can help them bridge the gap on the top sides in European football.

A notable aspect of the Scottish champions' performance against Manchester City was their ball retention, which showed clear improvement from previous matches at this level – even from earlier this season.

And Gordon puts that down to the work being done on the training field by his manager.

Read more: No Europe for now, but no let up either insists Celtic skipper Scott Brown

“We’re more confident now,” Gordon said. “We keep the ball an awful lot better now than we did in that first game in the Nou Camp.

“The manager has been relentless with us to make sure we are improving all of the time.

“There’s been a huge amount of hard work on the training ground from him and the coaching staff to make sure we do improve.

“I think people could see in the performances in the games that we got better all the time.

“It’s such fine margins at that level and that’s something we will take forward for next time.”

Read more: No Europe for now, but no let up either insists Celtic skipper Scott Brown

The next time may feel like a long way off for Celtic at the moment, but when you consider the venues they have played in and the teams the superstars they have shared a pitch with this year, it is little wonder that Gordon can hardly wait to sample the competition again.

“The Champions League has been everything I hoped,” he said. “It’s great to go away in the knowledge we can play at that level.

“When we started this campaign there wasn’t many who had tasted Champions League football but now we all have and it will make us stronger.

“We’ve show we have the confidence to compete against this sides and we all have that huge ambition to get back again.

“There’s a lot of hard worked required to get back and there is a long way to go.

“But this is where we want to be and we know it’s vital we get the points on the board in the league that will allow us to get the chance to do it again.”

On the face of it, the suggestion that a team that finished bottom of their Champions League Group with three draws and three defeats from their six matches were close to qualifying may seem a fanciful one.

But Gordon believes that the Hoops weren’t all that far away from achieving an altogether different outcome than they ultimately managed.

After recovering from a nightmare start in the Nou Camp, Gordon saw enough positives from their remaining group stage matches to suggest that this Celtic side on the right track to compete at that level.

And had they managed to take one or two more of the chances they managed to create during those games, Gordon feels that they may even have managed to prolong their European adventure this season.

“[The draw against Manchester City] was a really positive end to the campaign,” said.

Read more: No Europe for now, but no let up either insists Celtic skipper Scott Brown

“A lot of people suggested we’d be lucky to get one point in this group let alone three but there’s a bit of disappointment it’s not more.

“If you look at some of the moments in the games, we could have had more points on the board.

“We missed a few chances that could have turned some of those draws in to three points and that would have made a massive difference to where we ended up in the group.

“We were close - it certainly felt like we were not far away.

“If we can continue playing like we did in Manchester and continuing to improve then there’s a good opportunity to hopefully do well in the competition next year.”