Celtic boss explains Scott Brown benching and Vasilis Barkas absence vs Aberdeen

By John McGinley

October 25, 2020

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has revealed that goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas was forced out of the weekend trip to Aberdeen because of a back injury, speaking to BBC Radio Scotland today (11:40).

The Bhoys boss said: “He had a back injury from Thursday night, in the dying embers of the game. He tried to give it a go yesterday, but he was too stiff and too sore, so he hasn’t travelled.

“Bain has been training and been patient, so we’re looking for a big response from him.”

Lennon has also opened up on the decision to leave Scott Brown on the bench.

The manager thinks rotation is crucial during this busy period but admitted it wasn’t an easy decision to leave his captain out.

He told BBC Radio Scotland: “It’s always a difficult decision, but we have to think about the block of games, and the intensity of the games we’ve played in already.

“This is going to be another intense game and a very good challenge, so rotation is important at the minute. Some of it has been by design and some of it has been because we have to do it.”

So far, at the interval, we haven’t appeared to have missed Brown too much in the heart of the midfield. Celtic are passing the ball well and haven’t needed a defensive midfielder to counteract the threat of Aberdeen.

Sadly, an Olivier Ntcham conceded penalty has us behind by a goal.

Lennon could also use Brown to great effect coming off the bench in the second half, as he did against St Johnstone before the international break.

Vasilis Barkas before a Celtic match / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

As for Barkas? Well regardless of the reason for his absence today, it’s a massive opportunity for Bain to make a push for a regular starting spot.

The Greek international will be hoping to get back to fitness as soon as possible so he can start proving the doubters wrong.

In other news, Neil Lennon has provided an update on the status of Christopher Jullien.