Neil Lennon needs to look at the Celtic goalkeeping situation again

By Euan Davidson

February 7, 2021

Who’d be a Celtic goalkeeper?

Unless your name is Fraser Forster, it’s a role with almost zero job security. As Scott Bain, Vasilis Barkas and Conor Hazard have shown, being a Celtic goalkeeper is akin to being in a lottery syndicate. Your name might come up in midweek or on a Saturday, but equally, you might feel daft for thinking you had a chance.

At the moment, Scott Bain is the flavour of the month. £4.5m man Vasilis Barkas [BBC] is one of the strangest cases I’ve ever seen in all my time supporting Celtic. I don’t know if I’ve ever watched a Celtic goalkeeper play so many matches without actually making a memorable save.

Hazard, meanwhile, was fast-tracked to the first team, and performed pretty well for his age. Yes; he’s not the best with the ball in the air, but his shot-stopping instincts are sound. His penalty heroics in the Scottish Cup Final alone are noteworthy.

While Bain is the man between the sticks right now, his bizarre attempt to save Allan Campbell’s looping shot will have frustrated Neil Lennon. Getting chipped while standing just inches off your line is rarely a good look [Sky Sports].

In 8 league matches, Bain has conceded 10 goals. He’s only kept 2 clean sheets [Transfermarkt]. For a Celtic goalkeeper, that just isn’t good enough. When you only have to face a couple of shots a game, numbers like that tell the whole story.

In terms of keeping a back-line organised, he’s not the best either. During almost every phase of play following Campbell’s goal yesterday, he and his defence lacked organisation, panicking to cover their man and almost conceding an equaliser. Given Celtic’s dominance over Motherwell, that would’ve been absolutely criminal.

Uh-oh. / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Lennon must choose his permanent Celtic goalkeeper

Neil Lennon claimed that Barkas was his number 1, ahead of the second Glasgow derby. We all know what’s happened since, a cursory glance at a recent team-sheet answers any lingering questions.

Simply put, Lennon just doesn’t trust Barkas. To be fair to our manager, his performances haven’t really warranted a great deal of confidence. But you can only build confidence through actual game-time. The second Barkas makes a decent save in a low-stakes tie, his whole demeanour can change.

You don’t get to be a Greece international goalkeeper, worth £4.5m, without having something about you. I’m sorry, you just don’t. Fine, Barkas’ stock will have fallen dramatically this year, but you don’t become an international level keeper, for a country that actually qualifies for things, unless you’re half decent.

Maybe it’s the case that he hasn’t trained well. If that’s so, pick Conor Hazard instead. Also an international goalkeeper, Hazard has impressed nearly as much as other youth prospects who have shone for Celtic this season. It has to be one of those two, because frankly, Scott Bain just isn’t good enough.

I take no pleasure in saying that, either. Bain has played some decent games for Celtic, and made outstanding saves. Still, he was never meant to be our first-choice, and he’s shown why on countless occasions.

Neil Lennon, yet again, has a headache over team selection. And, once again, it’s partially a problem of his own making.

On the other end of the pitch: 3 free agent targets to provide fire power