Celtic must now make new January goalkeeper a top priority

By David Walton

December 4, 2020

Last night was the final star for me with regards to the goalkeeping position.

AC Milan 0-2 Celtic was the scoreline after 14 minutes. After 90? AC Milan 4-2 Celtic, and not one of the goals we conceded was one where you thought to yourself “ah, we’ve been done there”.

If it wasn’t defensive blunders it was simply poor goalkeeper, and it was Vasilis Barkas’ dodgy display last night that should now have Celtic seriously trying to bring in a new shot-stopper next month.

The big Greek, who cost the club £4.5million in the summer from AEK Athens (Scottish Sun), should’ve done better to keep out Hakan Calhanoglu’s first-half free-kick. He then didn’t look to sharp for Samu Castillejo’s equaliser. Brahim Diaz then easily beat him for goal number four. Jens Petter Hauge’s strike was more down to comical defending than anything else, but you still wonder whether a better-quality goalkeeper would’ve kept it out.

Regardless, it wasn’t the performance Barkas needed after shipping two against Ross County on Sunday. That’s six goals in his last two after a spell on the bench that we hoped would’ve allowed us to settle at Parkhead.

Overall, Barkas has now conceded 17 goals in 16 Celtic games this season (Transfermarkt). That’s averaging just over one goal per game. Sure, you could say he still needs more time, but he’s had his spell out.

Neither Barkas nor Bain have taken their chances

It isn’t much better with Scott Bain in nets either. He’s conceded a pretty outrageous 17 goals in seven games in all competitions (Transfermarkt). The fact is we’re now into December and Neil Lennon still can’t back either of his goalkeepers to do the business for him. He’s tried to stick by his investment in Barkas, but it’s now clear there’s no imminent improvement.

This season is far too important to dither any longer, with 10-in-a-row at stake.

Going into the window, there were plenty of areas for concern. Another centre-back to replace the effect Shane Duffy was supposed to have, and a right-winger to provide some depth when James Forrest is out would be ideal.

Celtic goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas / (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Now, however, you can add goalkeeper to that list. Barkas and Bain are hardly saving a thing, and it feels like we’ve persisted with both for long enough. We haven’t strengthened wisely enough in the position over the last 12 months. Hopefully, this is something the board moves quickly on.

As for who that may be, Fraser Forster seems a bit of a pipe-dream at the moment, whilst Robin Olsen moved to Everton in the summer after being linked with a move to Parkhead. Some of the names we were said to be after have now made their decisions.

Celtic must now make it a priority to draw up a new list.