It’s fair to say that Vasilis Barkas didn’t have that breakthrough performance we were looking for against Rangers on Saturday.
The Greek was chosen by Neil Lennon in the summer to take over from top-class stopper Fraser Forster. H was favoured so much that the club ended up spending a cool £4.5million on him too (Scottish Sun).
So far he’s yet to truly convince. Granted, he hasn’t had a lot to do in most games, but some supporters will be concerned that everything that does fly towards his goal appears to hit the net.
It was the same again on Saturday. Connor Goldson’s brace for Rangers wasn’t solely on Barkas, but he didn’t cover himself in glory either. The second goal wasn’t truly his fault – there was nothing he could’ve done as the ball ricocheted in the box.
However, he was far too slow to get down to Rangers’ early opener, and it looked as though he should’ve easily pushed the header away from safety with his gloves. He didn’t. The ball seemed to slip through them as the Ibrox side got what they were after. Here’s just a taster of some of the reaction to his display:
May be jumping the gun here but Barkas doesn't fill me with confidence.
He's not made 1 brilliant save since he's been here.
A massive downgrade from Forster
— Nicky martin 🍀 (@nickybhoy1888) October 17, 2020
How Barkas hasn’t got to these goals is unbelievable, it’s almost as if goldson is just passing them in
— Logan🏴🇮🇪 (@cfclogan_) October 17, 2020
So far, Barkas hasn't improved the team.
— JT-🍋 (@1888JT) October 18, 2020
Barkas has yet to make a single save to justify paying £5m
— Ryan Graham (@RyanGraham67) October 17, 2020
Yet despite the concerns, it’s right for Celtic to stick by their summer investment for now. It’s worth remembering that the player hasn’t even been here for three months yet. He still needs some more time to show that he’s got what it takes to be our number one.
Bain over Barkas? No thanks
Celtic also have next to no reasonable alternatives who you could turn to and label number one at the moment. Don’t tell me Scott Bain should be our first-choice shot-stopper. Barkas has experience that Bain will never have, and it’s important to remember that it was the latter’s poor performances that forced the club into signing Forster in the first place.
As for Conor Hazard – he looks a fine prospect, but this isn’t the season to go throwing a young goalkeeper into the starting line-up out of nowhere.
Barkas may have struggled early doors, but he’s certainly worth persisting with. We’re talking bout a stopper who managed 61 clean sheets in 111 appearances for Athens (Transfermarkt). Those aren’t figures that suggest he’s a bad stopper that can’t save anything.
Whether he’s struggling under the weight of expectation at Parkhead or whether something else is on his mind. we can’t say for certain. However, if Lennon is as concerned as some supporters about Barkas’ performances, then it would be worth having a chat with him.
Ensuring your signings are settled is a big part of management, especially these days. Considering the different culture and footballing style he’s come from in Greece, we simply have to be a bit more patient than we have been.
Losing to Rangers is never nice, but Celtic have made an investment on a goalkeeper who reads as though he should do well here. It’s just imperative that he’s given some more time for now.
In other news, Chris Sutton has dismissed a “ridiculous” Celtic suggestion; but has also warned Neil Lennon.
Barkas is no forster
— MARTYMCG💚🤍🧡 (@Martybhoy15) October 17, 2020