It's time to stop pretending that Scott Bain is good enough for Celtic

By David Walton

May 2, 2021

Scott Bain isn’t good enough for Celtic, and it’s about time we all start admitting it.

Let\s get this out the way first and foremost – Bain isn’t the main cause of our failures this season. He hasn’t been the one missing chance after chance in the final third. He hasn’t been one of the midfielders who have been struggling to dominate the engine room. And he hasn’t been the one in the dugout making blunderous decision after blunderous decision.

But what he has been is an incredibly poor Celtic goalkeeper this year.

The fact is that Bain has had more than enough opportunities to cement himself as the club’s number one. He came in under Brendan Rodgers in January 2018 and was given a run in the team towards the end of the 2017/18 campaign.

He was then given the same in the second half of the 2018/19 campaign before being third choice to Fraser Forster and Craig Gordon under Neil Lennon last season.

Now, he’s back in the side after Vasilis Barkas’ struggles and a lack of faith from the manager in Conor Hazard. Lennon gave Bain a run in the team back in October/November. Throughout that period, he played six games and conceded 16 goals. These came in games against Lille, Sparta Prague (x2), Aberdeen, Hibernian, and Motherwell respectively.

Bain isn’t a Celtic number one; we need to stop fooling ourselves

He’s currently on a run of first-team games that’s now stretched back to January. He’s played 14 league matches in that period and kept clean sheets in half of them. That doesn’t read too badly, but when you look at his total figures this season – they’re a concern.

Bain has played 23 times this season and shipped a total of 30 goals [Transfermarkt]. Today’s game at Ibrox saw him once again fail to save a thing, with every big Rangers opportunity flying past him. Granted, he couldn’t do a lot for Kemar Roofe’s opener. But the other three conceded today? You just expect your goalkeeper to show some resistance, and in Bain we have very little.

You can count the top saves he’s made for us this season in one hand. In fact, you’ll do well to remember five. It’s difficult to put it any simpler than the fact that he doesn’t keep out enough shots. He should’ve done a lot better for Roofe’s header as well as Alfredo Morelos’ powerful effort. Even Jermaine Defoe’s goal was highly predictable after he got the wrong side of Stephen Welsh.

Yet another goal goes flying beyond Scott Bain (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There’s a real lack of trust in Bain these days, and he isn’t a goalkeeper we should be relying on for big games. He’s proven that time and time again, and today was just another instance.

Much of our problems with set-pieces also comes because we don’t have a dominant goalkeeper who bosses his penalty area. Bain seldom comes out for a cross-ball unless it comes into his own six-yard box. He needs to be more dominant than that, otherwise we see trends like we’ve seen this season.

At 29, Bain isn’t going to get much better. He should be into his peak years, and still he remains highly unconvincing. It’s time we all say it like it is and acknowledge that Bain isn’t the goalkeeper we need at Celtic.

In other news, John Kennedy was left disappointed with Nick Walsh’s refereeing inconsistencies today.