Pundit Kris Boyd has claimed that Celtic have taken a gamble in signing Greek international goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas, writing in his Scottish Sun column this weekend.
Previewing the season, the outspoken Sky Sports pundit also believes that the Bhoys are weaker and that this is “Rangers’ year” when it comes to the Scottish Premiership title.
That’s despite Neil Lennon’s side being by far the best side in the country since the turn of the year, blowing away Steven Gerrard’s team in the league prior to the curtailment of the 2019/20 season.
With both first-teams looking largely similar to the last term, it’s a bold and strange prediction, even taking into account his Rangers leanings.
Further, he reckons signing a well-scouted goalkeeper with international and Champions League experience is a gamble.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, Boyd said of Barkas: “I just look at the Celtic side and don’t think it’s as strong as it was.
“The decision to let Craig Gordon go baffled me at the time and still does.
“This new signing, Vasilis Barkas, looks decent, but it’s still a gamble bringing in a goalkeeper who has never played in Scottish football.
“Barkas may prove to be the real deal, but he’s not going to have the same presence as Fraser Forster.”
Obviously everyone wanted Forster to return for the new season but ultimately it was out of Celtic’s control.
We agreed on a deal with Southampton only for the player himself to reject the chance of winning ten-in-a-row. He has his own ambitions and that’s fine.
The club have done well to bring in a quality replacement so quickly and there is excitement about what Barkas can bring to the team this season.
In terms of player profile, someone like Barkas is exactly who we want at the club.
Celtic will have the first opportunity to prove Boyd wrong later today at home to Hamilton and a statement performance would start to silence the early doubters.
Everyone is gunning for the champions this season but this team, led by Scott Brown, have shown plenty of times over the last decade that they can block out the noise and take things one game at a time.
Bit by bit we can march towards another title and become ten-in-a-row champions for the first time in Scottish football history.