Celtic boss Neil Lennon has not ruled out giving recent Hoops signing Vasilis Barkas his debut on Kilmarnock’s plastic pitch, the Glasgow Times reports.
Barkas didn’t take part in the first league game of the season. Scott Bain got the nod to start in goals against Hamilton.
However, Lennon has disclosed that Barkas might start at Rugby Park on Sunday.
“We’ll make a decision on that in the next 24 hours,” Lennon said, as quoted by the Glasgow Times.
“Make sure he’s as well-prepared as possible”
“Obviously, there will be no fans plus the artificial pitch. So, we’ll need to make sure he’s as well-prepared as possible by kick-off time in terms of the conditions and circumstances he’ll face” he concluded.
A debut for a goalkeeper on a plastic pitch would certainly be quite daunting. Indeed, it could be considered a case of throwing Barkas in at the deep end.
However, Lennon might feel that it is the ideal game for the player to make his first Hoops start. The reason for that is that the Hoops are set to play on artificial surfaces at least four times in the league this season.
If Barkas is going to be Celtic’s number one goalkeeper this season, it would make sense to get the player used to playing on such surfaces.
A sign of confidence in the player
It would also be a sign of confidence in the player’s abilities. Lennon has no qualms about fielding the player in what could be considered a difficult game.
He will have big games ahead of him in his Celtic career – Glasgow derbies, Champions League qualifiers. Those games will be happening sooner rather than later.
Therefore, it could be a smart move to start Barkas against Kilmarnock. However, that decision is down to the manager. If he was impressed with Bain against Hamilton, he might well get the nod to start at Rugby Park.
It is certainly an interesting decision for Neil Lennon to take. Lennon will no doubt be thinking about it all the way up to the announcement of the team on Sunday afternoon.