Celtic paid out for a private jet to bring Vasilis Barkas back to Scotland and avoid yet another derby blow this week, the Scottish Sun reports.
The newspaper believes that Celtic were alarmed after being informed that a public sector strike was being taken in Greece. This could’ve left the Hoops goalkeeper in a desperate dash to get back in time given the air traffic control centres would’ve fallen under the strike bracket.
The Sun says that this then led to Celtic splashing out on a private jet on Wednesday night to ensure that their new shot-stopper was back in Glasgow for Saturday’s game.
Celtic are already missing Ryan Christie, Nir Bitton, and Hatem Elhamed against Rangers due to self-isolation procedures. There remains heavy doubt over Odsonne Edouard’s availability also considering his own isolation period in France ends just a day before Saturday’s clash.
However, thankfully, the club will have their first-choice goalkeeper available thanks to Celtic’s crucial decision.
A defining day for Barkas?
Barkas has been a difficult one to judge so far since signing from AEK Athens in the summer for £4.5million (Scottish Sun).
It’s not that the Greece international has been poor by any stretch, but he just hasn’t had a lot to do since he joined.
So far, Barkas has played on 12 occasions for Neil Lennon’s men and conceded seven goals (Transfermarkt). Those are decent numbers, but outside of the goals conceded, he hasn’t really had many saves to make.
Question marks were thrown up after goals that were let slip against both Ferencvaros and Livingston, but Barkas had to be given proper time to get used to football in Scotland. Coming from Greece, it was always going to be a different style of game as well as a different way of life.
So now comes his acid test. The first Glasgow derby of the season at Celtic Park. It’s highly likely he’ll be tested in this one, especially if Celtic decide to go with a back three.
However, this could be his defining game in a Celtic jersey. The match where we all look at each other and nod knowingly, safe in the knowledge that we’ve bagged a good one in the former AEK man. This game is just as big for him as it is for anyone.
In other news, a Celtic great who starred in derby matches has admitted he “can’t imagine” what it’ll be like on Saturday.