It’s starting to look every bit like it’ll be Scott Bain against Valencia on Thursday night.
Even if big John Hartson thinks otherwise, it’s tough to see Bain dropping out for Craig Gordon.
The former Dundee stopper has played in each of the last six matches for Celtic. Since returning from the winter break, he hasn’t even conceded a goal. That run is just part of a longer stretch of 12 consecutive shutouts for him. It’s a sensational record.
Bain has also looked a lot more composed than Gordon on the ball in tight areas too. Whilst there’s arguably a tendency to look for a short pass on occasions where booting it up the park may seem more appropriate, Bain looks comfortable.
But on Thursday night, there’s no denying he’s going to be worked more than he has been domestically.
Over the last two matches, Valencia have fired in 24 shots on goal. They aren’t a side who shoot on sight, but when they do have a go, it’s usually after they’ve cut the opposition open.
Bain can expect some proper action
Bain can expect to see several coming his way over the course of the first-leg on Thursday night. The Mestalla outfit have too much class not to at least work the Celtic goalkeeper, and this will be good for everyone.
It will finally allow supporters the chance to see a bit more of Bain’s shot-stopping. Whilst he did make that dramatic five-shot save against Airdrie, and made another good stop to deny Chris Kane of St Johnstone on Saturday, he’s still been largely untroubled.
Thanks to the work of the likes of Dedryck Boyata, Jozo Simunovic, Kristoffer Ajer, and Filip Benkovic, Bain hasn’t had to make too many match-winning saves.
When he has been called into action, he’s looked competent. Yet still we don’t know how good he truly can be.
Thursday night is going to help us come to a conclusion on that question. Keeping a clean sheet will be extremely difficult. But as long as Bain continues to impress, Hoops fans will be delighted.