Chris Sutton has warned Vasilis Barkas that he has to get the finger out to live up to the standards set by Fraser Forster.
Celtic splashed out £4.5m to sign the keeper from AEK Athens but after picking up an injury against AC Milan he has missed the last three matches.
Scott Bain returned to the team against Aberdeen but with Barkas on the bench the former Dundee keeper kept his place against Lille and Aberdeen.
Neither keeper has been convincing this season but that is partly down to the shadow cast by Fraser Forster’s exploits last season.
Brought in on loan from Southampton where he had dropped to third choice the one time England keeper was outstanding in the Europa League wins over Lazio before putting up the shutters in the final of the League Cup.
It is a big call for Neil Lennon to relegate an expensive summer signing to the bench but results are everything with Sutton expecting Bain to continue in goals against Sparta Prague tomorrow night.
Speaking to the Daily Record Podcast (16 minutes 50 seconds), the former Celtic striker said:
I see the situation as pretty simple. Neil Lennon thinks that Scott Bain is a better goalkeeper than Barkas at this moment in time.
I don’t buy into, and I know Barkas had the shoulder injury, but the bottom line is if he was fit enough for the bench he was fit enough to play in France.
In that respect I think that the penalty save from Scott Bain was big and, am I still convinced about Scott Bain? No I’m not, there were other moments in the game that were hiding behind the settee time.
But Neil Lennon will see him train every day, he’ll get the advice from Stevie Woods the goalkeeping coach and at this moment in time Neil Lennon is not giving Scott Bain a run out for charity, he’s getting a run out because he wants his best goalkeeper in and Scott Bain will keep the gloves at this moment in time and Barkas has really got to pull his finger out and show Neil Lennon and Celtic that Neil is wrong to pick Bain ahead of him.
It’s an issue to which I have to say, you mentioned Craig Gordon, and I’ve been critical of Craig in the past. You look at the standards that Craig has set in the past, you look at the standard of goalkeeper last season- we did a column or even on the Pod last season saying that Fraser Forster should be the number one target for Celtic this season.
Of course it probably was, the fact that they didn’t get that over the line is a big deal. His standards were so high. Celtic were like having a wall at the back and that was largely down to having Fraser and his presence in goal.
This season they don’t have that presence and that is a huge problem. You look across the city, and whether you like it or not Rangers are a different proposition and that’s because they’re clean sheet record has been staggeringly good. And in that respect, this is going to be the toughest title race in years.