I think every Celtic fan can see the obvious frailty in the current starting XI. In the decade I’ve attended Celtic games, this is the most excited I’ve ever been by our attacking ability – powerful, energetic, creative and deadly. Teams are starting to fear seeing us in their fixture list again, nobody believes they will get anything from Celtic Park. They come with a defensive outlook hoping to avoid embarrassment, even Sevco were happy to keep ten men behind the ball and leave Garner to pick up the scraps which Kolo and Erik left few. Even our back four is impressive on paper, so why have we not kept a clean sheet in the league thus far? It’s clear, well to me anyway, our goalkeepers are not good enough, and it’s concerning that if we beat Alloa on Wednesday we are heading for a semi-final at Hampden having little confidence in our goalkeeper.
Craig Gordon looked a nervous wreck all through qualifying for the Champions League, making big mistakes at home to Astana and away to Hapoel Be’er Sheeva, and Dorus has eft much to be desired in all four games he’s played.
I’m sure, there are many different opinions on who should be Celtic’s starting goalkeeper, whether it is Craig, Dorus, Leo, or that we have to go back into the transfer market in January to cover this obvious black spot. Celtic have had fine goalkeepers pass through its ranks, with talents such as Boruc, Forster and Marshall, all of which most Celtic fans would take back in a heartbeat, especially La Gran Muralla. I’m sure Brendan rates Dorus highly, all of his other signings have been a great success so far with Moussa scoring vital goals in big games, Sinclair scoring in every league game and Kolo bossing the back line. Which gives credence to the argument – Dorus deserves time to prove himself. Yes, he’s only four games into his Celtic career, and not one of the four were ever going to be easy games to start with. He clearly has distribution nailed on in comparison to Gordon and that is what Brendan has spoken frequently about. The manager wants everyone from the goalkeepr to the attacker being able to contribute to Celtic’s attacking play, an admiral vision. However, if we as fans aren’t concerned when our keeper is getting beat by a very saveable effort from outside of the area then were not paying enough attention. It has happened twice in a week with both Neymar’s free kick and Billy King’s long-range effort for Inverness on Sunday, both I would expect a Celtic goalkeeper to be well capable of saving, but both have beaten Dorus. In his four games, I can recall one good save he has made and that was versus the tribute act when Waghorn went through after we were already four up. So far, it has not been anywhere near good enough and for as long as it is not there will be loud calls for change.
On the other hand, Craig Gordon was under fire from most of the fans in our qualifying campaign making blunders like his header against Astana and spilling a safe ball against Be’er Sheeva which could have seen us miss out again on the Champions League when we started the match in a position of real strength. Both of those along with regular showings of nervousness in the league games he’s featured in would suggest Craig is a footballer who plays on confidence and when it’s high he is formidable, and when not, he’s more than shaky. We know there is definitely a talented goalkeeper in there, his career shows it and he has shown it in the number one jersey, most consistently in his first season at the club. He also has the best save in Premier League history under his belt so he’s quite clearly an accomplished shot-stopper but we need someone we can rely on and someone who can perform under pressure, which this season Gordon has not and that is why Brendan brought in De Vries.
It may end up that we have to enter the transfer market once more in January to replace De Vries if he does not perform to an acceptable standard. Michel Vorm was brought up during the summer and if Celtic had actually signed him, we would be a formidable side in every area of the park. However, his wages would be astronomical and we may have had to break the bank to sign the Spurs keeper, which regardless of how much we want to dominate is not worth doing.
Celtic really need to address this obvious problem and address it soon because it will bite us in an important game if it isn’t dealt with. Gordon is definitely worth giving another chance, he’s too good a goalkeeper to be let go without a chance to prove himself once again regardless of how strong or weak his passing is.