CELTIC’S goalkeeping situation has been a big source of frustration this season. Chopping and changing the goalkeeper has led to all sorts of problems. It doesn’t help the men in front of the goalie have not been nearly doing enough at points to protect who’s between the sticks.
Vasilis Barkas has come under intense criticism for his debut Celtic season, including from this site. The player has looked lost in the penalty box at points and hasn’t inspired confidence in the Celtic faithful.
There was no chance of the goalkeeper building any sort of confidence with the way he was taken in and out of the team.
Jose Morais, who coached Barkas at AEK Athens, spoke to Inside Futbol about the goalkeeper and his current situation at Celtic.
“It was not a surprise for me when he moved to Celtic. He was a goalkeeper with very good potential. This was one of the main reasons that I decided at that moment to make him the number 1 because he started to play with me.
“I am very happy that he developed and moved to Celtic. Hopefully, he will have better opportunities in the future.
“Sometimes the quality of communication is important to adapt in a different country. The position of goalkeeper is a position where the interaction with all the players is not in the same way. So, I believe one of the points is communication between the players on the pitch.
“Then, there is the level of confidence according to the way he feels about the group. I remember that at AEK he was not, in terms of personality, probably an extrovert, but he has a team personality and he can accept criticism and react.
“He is 27, a good age for a goalkeeper; he is still young with good maturity. One year is the minimum to adapt to a different group and to be accepted. I think he has the potential and the character to fight for his place and use the opportunity that can come.
“I am not with him now and I don’t know exactly the situation, but he is a talented goalkeeper. That is the reason he went to Celtic. He is in a different country. In Scotland, it is a little bit different for him. It’s different from Greece or Portugal. Probably we are warmer in our reaction.
“So he needed time to adapt and feel the positive atmosphere of the group to make him feel more welcome. These are very important aspects to succeed. When you go abroad you need to have big capacities to adapt to the group. I believe if the opportunity comes for him he will be able to succeed because he has great potential. Now it is a question of confidence.”
On the player’s price tag, his former coach said:
“They paid that much because of his recognised quality. Normally, Celtic are a club that have good scouting. I believe they are aware of his quality and probably things that did not go in the direction that they wanted, and to go on loan or stay at the club is not the question.
“If they want to give him another chance I believe that he has the quality to play there. I do not know if it is what he wants because a goalkeeper likes to play. If he plays then he gains confidence. Not to play is probably not the best for himself. So depending on where he is going I think he could go on loan to have a good season and then be back again to continue his career.
“He is only 26, 27 years old. I think he is a goalkeeper to play, not to be a reserve.”
The goalkeeper hasn’t made the last few squads and we’re unsure as to why, at this point. Is he injured or merely being overlooked? Conor Hazard just signed a new two-year deal so is he now taking the mantle as number 2 with the Greek keeper completely out of the picture?
If he is injured, it would make a bit more sense. For me, if you’re to give Barkas a shot in the arm, it would be for John Kennedy to reinstate him to the first team and let him know he’s in goals from now until the end of the season.
The Scottish Cup throws up a scenario where John Kennedy might not want to take risks on certain personnel but you have to be brave and Celtic need to know if Barkas can come good before we go into the market in the summer.