It’s never a good thing when your first team goalkeeper suffers a significant injury.
Unfortunately, this is the scenario Celtic found themselves in late January.
Craig Gordon succumbed to a knee injury that had some querying if his season had prematurely ended.
With Celtic loaning out their developmental goalkeeper Conor Hazard to Falkirk the club were left scrambling to find a backup to their backup.
On deadline day, it felt like Celtic had blindly thrown darts at a board and came up with Scott Bain. A body to warm the bench while Craig Gordon is out and Dorus de Vries is handed the gloves.
Dorus stepped up to the plate and in baseball terms, he took a swing and a miss! But in his defence, he doesn’t do ‘knuckle balls’. The Dutchman’s struggles against Zenit away was still not enough for him to be dropped to the bench. However, a back injury the week before Celtic’s trip to Ibrox thrust Scott Bain into the limelight, but it took till 8 am on the morning of that game before Celtic made the decision not to go with Dorus.
This should highlight the difficulty and the odds against Bain ever getting a game for Celtic if Dorus remained fit.
However, Scott Bain got his chance and after two games has done his chances no harm at keeping the spot until the end of the season. That being said, it’s difficult to gauge the player’s progress after just two games – this is why the news Craig Gordon is getting back to fitness is exciting!
Not because I’m sitting outside Lennoxtown waiting for Bain to hand the gloves back to Gordon – far from it. It means Scott knows what kind of window he has to solidify his place in the team and that he has someone breathing down his neck.
Celtic’s number one is due back in around three weeks according to goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods, the 26-year-old knows he must play to a very high standard after the international break which can only be good for Celtic.
We’re about to find out if Bain is up to the task, with the pressure of playing for a club like Celtic not showing at the moment, the added weight of Gordon’s imminent return will either inspire the loan keeper or see him crumble.
The player knows he could be on the brink of a permanent deal with the club if he plays his cards right. Let’s hope he stays clear of those knuckleballs.