2017-18 football season is nearing its conclusion and there are still a lot of things at stake in most of the leagues across the globe. Yet the teams are already planning for the upcoming campaign and pointing out the transfer targets to strengthen further. A few players, however, are being chased by an array of football clubs already and Scotsman Scott Bain belongs to the list following his heroics versus Rangers FC in last month’s Old Firm derby.
The 26-year-old was Celtic’s third-choice custodian since completing a winter deadline loan move from Dundee after his temporary switch to Hibernian fell through. Initially, he was deep down the pecking order behind veteran Craig Gordon and his deputy Dorus de Vries but the duo’s injury handed him a surprise start between the sticks against great rivals Rangers FC at Ibrox.
The renowned derby was the biggest occasion to stake a claim in Brendan Rodgers’ first-team plans and Bain grabbed the opportunity sensationally by pulling off multiple majestic stops despite conceding twice in the first half and also being down to ten men after the break following Jozo Simunovic’s marching order. The Scottish custodian became an instant hero as he helped the Hoops retain the lead and grab another remarkable win over the age-old counterparts.
Rodgers has now handed the keeper a regular role between the sticks and is reportedly keen on making his loan move permanent. Bain will be out of contract in summer but the Scottish champions will go through quite a competition to acquire him for free. Hibernian and Hearts have also expressed their desire to land the Scotsman but the latest reports of Stoke City’s interest has made the chase even more interesting. The Premier League strugglers are finding it hard to retain their top-flight status thus might have to lose in-demand custodian Jack Butland upon a Championship demotion.
But the profile of English League might be more enticing to the on-loan Celtic star who will straight slot in goal if Butland moves out and guide the Potters to earn an instant promotion next season if they fail to avoid a relegation scare this term with six games remaining.
Rodgers, the Parkhead boss, is on the course of winning successive domestic ‘trebles’ as Celtic have maintained their sheer dominance in Scottish football. The gaffer is also delighted with Bain’s upsurge and has spoken highly of him in a recent interview.
“These last couple of games have shown our supporters that, goodness me, he’s a really good keeper. He’s a joy to work with, always smiling and, while he has great humility, he’s also not intimidated in any way. I’ve been delighted for him.”
The ex-Liverpool boss, however, needs to work harder to convince Bain to sign a permanent deal at Parkhead as he needs a long-term replacement of both Gordon and de Vries who are in their late thirties and do not have a lengthy spell ahead with the current employers. The Scotsman, meanwhile, is settling well at Celtic and has shown all the traits to be a successor of Gordon in the long run. The player is in his mid-twenties currently and holds everything to be a great acquisition on a Bosman deal.
“It was always going to be hard to get in to the team with goalkeepers like Dorus and Craig, but once you get your chance you just need to enjoy it and try to take it.”
The player, too, is enjoying his spell with the Scottish heavyweights but yet to decide his future beyond this season. The Hoops thus need to tie Bain down as quickly as possible before some other high-profile outfits enter the race and demand his signing.