According to a recent exclusive interview conducted by Football Insider, former professional defender Alan Hutton has claimed that Celtic will be kicking themselves for their inability to re-sign Scottish veteran goalkeeper David Marshall in the summer. The Hoops had the option of moving for the 35-year-old, but seemingly saw Greek keeper Vasilis Barkas as a better option. Now, just months down the line, the Celtic backroom team will definitely be regretting that decision, and Hutton believes that they’ll be ‘desperate’ to have the presence of someone like Marshall in the team.
Through the report, Hutton says Celtic missed a trick by not signing David Marshall, whether or not it actually affects them that drastically remains to be seen. Asked if they would be regretting their decision, he said, “Definitely, 100 per cent, but you make decisions that can be made in a heartbeat and they think that they are going with a better option with Barkas at the time. Maybe if they’re looking at it now they’d be saying: ‘We’ve missed a trick’. Obviously David Marshall is – and I’ve always known he is – a fantastic goalkeeper. I think he is a guy that Celtic would be desperate to have at the moment.”
What Caused Celtic’s Current Sensitive Goalkeeping Situation?
The fact that Celtic needed to sign a new goalkeeper going into the season was obvious to most, and the club were quick to realise that point as well. Although their hunt for the right name started well in advance, in hindsight, it must be conceded that they could’ve been more thorough. As has already been established, David Marshall was a viable option that they should’ve considered, but the Hoops instead opted to move for AEK Athens’ Vasilis Barkas. The Greek keeper arrived with lofty expectations, but it’s safe to say that he has failed to live up to the mammoth amount of hype.
Craig Gordon and Fraser Forster were both options for the Celts last season, but they started the current campaign with neither of them still in the roster. While the latter returned to his parent club after a year-long loan deal, an out-of-favour Gordon made the free switch to Hearts over the summer. Although these didn’t look like overly impactful moves at the time, things haven’t worked out quite as planned for Neil Lennon’s ten-in-a-row hunting side. They kicked off the current campaign with the aforementioned Barkas, and Scott Bain, as the two goalkeeping options.
How Have Celtic Fared In Between The Sticks This Season?
Vasilis Barkas was undoubtedly brought in to take over as the first-choice, and despite the odd positive sign in the first couple of fixtures, the fans quickly had enough. Not only was he extremely unsure when dealing with crosses into the area, but his shot-stopping abilities were questioned as well. Complaints were raised about his slow reactions, as well as his general tendency to stay rooted to his spot if he feels he doesn’t have a chance. This forced Neil Lennon to take drastic measures a few weeks in, in that they had to bring last season’s third-choice goalkeeper, Scott Bain, into the mix.
Hutton Says Celtic Missed A Trick By Not Signing David Marshall: Would The Scot’s Presence Have Made A Difference?
To put it simply, yes. Celtic’s defensive issues have been evident from the opening weeks of the campaign, and the addition of the slow and lanky presence of Shane Duffy has done little to help their cause. After all, central defenders can only perform if they are confident of the abilities of the keeper behind them. Barkas though, has completely failed to live up to expectations, and has effectively left Neil Lennon’s men in a desperate situation. With Scott Bain now first-choice, at least for the time being, it’s safe to assume that had Marshall been a Celtic player at the moment, neither Barkas nor Bain would’ve even got a look in.
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