Neil Lennon has already taken a huge decision by confirming that the out of form Celtic star will start vs the Rangers on Saturday.
It is no secret that the fate of Celtic’s 10IAR might very well be depending on the result at Ibrox this weekend. A win and they will eat into the massive lead that the Rangers have managed to amass. A defeat and it might be as good as over barring another collapse from Steven Gerrard’s side in the second half of the season.
One of the biggest talking points going into the game would have been about the man who would start between the posts for Celtic. But Neil Lennon has already confirmed that it will be Vasilis Barkas who will be wearing the gloves on Saturday.
The hints were there when the Greek international started against Dundee United and the manager left no doubt after the game. As reported by Herald Scotland, he said:
“We’ve got big games coming up and I want Vasilis to play in them. He’s come in as number one and I want him to play.
“I think Conor’s done very well, but he’s still very fledgling in his career. It would be a big call to put him into a game of this magnitude at the weekend. So, I want to go back to experience.
“Vasilis hasn’t shown us what he’s all about, but he’s capable of doing that. So I thought it was important to give him a game before the weekend.”
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Conor Hazard has been the first-choice keeper for the past several weeks. And while he has not done anything spectacular barring the two penalty saves in the Scottish Cup final, three straight clean-sheets in the league would have led you to believe that he would be starting at Ibrox as well.
There have been suggestions in the media that that might be too much of a step-up for the youngster and a bad performance in the Glasgow Derby could shatter his confidence for good. And it looks like Lennon is of the same view.
Now let’s just hope that Barkas can prove his doubters wrong on Saturday. The Greek has not shown much since his £4.5 million move from AEK Athens in the summer. There has always been the feeling though that he is not a bad goalkeeper and just needs time to settle before he can showcase true qualities. Hopefully, that will start against the Rangers.