The summer signing was a surprise inclusion in the side for the game at Parkhead after young Nothern Irish goalkeeper Conor Hazard had started the previous five matches, all Celtic victories.
Barkas had previously been dropped for Scott Bain earlier in the season despite arriving on a four-year deal for a fee that could reach £5.5million.
Despite all of this, he was given a forceful backing by his manager prior to the clash with United.
Lennon told BBC Scotland: “We brought Barkas in to be number one. He’s had a bit of a break and we have important games coming up. It’s time for him to show all the experience and quality he has.
“He [Hazard] is not quite ready to be number one. I think that will come in time. He has a lot of quality. Just where we are in the season, we need a bit more experience.”
However, many Celtic fans were less than convinced. Barkas has failed to win them over during his time at the club, while Hazard recently made himself a hero with his two penalty saves in the Scottish Cup final shoot-out victory over Hearts.
@rhys199 tweeted: “Lennon would be slaughtered if Rangers take 3 or 4 off us with Hazard in goals, keeping Barkas in gives him a scapegoat if the worst nightmare scenario happens.”
@k3nnyst said: “And that is Lennon signing his own P45. As good as said that Barkas is playing on Saturday. I hope to f*** he proves me wrong, but this is suicidal. Should have still been Hazard in goal.”
@Mcinally1967 added: “There was me thinking Lennon had turned a corner dropping Barkas for Hazard... days away from Old Firm ‘Barkas was brought to be number 1 and hes ready to be back in the team’ there is NO WAY we won that Scottish Cup on pens with Barkas in goals.”
While @90MinuteCynic joked: “Neil Lennon confirming bringing Barkas back in was his plan all along. He’s Celtic’s number one. So, Bain for Ibrox?”