That narrative was there for Vasilis Barkas coming into this season. The Greek goalkeeper arrived at Celtic Park last season with a strong pedigree having played 12 times for his country and, at age 26, was expected to be coming into his prime. It’s what necessitated the £5 million-plus transfer fee.
He didn’t make many howlers in his debut season, per se. He just didn’t make many saves either.
It was quite a culture shock for Celtic fans who’d be used to seeing Fraser Forster perform routine heroics between the sticks and it wasn’t long before Barkas was benched.
The arrival of Ange Postecoglou as manager offered the promise of a fresh start. Well, it’s just one match in, but it doesn’t look like Celtic’s goalkeeping troubles are going to be solved by renewed faith in their No.1.
Barkas was badly at fault for Evander’s equaliser in Tuesday’s first-leg 1-1 draw with Midtjylland, a result which leaves Celtic’s Champions League hopes in a perilous state after just one game.
What Postecoglou does now will be his first big test as head coach as he has to decide whether to stick with Barkas or bring back Scott Bain. The Scot is certainly not the answer long-term, but has shown previously he’s a safer bet than his more expensive team-mate.
If Barkas is instantly dropped, with his confidence still at rock bottom, then it almost certainly signals the end of his career in Glasgow and a new goalkeeper must be found as quickly as possible. With no immediate signing on the horizon, that’s a huge call for the Australian to make in the space of a week.
But Celtic cannot afford any further slip-ups in Denmark on Wednesday. With several players having either departed or on their way out, Celtic need all the prize money and prestige that comes from playing in Europe’s premier competition in order to fund this rebuild.
Making knee-jerk reactions after just 90 minutes is the type of thing good managers avoid, but the mountain of damning evidence prior to his arrival should encourage Postecoglou to do just that.