Alan Hutton has suggested that Neil Lennon took Vasilis Barkas “out of the firing line” for Celtic against Aberdeen on Sunday.
The former Rangers and Scotland full-back, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has questioned just how serious the 26-year-old’s injury was to keep him out of the 3-3 draw.
As quoted by the Scottish Sun, Lennon stated that the shot-stopper sat out Sunday’s game with a back injury suffered in the defeat to AC Milan.
The Greece international has come under fire for his displays this season and was in the spotlight for failing to stop Connor Goldson’s header in the 2-0 defeat to Rangers.
Hutton suggests that Lennon may have used Barkas’ slight problem as a reason to bring Scott Bain into the starting XI and that he was protecting his goalkeeper.
Hutton told Football Insider: “From what I hear it’s a niggly back injury, we don’t actually know whether it is or it isn’t. Could he possibly have just been taking him out the firing line? Maybe.
“We don’t know but I think the problem with him coming is the shoes he had to fill from before. I mean Forster was obviously a colossus for Celtic and saved them in umpteen games.
“I think that’s what’s been highlighted even more, I think the goal against Rangers, he could have done better, there’s been situations where he needs to step up a little bit and make a big save – that’s what Forster used to do week in, week out.
“If he’s got a niggly injury, fair enough, Bain’s come in and done as well as he could so there is options there but it is always going to be difficult to live up to Fraser Forster.”
Barkas has played 14 times for the Hoops since his move from AEK Athens, with eight clean sheets under his belt.
In other Celtic news, Alex McLeish has been shocked by rapid decline of senior Hoops star.