Alex McLeish believes Vasilis Barkas’ confidence must be at an all-time low at Celtic after being hit with a “bombshell” by manager Neil Lennon.
The former Rangers and Scotland boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, has questioned whether the goalkeeper has the mental strength to bounce back from being axed once again from the starting XI.
Speaking after Wednesday’s win over Hamilton, as quoted by the Daily Record, Lennon revealed he did not think the 26-year-old was “up to speed” and insisted there are several areas he needed to improve on.
The Greece international, who joined the Bhoys for £5million last summer, has failed to convince in his 20 appearances for the Hoops so far.
While he started the draw against Livingston last week, Barkas was dropped in favour of Scott Bain for Wednesday’s clash and has even been left out for young shot-stopper Conor Hazard this season.
McLeish admitted the pressure on Celtic and Rangers players can be “out of the stratosphere” and questioned if the Greek keeper would “survive” at Parkhead.
McLeish told Football Insider: “When you’re playing for the Old Firm – or in his case he’s not playing for the Old Firm – the pressure is massive and the pressure of being an above-average player is massive.
“The pressure of being a great player every single week is through the stratosphere – that’s the demands that these teams have and when you see him stuttering away a bit just now then I guess it could be a wee bit down to the individual, if he himself says: ‘I’ve got the determination to do this.’
“On the other side of the coin, it can crush you.
“The fact he’s has been dealt with this in and out blow, kept his place when we thought a couple of weeks ago he may have been changed, then he stayed in and now he’s been hit by this bombshell by the manager, the confidence just pours out of your body.
“It’ll be interesting to see if Barkas is a long-term survivor of the club.”