Goalkeeper Scott Bain is not to blame for the recent poor form at Celtic despite conceding five goals in his last two games, according to Noel Whelan.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Aberdeen and Leeds striker did admit that the Hoops are missing former shot-stopper Fraser Forster between the sticks.
Speaking to the Scottish Sun, manager Neil Lennon revealed he had seen a “real sea change” in Bain’s attitude since the Southampton loanee’s departure and the arrival of Vasilis Barkas.
Forster spent last season on loan at Parkhead but returned to Southampton in the summer.
Neil Lennon brought in Vasilis Barkas from AEK Athens to replace the Englishman but he has missed the last two games with injury.
Bain has stepped up in his absence but has conceded five goals as Celtic earned draws with Aberdeen and Lille.
He saved a penalty against the French side on Thursday and Lennon suggested Bain may retain his place even when Barkas returns to full fitness.
Asked by Football Insider whether Celtic still miss the presence of Forster, Whelan said: “Yes I think so.
“Not just his presence because he’s a big man, but his agility, his experience. He’s a leader at the back, as well he talks to his defence.
“When you miss a big personality like that, they’re big boots to fill. He was tremendous for them, when you’ve got a goalkeeper like that it helps your defence massively.
“It’d be massively unfair to criticise the goalkeeper so early on in the season because the mistakes aren’t really coming from him.
“It’s defensive wise, penalty wise, lack of concentration. I’m sure if Foster was in goal he’d be shouting at them, saying the same thing, telling them to defend better.”
Speaking of Bain, Lennon said: “Scott was always in and around it anyway. He’s trained well and the time between coming back in June. I think there has been a real sea change in his attitude to his work.”