John Hartson has suggested that goalkeeper Scott Bain should be axed from Celtic’s starting line-up for the Europa League clash against Valencia on Thursday night – and he couldn’t be any more wrong.
Bain, 27, has emerged as Brendan Rodgers’ first-choice goalkeeper since the end of the winter break and he is yet to concede a single goal.
He has kept seven clean sheets in both the Scottish Premiership and Scottish Cup and there is no way that he deserves to be dropped for the round of 32 meeting with Valencia this week.
Ex-Celtic striker Hartson believes that Craig Gordon should return to the starting line-up citing the Scotland international’s experience.
However we simply cannot agree with that, especially when Hartson himself admits that Bain has been superb.
“Now, most fans might disagree with me on this first big call, because a lot of supporters I believe would give Scott Bain the nod to start, and I agree that he has been outstanding since he came into the side,” said Hartson on the Glasgow Evening Times website.
He added: “Personally though, I would lean towards big Craig Gordon, simply because I believe his experience gives him the edge for a game of this magnitude.
“Gordon has played in a lot of big European matches, and he has also been an international goalkeeper for years. It is a difficult call, because Bain has been playing regularly and that is important for a goalkeeper, but the fact that Gordon has been there before and made those outstanding saves throughout his career on the big stage makes me lean towards him.”
Gordon, 36, has been very error prone in the last couple of years and while he is still a good goalkeeper, it is about time that Brendan Rodgers starts to look towards the future.
Bain is already as good as, if not better, than Gordon, plus he is nine years younger and has a deal with the Hoops that lasts until 2022, while Gordon will enter the final year of his contract in the summer.
Starting Bain in these games is not just a good short-term strategy but it is also something that could pay off massively in the long-term.
Hartson knows his stuff but he even admits that his opinion will not go down well with a good number of the Celtic fans.
It would not go down well with the Celtic defence if it happened either because a goalkeeper that is playing regularly is almost always going to do better than an error-prone one who will have to shake off a bit of rust if he is thrown straight into the starting line-up.