NEIL LENNON has delivered the latest put-down aimed at £4.5million misfit Vasilis Barkas.

The Greek international failed to convince after arriving from AEK Athens as the most expensive goalkeeper in the Parkhead club’s history in July 2020.

Celtic were left in the lurch – as supremo Dermot Desmond revealed earlier this month, as reported by CQN – when Fraser Forster performed a shock u-turn to reject a loan extension to return to parent club Southampton and Craig Gordon had already rejoined Hearts after coming out of contract.

That left Lennon with just Scott Bain and Irish rookie Conor Hazard to compete for the No.1 jersey.

I’M IN CHARGE…Neil Lennon is now boss of Cypriot outfit Omonia Nicosia. 

Barkas was flagged up – NOT by ex-top talent scout Nicky Hammond who had been a netminder in his playing days – and the Northern Irishman accepted the individual’s recommendation.

But the 27-year-old shotstopper was far from impressive right from the start of his Hoops career and Bain and Hazard made first-team appearances throughout the ill-fated campaign.

Barkas was ditched from the team that played Robbie Neilson’s Tynecastle outfit in the delayed 2020 Scottish Cup Final with the quadruple treble up for grabs.

Hazard got the nod and he is in the history books with two penalty saves in the spot-kick shoot-out following the 3-3 extra-time stalemate as Kristoffer Ajer blasted the decisive effort beyond former team-mate Gordon for the club’s twelfth successive domestic honour.

THE FINAL FLING…Vasilis Barkas is beaten by a St Johnstone effort in his last appearance for Celtic in the 3-1 win in Perth on Boxing Day.

Lennon, now managing in Cyprus at Omonia Nicosia, has admitted he would have loved to have “had Joe Hart last season”.

The ex-gaffer, who departed the club on February 23 last year only two days after a dismal 1-0 defeat at Sunday’s opponents Ross County, said: “Ange’s been a breath of fresh air. I think his style of football is great to watch.

“I think he’s a genuinely a really good guy. I’ve spoken to him on a lot of occasions.

“He’s rebuilt the squad, which needed doing, everybody knew that. But I think some of the players he’s brought in have been fantastic.

“I really like Kyogo Furuhashi and I wish I’d had Joe Hart last season!

“Ange is on the cusp now of winning the title which would be a remarkable achievement.”

WE’RE BEHIND YOU…Celtic fans support Joe Hart who has solved the No.1 problem.

The Hoops are, of course, within touching distance of the Premiership crown with just five games to go, and Lennon, speaking to PLZ, added: “You never say it’s over until it’s over, but you’ve got six points and a really good goal difference.

“Obviously, losing the semi-final is a sore one, but, over the piece, they’ve been so consistent since October.

“Psychologically, the win against Rangers in February was a huge shot in the arm for the club and Ange himself.

“They’ve been imperious domestically up until Sunday.”

As for Barkas, it’s clear he has no future at Celtic and has made only two appearances in the top side since the June appointment of Postecoglou. He still has a year of a lucrative deal to run, but is likely to be on his way in the summer.

Hart is the confirmed No.1 with Scott Bain as back-up. England Youth international Tobi Oluwayemi, 18, has been promoted to training with the first-team squad while Hazard agreed a season-long loan deal with HJK Helsinki at the turn of the year.

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