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BARKAS MYSTERY DEEPENS

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VASILIS BARKAS, the most expensive goalkeeper in Celtic’s history, was nowhere to be seen for the second successive game when caretaker boss John Kennedy saw his team beat Aberdeen 1-0 at Parkhead at the weekend to please punters using their smarkets offer on the match.

The £4.5million keeper, signed from AEK Athens in the summer, had been left out by Neil Lennon for the previous encounter where the champions flopped to a 1-0 loss to Ross County in Dingwall on Sunday night.

There hadn’t even been a place on the substitutes’ bench for Barkas in the Highlands and there was ill-informed speculation he might get the nod to return following the Irishman’s departure in midweek.

THE LAST FAREWELL…Vasilis Barkas comes off the pitch at Livingston following the 2-2 draw in January.

However, interim gaffer Kennedy again went with Scott Bain in goal with Conor Hazard, the hero of the Scottish Cup Final penalty-kick win over Hearts, once more named as stand-by.

There has been no explanation from the club at the non-appearances of Barkas who has been less than convincing since his big-money arrival, a fact which was highlighted in a CQN special in January.

The 26-year-old netminder has conceded 21 goals from only 49 attempts on goal which means nearly every second effort on target results in a goal. It’s a startling statistic which could lead to an early exit for the 6ft-plus international who still has three years to run on a lucrative contract.

Lennon axed Barkas from the starting line-up for the delayed Scottish Cup silverware showdown with the Tynecastle outfit five days before Christmas.

I’M IN CHARGE…Scott Bain has played in the last nine games.

With the unprecedented achievement of the quadruple treble on the line, the boss opted for 22-year-old Northern Irishman Hazard for only his third first-team outing and was rewarded when the youngster saved two penalty-kicks in the dramatic shoot-out triumph after the 3-3 extra-time stalemate.

Barkas, who had been on the bench at the national stadium, returned for the January 2 outing at Ibrox and was beaten by an unfortunate deflection from Callum McGregor for the only goal of the match.

He played in the 2-2 draw against Livingston in West Lothian on January 16 where the home side only had two shots on target. He was dropped to make way for Bain who has now played in the last nine games and conceded five goals.

Meanwhile, Barkas, with only seven league games to play, has dropped off the radar which adds fuel to reports in his homeland that he has no future at Parkhead.

 

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