BRENDAN RODGERS produced a surprise signing in mid-August 2016 when he unveiled 35-year-old keeper Dorus de Vries as his latest recruit.
The Dutchman, who had been at Swansea when the new Hoops gaffer was in charge of the Welsh club, joined from Nottingham Forest and went straight into the first team for the Premiership game against Aberdeen.
Celtic won 4-1 and the new Bhoy, who had a previous one-season stint in Scotland with Dunfermline 10 years earlier, said afterwards: “I need to earn this jersey. It’s as simple as that.”
The match against the Dons was one of only 15 appearances by the towering netminder in his three years at Parkhead before he left and decided to retire at the age of 38.
SAFE HANDS…Dorus de Vries dives to repel an Inverness Caley Thistle raid.
The Celtic fans were not convinced over De Vries’ qualities and some of his weaknesses were cruelly exposed in the 7-0 Champions League thrashing from Barcelona in the Nou Camp a month after his arrival. Rodgers’ team were shredded by Messi, Neymar and Suarez as the goals rained in.
The beginning of the end for the keeper came during a league game against Kilmarnock in September. He was substituted at half-time after allowing a long-range drive to elude his grasp for the visitors’ only goal in their 6-1 loss.
Craig Gordon came on in his place and was basically first choice from then on in and became a key player in the Invincibles’ season when Celtic swept all before them on the home front.
Rodgers brought in Scott Bain on loan from Dundee in January 2018 and De Vries faded from the first-team picture.
He didn’t play a solitary first-team game in season 2018/19 before leaving at the end of his contract and hanging up his gloves.
* TOMORROW: Don’t miss the adventures of another former Celt in CQN’s EXCLUSIVE series.