Online reports suggest that our big keeper will start today on the bench and that Leigh Griffiths will not be in the squad at all.
I am always leery of these sort of leaks.
If social media has this information hours before kick-off something has gone wrong somewhere at Celtic Park and those responsible for letting that information out should be found and punished.
It is tempting to simply dismiss this as mere speculation, but in fact leaving Barkas on the bench is something this site predicted earlier in the week.
It just makes good sense.
He’s not been in training with the rest of the team, he’s not played behind this defence, and it’s sensible to leave him as a sub until such time as he’s more integrated with the squad.
But leaving Griffiths out of the squad entirely … I would find that a little harder to believe, and especially as we can name nine subs and use five of them.
Unless the player was manifestly unfit, and he didn’t look it during the Hibs friendly, such a decision would only create headlines, and fan speculation, and wholly un-necessarily.
Lennon was praising Griffiths only last week, and I would, therefore, be absolutely astonished if he chose to publicly snub him, for that is what it would be.
Don’t get me wrong, I like that the manager has shown some steel here and given the players food for thought by spelling out what standards are expected of them. Leigh has suffered a ridiculous amount of criticism over the last few weeks though, and just as it is dying down a move such as this would re-open the wound and start the speculation all over again.
Unless he is injured or there’s been some further infraction – and I am well aware that I might be starting a new series of rumours just writing that, because there are too many febrile minds out there – I cannot see how such a move would be justified or in our best interests.
We’ll know shortly I suppose, but I will be amazed if this turns out to be true.
Not only do I expect Griffiths in the squad, but I’ll be disappointed if we’ve ditched the two up front which got us so many goals last year.
Which means, if he’s fit and up for it, I’d hope we’d start him.
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