There’s a lot of talk since last night about David Marshall, and the heroic role he played in getting Scotland to the Euros with his excellent save in the penalty shoot-out, coming on top of a very good performance in the game itself.
He, some fans think, is the keeper we should have signed this summer.
There’s an argument for that. I said so at the time. He is a known quality. He is also a home grown and club produced player and would have counted towards that quotient in Europe. There was a lot to credit about the idea, all except for his age.
But we weren’t exactly idle on the goalkeeper front. We wanted Forster and he was our absolute first choice.
We tried our best to bring him back to the club, and on a permanent deal, not just as a loanee. He led Lennon to believe that he was up for it and then changed his mind at the last minute when the prospect of first team football down there was dangled before him.
I understand that. He saw the chance to be an international again, and those were exactly the qualities we had wanted to sign him for. But our Plan B wasn’t exactly cheap. We went out and spend real money, big money, on Vasilis Barkas.
He’s had a shaky start, as everyone knows. The question is, is he a better goalkeeper than the Scotland number one who played last night? The answer is that we don’t know yet. Barkas also played this week, and his place as Greece’s number one is secure enough.
We do this to ourselves a lot. We torture ourselves on the road not taken, and I’m as guilty as anyone. I watched the Scotland game last night with mounting frustration at the excellent performance from John McGinn, who this site is, was and will always be a massive fan of … but that ship has sailed and it’s never coming back. We’ve made choices.
On Barkas I still don’t know what we’ve got or whether the choice we made was the right one.
It’s way too early to say that it’s the wrong one, although the media will find a few people over the next few days who are willing to try. There’s no doubt about that.
But Barkas needs our support, and the support of the club, as he goes through his settling in period.
His confidence has been dented; for a goalkeeper, more than any other position, that’s bad news … but he will have to dig deep and find it again because he’s our number one and we paid big bucks to get him for that spot.