CRAIG GORDON has offered Vasilis Barkas advice on how to deal with the scrutiny of being Celtic’s No.1. The Hearts keeper has had his say on Barkas’ shaky start to life in Glasgow following a £4.5m move from AEK Athens in the summer. After Fraser Forster’s rejection and Gordon’s departure, they were always going to be big gloves to fill.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Gordon backed Barkas to come good by blocking out noise from those that criticise him.
“Trying to block out all the noise, that is part of the mentality, to carry on regardless, to do what you do well.
“There is always going to be so much scrutiny, so much online, everyone is going to have an opinion and it is very difficult to shut that out.
“You may not look at social media but one of your friends will text you what has been said and you see it anyway. It is very difficult to stay clear of all that stuff and not let it affect you.
“You have to have a great belief in yourself and your own ability to go out there and perform in what is a very pressurised situation.
“Overall I dealt with it fairly well but at times it does get very difficult. It is all about working hard in training and making sure you are ready for the games.
“There is no magic wand, no real piece of advice to help anyone with that.
“It is a very difficult place to be, such a pressurised job, especially at Rangers and Celtic where you only get one or two big actions to do in a match.
“It is something that takes a bit of getting used to so there are no real words of advice but I am sure he will come good.”
Gordon has experienced the pressure of a big fee and also suffering from a major injury as well. In August 2007, he earned a move to the English Premier League when Sunderland paid £9 million for his services, a then British record transfer fee for a goalkeeper. He made 88 top flight appearances during his time at the Stadium of Light and his stop against Bolton in 2010 was voted Best Save in Premier League history, before he departed the Black Cats in 2012.
A period of coaching followed while Craig completed his rehabilitation from injury and in 2014 he signed for Celtic, where he would go on to win six Premiership titles, five League Cups and three Scottish Cups as well as his place back in the national team, and a second SFWA Player of the Year award.
He is a good person to offer advice to Barkas and he is right that the Greek goalie will come good.