Micky Mellon thinks Benjamin Siegrist is the best goalkeeper in Scotland.
And I think the Dundee United man could be Celtic’s best bet come January.
I wasn’t shocked when I heard my old club were thinking about a move for Siegrist.
He’s a player I saw a few times in the flesh last season when Arbroath played United and he always impressed me.
He was very neat and tidy as a Championship keeper.
But he’s done exceptionally well this year for Dundee United.
He’s stepped it up a level – and when any player does that attention follows.
Calling him the best in the country might be over-egging it a bit.
But he’s a good size, he makes good saves, he gets about the goal, he’s – as I said before – neat and tidy, and he’s improving.
With that on one hand, Celtic possibly being on the lookout for a goalkeeper on the other and Dundee United likely to be keen on raising some cash, I can see why the link has been made.
Could it happen in January? I wouldn’t be surprised.
Yes, Celtic spent a lot of money on Vasilis Barkas in the summer and things haven’t really worked out too well for him so far.
But listen, sometimes it just doesn’t happen for certain players at certain clubs.
Every club wants every signing to be a success, but if you end up having to settle for five out of six, you’ll have done well.
Adapting can be a challenge
Especially with foreign players, there are a lot of factors at play.
There’s adapting to a different country, language, type of football, weather, culture… there are so many permutations.
It’s not just Scotland where players find it difficult to settle. It happens everywhere.
It’s happened at Celtic before!
The prime example from my time at the club is Juninho.
He was a World Cup winning Brazilian but it never really happened for him at Celtic.
That doesn’t mean he wasn’t a terrific player. He obviously was.
But sometimes things don’t fit – and that might be something Barkas is going through.
It’s unfortunate that things haven’t worked out for him at Celtic yet, but that’s the nature of signing somebody from abroad sometimes.
All he can do is keep his head down, keep working hard, keep being persistent.
That’s what I did in my career.
Listen, I made mistakes, but I kept playing, even though some people would have preferred it if I wasn’t playing.
When I made a mistake I was desperate to redeem myself the following week. That’s the nature of the game when you’re a goalkeeper.
With Barkas it has moved on from there. He has gone out of the team and young Conor Hazard, who we all know was very close to being at Dundee on loan again this season, has been thrown in.
The Cup Final could make him or break him.
At one point in last Sunday’s game you’re thinking: “He maybe could have done a bit better there,” but then he’s gone and saved two penalties, which is one more than Craig Gordon!
He’s helped Celtic into the history books now and nobody can take that away from him.
But he’s still a very young goalkeeper. He needs to be allowed to get on with it and improve.
He’ll know himself where he needs to work on his game.
If I had my time again, the thing I’d do differently is work harder in the gym.
I didn’t really get into the gym heavily until I was in my 30s at Leicester City and looking back, I wish I’d done it more when I was at Celtic.
That’s something I’d say to Conor – and maybe he’s already doing that.
It’s certainly something Siegrist looks like he’s been doing.
If it pays off in the form of a move to Celtic, it will have been well worth it.