The season Scott Bain has had could be turned into a Hollywood movie.
The 26-year-old goalkeeper started the campaign as No.1 for Dundee before everything began to quickly unravel.
During the half-time interval of the Dark Blues’ 3-1 defeat to Hamilton in October, Bain was accused of swearing at his manager, Neil McCann. His punishment was severe.
The shot-stopper was fined two-weeks wages by the club, was subsequently dropped for Elliot Parish and didn’t feature in the match-day squad after the loss.
As soon as the January transfer window reopened, Bain returned to Edinburgh, his hometown, to join Hibernian on a six-month loan deal. However, that didn’t last long and on deadline day Neil Lennon agreed to cut the move short to allow Celtic to sign the keeper on loan for the remainder of the season.
The Bhoys smoothed things over with their former manager by allowing midfielder Scott Allan to join Hibs on loan.
Brendan Rodgers needed cover between the sticks with Craig Gordon out with a knee injury. Dorus de Vries was expected to keep goal with Bain as his deputy but the day prior to the Glasgow derby in March, the on-loan stopper was thrust into the spotlight with the 37-year-old unable to shake off an injury.
The start couldn’t have been any worse. Bain was picking the ball out of the back of his net inside three minutes after Josh Windass capitalised on a Dedryck Boyata mistake. It would have been easy for the former Aberdeen man to wilt in the hostile Ibrox environment but he didn’t. He stood tall and thwarted the home side on a number of occasions.
He certainly caught the eye of Rodgers: “I thought Scott Bain was absolutely outstanding last week to come into a game of that magnitude. If you can play in that game as a Celtic player away at Ibrox with that atmosphere against your biggest rivals, then you know you can play in any game of football for Celtic.
“It’s difficult to come in as back-up goalkeeper, but the likes of (goalkeeping coach) Stevie Woods, who has known him longer than I, have always said that he’s a player that could play for us.
“Sometimes someone’s misfortune means good fortune for you and that was the way it worked out for Scott. It happened naturally that he got in and I thought his performance and temperament in that game showed me everything to say that he can play for Celtic.”
Bain impressed so much that there are calls for him to start in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers, even though Gordon has returned to full fitness. From third choice at Dundee to rivalling Gordon for a start in a must-win match for the Hoops; it’s quite the turnaround.
So could he be Rodgers’ first choice next season? We’ve taken a detailed look his audition so far.
Could Bain be No.1 for Celtic?
Gone are the days that goalkeepers are judged purely on what they do between the posts, especially if they’re turning out for one of the better teams in a division. What they can do with their feet is just as important as what they can do with their hands.
Bain has showed he can make superb saves but it’s what he does with the ball that could be the reason he starts the 2018/19 campaign as Rodgers’ No.1 at Parkhead.
The Bhoys boss has always been a fan of having a ball-playing shot-stopper at his disposal – while at Liverpool he mentioned having an 11th outfield player in the shape of Pepe Reina. The way in which the former Swansea City boss wants to play football requires everyone in his squad to be comfortable and composed when in possession – even the keepers.
Gordon and de Vries can play football but they are by no means as confident or as a natural as Bain is with the ball at his feet.
In the picture above, Boyata has passed it back to the Dundee loanee. Ross County are in a good pressing areas and are looking to force Bain long.
Many in this scenario would just want to get rid. But his first touch, which he knocks to his left, opens play up. It’s intelligent on his part because it gets the ball from under his feet and it takes it away from the centre of his goal.
Bain has worked himself into a good position even though the ball is on his weaker foot. There are no easy passes on due to how Ross County have set themselves up to press, yet he remains calm before effortlessly floating a ball out to the left.
It’s an accurate pass which is easily controlled and Celtic can build from a midfield position having seen Bain’s pass take out four Ross County players and creating gaps in central areas.
It’s that sort of composure Rodgers will want from his goalkeeper. Furthermore, it’s natural.
During his time at Liverpool he attempted to coach Simon Mingolet so that the Belgian was confident in possession. But it always looked fake and often did more harm than good.
But you can see in the picture above that Bain wants to be utilised as an outfield player when Celtic have possession and are being hounded down.
Motherwell are pressing high up but the keeper shows a desire to take on the ball, offering himself up for a pass. He’s ignored and possession moves to the right, but he doesn’t stop. The 26-year-old makes a passing angle incase he’s required again. It’s rare to find a goalkeeper who plays in such a way.
He’s got all the characteristics to be first-choice for Rodgers and on a free transfer he could be one of the shrewdest signings of the summer for the soon to be Scottish Premiership champions.
It would be a fairytale ending to Bain’s Hollywood movie if the Bhoys secured him on a permanent deal.