However, one Celtic man who was keen on Forster returning was the one who was most important, Neil Lennon. Lennon, it seems, had always been a fan of Forster and managed to land the stopper on another season long loan early into Celtic’s season, before European qualifiers which had ended Lukasz Zaluska’s hopes of becoming number 1 just 12 months earlier. Forster was this time given the number 1 jersey and pitched in against Sion at Celtic Park
After a particularly lacklustre start to the season for Celtic where they picked up 2 draws and 3 losses in their first 12 games, Celtic then embarked on what has turned out to be an impressive 12 game winning streak in which Forster has played a big part. Up until the start of the run many had maintained that he was not “Celtic class.” Most agreed that he had been relatively consistent without displaying anything outstanding, but recently he has removed the so called jitters that many Celtic fans had come to fear.
Celtic picked up their first 5 wins of this current run without any real problems. Game 6 presented a challenge when Celtic faced Hearts at Celtic Park. A second half Victor Wanyama wonder goal had Celtic in the lead but as the game neared the end Hearts won penalty. It looked like our winning streak was to come to an end.
Eggert Jonsson stepped up and the crowd felt that a goal seemed inevitable. Fraser Forster obviously disagreed and made a reputation defining save low on his left hand side. It was a turning point in the keeper’s Celtic career.
The following game Celtic travelled to face an Udinese side who were top of Serie A and expected by many (especially Rangers fans) to turn over Celtic. Celtic took the lead but Udinese replied shortly before half-time and despite arguably having the better of early proceedings the bhoys were facing a period of sustained pressure.
Antonio Di Natale, considered by many to be one of the most deadly strikers in Europe went one on one with the Celtic keeper. Forster not only pulled off an impressive stop but when the ball came back in from Di Natale with a free header towards goal it was brilliantly saved by the big keeper.
Those back to back performances made the Parkhead faithful reassess their view of him and since then it seems that his confidence has grown and grown.
Those performances against Hearts and Udinese as well as others against Rangers and most recently St. Mirren have made me realise that Forster is a keeper who can turn a lose into a draw, and a draw into a win. His save against Jon Daly in the recent match against Dundee United is a perfect example of his worth to the side. A 2-1 victory could easily have turned into a disappointing 2-2 draw if not for the brilliant instincts of the big man. These are the kind of performances which had the Scottish media calling Allan McGregor the best keeper in the SPL.
We now find ourselves in the January transfer window and many of the one-time doubters amongst the Celtic support are now calling for the alleged £2 million buy-out clause in his loan deal to be activated. Many more feel he is now the best in Scotland and possibly even the best goalkeeper England have beside the world class Joe Hart.
Regardless of these claims there is one point we can all agree on – Fraser Forster is now a match winning goalkeeper.