Celtic confirmed the loan signing of goalkeeper Fraser Forster from Southampton yesterday, with the 31-year-old returning for a second spell with the Scottish champions.
BBC reported that a season-long loan deal for the England international had been finalised shortly before Celtic’s Europa League play-off first leg against AIK, during which he was presented to the Celtic Park crowd at half-time.
BBC quoted Hoops manager Neil Lennon as saying: “Fraser was available, he knows the club, we know him. He had a wonderful time here the first time and he’s still at his peak.”
Forster left Celtic five years ago for Southampton in a £10m deal, having played with the Hoops for four seasons.
Forster then racked up 125 appearances for Southampton but played only once for the club last season after falling behind Alex McCarthy and Angus Gunn in the pecking order.
The 31-year-old’s arrival brings Celtic’s goalkeeping options up to three players, with Forster joining Scott Bain and Craig Gordon.
Bain has become first choice between the sticks, playing in every Premiership game since January, but that sequence could come to an end against Hearts on Sunday as he is currently out with a dislocated thumb, as reported by The Sun.
In 45 games for Celtic, he has conceded only 25 goals (0.56 per game) and kept 27 clean sheets (60% of appearances), but has shipped nine goals in his seven games for the Hoops so far this season (1.29 per game), with only two shutouts (22.2% of games).
Gordon, a veteran of 239 games for the club, came into the team for the match against AIK last night and has a record of 190 goals conceded for Celtic (0.79 per game) and 120 clean sheets (50.2% of games).
While Bain has the best overall concession and clean sheet rate of the three goalkeepers, Forster’s statistics from his first spell at Celtic are very similar to Gordon’s during his time in Glasgow.
With reserve team ‘keeper Conor Hazard being called up to the bench for last night’s match, Celtic had been left very short on goalkeeping options before Forster arrived, and the England man seems like a capable pair of hands in the battle with Gordon to be Bain’s primary backup once the latter comes back from injury.
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