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JUST CAPITAL: FORSTER’S EURO DREAM

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FRASER FORSTER’S last “home” appearance in a European tie for Celtic was at Murrayfield on August 6 2014.

The team, with new man Ronny Delia in charge, had moved to the national rugby stadium with Celtic Park still unplayable after hosting the closing event of the Commonwealth Games.

It was a bizarre night altogether in Edinburgh for the towering English keeper as the Hoops went down 2-0 to the Poles after losing the first leg 4-1.

Of course, the Hoops were re-instated after Legia were punished for fielding an ineligible player as a late substitute when the outcome of the tie had been settled.

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT…Fraser Forster is beaten by Legia Warsaw’s Michal Zyro for the opening goal
in the 2-0 loss at Murrayfield in August 2014.

By the time UEFA had taken action, Forster was heading for Southampton in a £10million deal and Craig Gordon, coming back from a career-threaning injury, had taken over the gloves at the champions.

In one of football’s little quirks, Forster was back in the Celtic goal in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Rennes in the opening match of the Europa League group while Gordon was on the substitutes’ bench.

The encounter in France was the skyscraper shotstopper’s 33rd European game for the Glasgow giants.

Now the on-loan custodian, who rejoined the club from the south coast outfit just before the transfer deadline, is looking forward to playing at Parkhead as Neil Lennon’s men continue their European adventure.

The Hoops face Champions League conquerors Cluj in the east end of Glasgow a week on Thursday and the six times-capped England international, 31, is getting ready to sample that heady atmosphere of these special evenings.

Forster, speaking to the club website, said: “We can be really positive, looking at the Europa League. It was a good first result away from home. We were very much in the game for the full 90 minutes and on another night we would have won that game.

“It’s always good to get a point away from home. We’ve got off the mark, got the ball rolling and, looking at the rest of the group, there’s no reason why we can’t be really positive and try to pick up a lot of points.

“Everyone knows how special it is here. Under the lights on a European night at Celtic Park, it’s one of those occasions I can’t wait for.

“To have that opportunity to get back out there is great and I can’t wait, although, obviously, we’ve got a couple of games before then that we need to do the business in.”

HOLD ON…comeback Bhoy Fraser Forster makes a save in the 1-0 win over Hamilton Accies.

Forster added: “Cluj beating Lazio was maybe a result that people didn’t expect,. Obviously, the lads have faced Cluj before, we’ve seen what they’re about and on another day, we would have beaten them and progressed in the Champions League.

“There is nothing to fear. We’re in a good place as a team and wherever we go, whether it’s Lazio or Cluj, or if we’re playing at home, we’ve got nothing to be afraid of and we can go into those games really wanting to win.

“I don’t know if it’s a score to settle. That game’s been and gone and it’s funny that we’re now meeting in the Europa League. It’s just a case of us going out and knowing what we want to do, and play to the standard we know we can play at, and the levels we’ve set.

“If we do that, I’m confident we’ll come out of the game with a very positive result.”

 
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