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Fraser Forster happy to be ‘home’ at Celtic
The goalkeeper has rejoined the Scottish champions on loan from Southampton.
Fraser Forster claims walking out to a welcome-home reception at Celtic Park will be among his career highs.
But the goalkeeper has the immediate ambition of just getting back playing after returning to Glasgow.
Forster was paraded to the Celtic faithful at half-time during Thursday’s 2-0 Europa League win over AIK after re-signing for the club on loan from Southampton.
The 31-year-old helped Celtic win three titles and two Scottish Cups during his first, four-year spell at Parkhead before leaving for Saints in a £10million deal five years ago and was afforded a hero’s ovation.
The former Newcastle player has made 125 appearances for Southampton but only one since Boxing Day 2017 and he is desperate to get back to action.
“I just want to get playing and I am looking forward to being back at this club,” he said.
“Even the reception I got at the game spoke for itself. I feel like I have come home. I had so many great years before and I am just looking forward to playing at Celtic Park in front of those fans.
“Walking out in front of the fans was ultimately one of my best moments in football. You never get to do that and to get that reception was just something else. I had goosebumps all the time.
“It’s something you never get to do as a footballer so that was a very special moment.
“It’s a massive club but the fans are on a different level. The atmosphere on Thursday night was non-stop. I just think the fans are fantastic, they make the club.
“European nights, what the atmosphere is like, I don’t think anywhere in Europe matches it.”
Forster lost his place at Southampton to Alex McCarthy and then fell behind Angus Gunn in the pecking order.
“It’s been tough,” he said. “Apart from the time I was injured with my knee, I had played pretty much every game for the last 10 years, so not playing has been extremely hard. But I have learnt a lot about myself.
“It’s tough when you are used to playing but it’s part of football and hopefully that’s by me now.”
Forster was brought in on a season-long deal after Scott Bain was ruled out for another four to six weeks with a dislocated thumb and the Hexham-born keeper is determined to challenge Craig Gordon for the gloves ahead of Sunday’s visit of Hearts.
“I just want to get back here at a club that I love,” he said. “People obviously appreciated what I did before and I just want to get back playing.
“I’m not looking any further than Sunday’s game. I am good to go.
“I want to come and play football. I hate not playing. I want to get in the team and perform.
“Obviously we are blessed with some very big keepers. At a club of this nature and size you are always going to have good competition, whether it’s in goal or outfield. The squad is blessed with a lot of ability.
“I am up for the fight. I love to work hard so it’s not a problem.”
Forster admitted manager Neil Lennon was a major factor in his return.
“We have got a great connection,” he added. “Obviously we have been through a lot of things, we have had some fantastic results together and achieved a lot of things together.
“I absolutely love playing for him and working for him. He really instils that belief within me.
“We have always got on really well and he has always brought out the best in me.”