Fraser has no fear over task ahead

Celtic keeper Fraser Forster believes that no-one will see the Parkhead side as an easy option in the knockout phase of the Champions League.

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Forster is confident Celtic can be a match for anyone in the last 16
Forster is confident Celtic can be a match for anyone in the last 16

Neil Lennon's side have booked their place in the last 16 of Europe's top competition and, while few would have expected them to come this far, Forster insists there will be no inferiority complex – no matter who they face.

Having conquered Barcelona at Celtic Park – and come within a whisker of taking a point in the Nou Camp – the Parkhead keeper expects Celtic to move forward with genuine belief.

Forster has no personal preference when it comes to the names that may come out of the hat on December 20 – Manchester United, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Malaga, Schalke and PSG – but he does expect Neil Lennon's men to put up a fight.

He said: "Hopefully everyone has seen just how tough a place this is to come to and we'd fancy our chances against anyone.

"You see on the night of the Barcelona game just how loud and colourful the stadium can be and the kind of energy definitely comes through to the players, too.

"I don't know what we are hoping for. It is exciting that we are in there."

Making it into the latter stages of the tournament, a feat they have achieved just twice before, is worth a massive £21m windfall to the club so far this season, but it is the prestige on the field that Forster wants to savour.

The keeper has been one of the standout stars in the Champions League and it is his performances in that arena that have earned him some international recognition.

He has forced himself into the England camp on the back of what he has done against the highest opposition in Europe, but it is the team as a whole that the Englishman believes deserves to be recognised.

"We have worked so hard in the group and we're thrilled to be in there with the best teams in the world," he said.

"The manager was delighted in the dressing room afterwards and you can understand why.

"I think he can see that the team is developing and improving all the time and this shows just how far we have come in such a short time."

Forster also revealed that it was only after the game that he realised just how vital Kris Commons' penalty kick was.

He said: "When I heard the crowd cheer, I just assumed that Barcelona had scored," he laughed. "I was really surprised when I came off the pitch and heard that it had finished 0-0.

"It was only later on I realised just how vital it was."


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