CELTIC legend Pat Bonner insists getting the right No.1 is Neil Lennon’s number one priority.

Ideally, the Hoops boss would want Fraser Forster to return to the club as the champions bid for a record-breaking TEN successive titles.

The 32-year-old six times-capped England international keeper looked to be poised to return to Parkhead on another temporary transfer, but he is reported to want a permanent deal.

Southampton are looking for something in the region of £6million for the netminder who is picking up a whopping £90,000 per week in a contract that still has two years to run.

The financial implications could rule out Lennon’s men from doing business at that level.

Last season, the towering shotstopper was the man in charge with cameo appearances from Scott Bain and Craig Gordon.

The on-loan ace played in 39 games, Bain in eight and Gordon, who has signed a two-year deal with Hearts, in six.

Bonner, who won 80 caps for the Republic of Ireland, told the Daily Record: “When you are going for championships at any time, but especially this 10 in a row, Celtic are going to need someone who fits exactly the right profile needed.

“It’s making the big saves, but also about fitting into Celtic, which is really difficult because you really need to have superb concentration levels to go with your ability.

“There’s no point in standing around out there in games for long spells and then, when the big moment arrives, you can’t make that save. You have to be able to do it and that is the difference between being at the big clubs in general than the rest playing at the smaller clubs when you have a lot more to do.

“I’ve seen it before. Some goalkeepers have been making 20 saves a game at the smaller clubs, but then they go to Celtic or another big club and they can’t handle being idle for periods of time.

“That’s the first thing for whoever comes in. They have to fit the profile. The second thing is the way the game has changed, you need someone who is competent, who is calm and who can make decisions as well as having the technical ability to pass that ball out.

“We know they need a goalkeeper who can keep the ball out of the net, but also one who can play a certain way. The goalkeeper is now a support player for the attacking side. He’s really a defensive player, but now also a support and to build any top team, a No.1 is a major part of that.

“After all of that combination, it then comes down to that someone being a goalkeeper who can win you the trophies. Those big games matter.

“You need that guy who can be there for the team. The guy who can dig the rest out of a hole on a day when perhaps they are not playing so well and they need their goalkeeper to step up.

“If Fraser doesn’t return and Craig has gone, can Scott step up to play in a team in all of the competitions? Or if they bring someone in, can they fit that profile?”

Bonner added: “It’s never easy when you are going into a club where you had previous goalkeepers that everyone was happy with. Looking at the way Neil thinks, I feel he likes a big commanding goalkeeper.

“Whoever comes in, if it’s someone new to it, the first five or six games will be so important for their confidence to settle into things.

“Fraser had a clean sheet against Rangers at Ibrox in his second game back last season. That was him feeling at home again straight away.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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