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Lennon believes Forster will stay for now


NEIL LENNON is confident that Fraser Forster will still be a Celtic player when the transfer window closes on Friday night.

The former Newcastle 'keeper was in outstanding form yesterday as Celtic beat Hibs 4-0 to maintain their unbeaten record in the SPFL.

Forster pulled off three outstanding saves early in the second half with Celtic leading 1-0 thanks to a ninth-minute goal from Kris Commons (pictured).

"I've said all along that we're pretty confident that he'll be here when the window closes," Lennon replied to speculation that bids could come in for Forster this week.

"It wouldn't surprise me if an offer came in, but we're not encouraging them.

"We spoke to Fraser in the summer, we emphasised our position and he was quite happy with that. I know that he has personal aims for the future, but he is really happy here, his short term future is certainly (here)."

Looking at Forster's 66th minute save from Sam Stanton, Lennon added: "You have to take your hat off to the goalkeeper, not many can make saves like that.

"He has to have strong concentration to just switch on like that and be the barrier that he is.

"It looked a goal all that way, how he got his hand to it and pushed it away I don't know. It was a fantastic effort from the kid.

"Goalkeepers and defenders take a lot of pride from clean sheets, we weren't at our best defensively today, but that's when your goalkeeper gets called upon. It's not often you go on a run like this."

Whether a bid in the region of €10m is forthcoming remains to be seen, but it looks certain that the Geordie will follow Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama to England at some stage this year.

For 76 minutes yesterday, the points were in the balance as Celtic held onto Commons' ninth minute strike when he took advantage of a clash between two defenders to control the breaking ball and steer a left-footed shot low beyond Hibs 'keeper Ben Williams.

Forster was in outstanding form with two saves within 60 seconds denying Abdellah Zoumir and Stanton.

Ten minutes later, the game was virtually over when Virgil van Dijk sent a 25-yard free-kick high into the net with Williams left helpless.

Celtic showed their ruthless streak in the closing stages when Teemu Pukki rifled in a diagonal 18-yard drive, with Commons completing the scoring in the 90th minute from the penalty spot.

The scoreline may have flattered the visitors, but with 11 consecutive wins in the SPFL behind them, backed up by nine clean sheets, the stats speak for themselves as Celtic close in on their third consecutive championship.