Exclusive: Pundit left drooling over 'Mental strength' of Celtic summer signing

Noel Whelan has been left raving over Celtic manager Neil Lennon’s decision to bring goalkeeper Fraser Forster back to the club over the summer.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Aberdeen and Livingston striker says that the shot-stopper is someone that Lennon clearly admires and trusts between the sticks, having had him during his first spell as manager at Parkhead.

Forster returned to Glasgow for a second spell on loan from Southampton over the summer, the giant keeper quickly establishing himself as Lennon’s first choice ahead of Scottish international’s Craig Gordon and Scott Bain.

Whelan says that the 31-year-old’s experience of being a Celtic player once before has been paramount to his successful return to Parkhead before heralding Lennon’s decision to take him back to the club.

Whelan told Football Insider: “Neil Lennon knew what he was getting, he had him for a very long time when he was manager the first time round. It’s not just about going out and getting young goalkeepers, you’re playing at a big club with massive demands.

“They’re not just going out window shopping and saying: ‘Oh, he’ll do.’ You’ve got to be able to get players with that character and mental strength to handle this sort of pressure. Knowing what you’re going to get and knowing he can handle it.

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“You’ve got a player there that loves to play for Neil Lennon, Neil Lennon loves this goalkeeper as a player and a person. Neil knows what he’s doing here.”

Forster has a total of 207 appearances under his belt since first arriving at Celtic back in 2010, with 10 of those coming during the 2019/20 campaign.

He was out of favour at Southampton before moving north of the border again, having managed to play just once last season and featuring on the bench just three times in the Premier League.

In other Celtic news, Jackie McNamara has reacted as a Hoops giant secures terms to leave Parkhead.