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Forster relishes Celtic's 'underdog' status

Monday 11 February 2013 13.08 CET
Fraser Forster speaks to UEFA.com

Celtic FC's UEFA Champions League campaign has hinged on overcoming the odds, with a long-awaited away victory and a shock triumph over FC Barcelona the standout moments.

Having had time to bask in the afterglow of their group stage performance, Neil Lennon's men are readying themselves for another testing assignment, one in which they will once more have to defy expectation: a round of 16 tie against Serie A leaders Juventus, beginning in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Entering matches as second favourites is something which suits the Bhoys just fine, though, according to goalkeeper Fraser Forster. "We've gone into every Champions League game probably as underdogs ever since we qualified, so that has kind of worked in our favour in a lot of ways," Forster, who made his comeback on Saturday after five weeks out with a neck injury, told UEFA.com.

"We've got great belief as a squad in our ability, and great confidence as a team, so that has been really important for us, and we haven't really had too much external pressure on ourselves to pick up three points."

The 24-year-old Forster has been instrumental in Celtic reaching this knockout stage for the first time since 2008, with the Spanish press dubbing the English custodian 'La Gran Muralla' (the great wall) for his displays in both Group G matches against Barcelona – a 2-1 away loss and 2-1 home win.

A shot-stopper whose stock is on the rise, former Newcastle United FC and Norwich City FC player Forster is now looking forward to testing himself against a man who has been at the peak of his profession since his teens: Juventus and Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon.

"Over the last ten to 15 years he has been right at the top of his game and probably, arguably, one of the best keepers in the world," said Forster of his opposite number. "So it'll be great to play against him and get to meet him, but obviously it'll be important for us to try and get something out of that game."

Watch the video above to hear the full interview with Celtic's No1.

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