Andy Walker: Fraser Forster can make history for Celtic against Hearts
Celtic's Fraser Forster can make history on Saturday before focusing new goals, says Andy Walker.
Last Updated: 18/02/14 1:38pm
Sky's live SPFL offering this weekend comes from Edinburgh where a young Hearts side played host to Celtic recently in the Scottish Cup and were thumped 7-0 on their own turf.
That humiliating episode will be fresh in their minds as they tackle the champions-elect but all eyes will be on Forster as he attempts to exceed 1,155 minutes without conceding a goal.
The big Englishman has developed his game during his time in Scotland but the big question is whether or not he is good enough to start for Roy Hodgson's men in the World Cup?
In my view, Joe Hart, despite some regular high-profile slip ups earlier this season, will be Hodgson's first choice. But if the England manager was thinking of making a change, I reckon Forster has the ability and temperament to handle the big occasion just as much as John Ruddy.
Forster broke into Hodgson's squad last October before making his debut in a friendly against Chile last November so he's relatively inexperienced.
But club football doesn't get more testing then the Champions League and in this arena, Forster has shown he can make saves on the big occasion.
He has been outstanding against Barcelona when they totally dominated against Celtic in Europe's elite competition and has also shown up well against Benfica, Spartak Moscow, AC Milan and Ajax.
Naturally, the level of competition in the Scottish Premiership cannot compare with the extraordinary amount of talent in the Barclays Premier League but Forster's level of concentration is very impressive.
Just as it can happen so often in international football, goalkeepers can be idle for very long spells but are then suddenly called into action. It's fair to say that Forster has been idle for long spells playing for a dominant Celtic side but the saves he makes are outstanding.
Forster would be the first to acknowledge that this terrific shut-out record is not just down to him. He has excellent protection in front of him where Celtic have had a very settled back four this season.
The likelihood is that Forster will leave Celtic soon. You can guarantee that he will look back on his time in the Scottish game as a great period for his development as a top-class keeper.
When you look around the Barclays Premier League now, there are plenty of goalkeepers who have honed their skills north of the border.
Hull City's Alan McGregor was magnificent with Rangers and Scotland, and would probably still be there if the Ibrox club hadn't gone into liquidation; Newcastle's Tim Krul had an impressive season with Falkirk on loan and John Ruddy had the same experience with Motherwell before his move to Norwich City.
Julian Speroni had a few seasons with Dundee before earning a move to Crystal Palace and David Marshall at Cardiff City enjoyed a memorable game at Ibrox against Rangers before keeping a clean sheet in the Nou Camp against Barcelona for Celtic.