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  • The Story of… Fraser ‘La Gran Muralla' Forster

    The Story of… Fraser ‘La Gran Muralla' Forster

    By: Tony Connelly on 25 Mar, 2020 17:01

  • 'The Story Of' is a web series dedicated to small but special tales from Celtic’s illustrious history. Here, Fraser Forster talks us through that famous performance against Barcelona. 

    Celtic’s UEFA Champions League win over Barcelona in 2012 was one of the most incredible European nights in recent memory for Hoops supporters. The effort from the players that night was immense, none more so than Fraser Forster who acquired the nickname ‘La Gran Muralla' (The Great Wall) from the Catalan media for his heroic performance.

    Tito Vilanova's Barcelona side were regarded as the best club side in the world at the time, but on November 7, 2012, the Catalan giants were toppled at Paradise, even with Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi all in their ranks.

    It was clear early on that Forster would be busy. The Celtic stopper made a good save six minutes in to block Xavi's shot which had taken a touch from Alexis Sanchez just in front of him.

    Victor Wanyama gave Paradise its first injection of euphoria when he headed Celtic in front just after 20 minutes. Going behind seemed to rile Barcelona, however, who then spent the rest of the night relentlessly bombarding the Celtic goalmouth with wave after wave of attack as they looked to turn around the scoreline.

    Messi almost drew his side level early in the second half with a curling shot from the edge of the box, but Forster dived to his right to save comfortably. Alexis Sanchez was the next to be denied when his drilled effort from close-range was somehow saved by Forster who quickly jumped to his feet to save the follow-up.

    Tony Watt sent Paradise into ecstasy with just under 10 minutes remaining when he doubled Celtic’s lead but it was still a nervy end to the game as Messi and co continued to search for a way past the wall that was Fraser Forster.

    Speaking to the Celtic View shortly after the historic win, Forster admitted the feat, and his performance, still didn’t seem real.

    “I don’t think it will sink in for months," he said. "It will probably be more likely at the end of the season when you sit back and reflect. It’s probably the highest point of my career, but hopefully there will be many more nights like this to come.

    "I’m absolutely delighted. It’s a fantastic result and we’re so happy we could do what we couldn’t do two weeks ago. We didn’t get the luck we deserved in the Nou Camp, but we’re thrilled to get the job done tonight and pick up three points. I couldn’t really enjoy my saves in the Nou Camp because there was a lot of disappointment with losing it so late in the game. But it’s different for me tonight. I’m delighted to have made some saves, but it’s a squad game."

    The big Englishman also heaped praise on the Celtic fans who he described as a 12th man for the team during the game.

    "The fans were unbelievable, they always are, but on Champions League night, they’re extra special and that’s something that will live with me for the rest of my life," he said.
    "The noise was unbelievable and if I ever experience that noise again in my career I’ll be delighted. We had 60,000 fans there and they really were like a 12th man."

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