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Celtic believe another loan deal can be struck with Southampton that would see Fraser Forster return to Parkhead in the new year, as reported by the Athletic.

It’s surely no coincidence the Hoops’ back line has looked about as sturdy as a chocolate teapot since their talismanic shot-stopper departed at the end of last season.

Forster produced arguably the finest season of his career in 2019/20, almost single-handedly dragging Neil Lennon’s side through the Europa League group stages at times while producing a man of the match performance in the Scottish League Cup final victory over Rangers.

He wasn’t only a fine shot-stopper but a vocal presence behind a back line that suddenly appears to lack leadership.

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And it’s fair to say no-one has benefited from Forster’s return to St Mary’s.

The £10 million England international is stuck on the bench behind the in-form Alex McCarthy at Southampton. At Celtic, meanwhile, neither Scott Bain nor Vasilis Barkas have managed to step up to the plate.

Not for the first time this season, £4.5 million summer signing Barkas came under fire during a nervy display in Celtic’s 4-2 defeat to AC Milan on Thursday.

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The Greece international could soon face an uncertain future in Glasgow, with The Athletic claiming there’s confidence Forster could return for a third spell at the stuttering Scottish Premiership side.

That’s despite the fact Forster turned down another loan move to Celtic as recently as last summer.

The former Newcastle youngster wanted to stay to fight for his place at Southampton. But, with head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl making it clear McCarthy is his number one, Forster could be forgiven for changing his mind.

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