herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Pukki urges Forster to stay with him at Celtic

CELTIC striker Teemu Pukki is hoping Southampton target Fraser Forster remains at Parkhead to enjoy it with him.

The Finnish striker grabbed a brace in the second leg of the Champions League second qualifier, adding to an earlier double by defender Virgil van Dijk in a 5-0 aggregate win, to secure the Hoops' place in the next round where they will play either St Patrick's or Legia Warsaw.

However, much of the post-match attention centred on the future of Forster, who was subject to an unsuccessful bid by Saints with Hoops manager Ronny Deila emphasising his desire for the England international to stay.

Pukki added his voice to that plea by saying: "It's so important for every player to reach the group stages of the Champions League.

"It's the best place to play football so we all want to be there. That's our main aim in the next few weeks.

"And it's important that we keep Fraser because he's one of the best keepers in the world. So we want him to stay

"He's one of the most vital parts of this team, he showed that last season and for a few years before. He's important to the club. It might be difficult to hold on to him because there are many teams after him. But personally, I hope he stays because he's a great keeper."

Deila laughed when it was mentioned that the Celtic fans had booed when Pukki was replaced by Liam Henderson immediately after scoring his second in the 71st minute.

The Norwegian said: "We wanted to see Kris Commons in the number nine role - but I will keep that in my mind for the next time, if they start booing."

Deila added: "We want to keep Fraser because we want to qualify for the Champions League and build our team. We want to do what we can to keep him here.

"I didn't speak with Fraser before the game because we have spoken a lot of times and there is no problem.

"He hasn't said he wants to leave. He came to Celtic and did a good job but Celtic have also been fantastic for him and I hope that will continue because we need our best players.

"I want to keep him until we qualify for the Champions League and even longer."

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