NEIL Lennon went down on all fours on the Hampden pitch in front of penalty hero Fraser Forster in a ‘we are not worthy gesture’ after the final whistle. But so important a role has the Northern Irishman played in resurrecting his career after falling out of favour at Southampton, the giant Englishman reckons it should really have been the other way around.

“That is the first time I’ve had a manager do that,” said Forster, whose performance here perhaps surpassed even his recent heroics against Lazio. “But I’ve always said the manager has been great for me and my career. He brought me here to Celtic the first time when I was a young keeper and he gave me my big opportunity. He’s now given me another opportunity to come here and I will be forever grateful to him.

"I’ve had such special times with him and I know what he thinks of me and the confidence he gives me," he added. "I could never turn the chance to work with him down and it’s always nice to repay a manager for the faith he has in you.”

While he also pulled off a fine one-handed save from Ryan Jack, Forster’s real claim to fame yesterday was driving Alfredo Morelos to distraction. Whatever the little Colombian tried to get his first goal against Celtic, Forster was equal to it, although he may have been surprised that it was Morelos, and not usual penalty taker, James Tavernier who he faced from 12 yards. You got the feeling yesterday that Morelos would still not have scored had he and Forster still been out there now.

“Nothing really changes,” said Forster. “You just kind of go with your gut instinct. Luckily enough for me I went the right way and I was able to make the save. It was a good day for me.”

It says something that Forster, who is hopeful that Celtic and Southampton could do a deal to make his loan deal into a permanent one, wasn’t entirely sure where this performance fitted in among his previous displays. “How does it compare to that night against Barcelona?" said Forster. "It’s obviously fantastic it was in a cup final and we’ve gone on to win and get the clean sheet. But it’s hard to pick one game - everyone is special for different reasons. It’s a nice one to add to the list.”