Ange Postecoglou’s shout-out for James Forrest’s “outstanding achievement”

The Celtic Star reminded Ange Postecoglou at his media conference ahead of the match against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night that he had a tried and tested Champions League player in James Forrest who had impressed up at McDiarmid Park last Saturday.

Jamesie never got that start On Tuesday but came off the bench as a first half substitute for Liel Abada who had was forced off with a dead-leg. Forrest looked in the mood and certinly gave the Leipzig left-back a torrid time in the second half.

James Forrest with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick during the cinch Premiership match against Hibs at Celtic Park, Saturday October 15, 2022. Photo Steve Welsh

His reward was a start today, and maybe a thought about edging closer to that magical target of a hundred Celtic goals, at 3pm today he was three short. That milestone would be reached in a dazzling performance which had the Celtic supporters chanting his name and when Postecoglou decided to make some changes and Forrest’s number came up, what a reception he got from the fans. And well deserved it was too.

“I’m super pleased,” Ange Postecoglou admitted afterwards in his interview with Celtic TV. “We’ve spoken about the fact that even though we haven’t had the results in the Champions League, we still feel that our football’s been good, so it’s just been a matter of staying focused on the way we wanted to play.

 Ange Postecoglou during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, against Hibs on Saturday October 15, 2022. Photo Steve Welsh

“I thought the lads were great today right from the first minute. They were really focused on playing the kind of football we want to play,” the Celtic manager said.

Postecoglou made no apology for looking to his squad to freshen up the side after the midweek energy sapping match against one of Germany’s top sides.

“That’s why we have this squad. I know people question me rotating the team, but it’s the only way we’ll get through this period and maintain this level of performance because we rely on too few, that doesn’t work,” Ange said.

Celtic v Hibernian –  Giorgos Giakoumakis left celebrates scoring the second goal with Alexandro Bernabei during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday October 15, 2022. Photo: Steve Welsh

“I see these guys every day, I know what they’re ready for and what they can do, so there’s no fear in my putting them in there, and I’m super pleased that all the guys who came in were fantastic.

“But obviously a special shout-out to James Forrest who has now scored 100 goals for this football club, and it’s an outstanding achievement.”

The Celtic manager got the chance to meet up with Frank McGarvey, himself a Celtic centurion – Frank scored 109 goals for Celtic in 245 appearances between 1980 and 1985 and his last goal – a superb header that won the Scottish Cup in dramatic circumstances – will long be remembered by the Celtic support.

Celtic v Hibernian – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park Former Celtic player Frank McGarvey after thanking fans for all their support following his recent cancer diagnosis ahead of the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, : Saturday October 15, 2022. Photo Steve Welsh

“I saw Frank before the game and it was quite emotional,” Ange said. “Because of his Liverpool-Celtic connection, he’s someone I know very well and followed very well, so it was great to see him.

“His instructions were pretty clear – he said a goal in the first 20 minutes, and we managed to get a couple, so hopefully that lifted his spirits, but it was great to see him.”

Celtic v Hibernian –  James Forrest with the matchball after scoring a hat-trick during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, photo Steve Welsh

Another huge postive today, other than the performance, the score, the special achievement reached by James Forrest and the chance for Celtic Park to show plenty of love for Frank McGarvey, was the news that – for a change – there are no new injury worries to concern us.

“I think, from what I know about today so far, everybody will be okay for Wednesday,” he said. “We took Sead (Hakšabanović) off because he had a bit of an ankle issue going into the game but he was really keen to play, but once the game was sort of done, we could take him off at 45.

“I think everybody else was good and hopefully, by Wednesday, maybe David Turnbull will be close as well,” Ange said.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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