Celtic’s Star Man James Forrest, scoops SFWA Player of the Year Award

JAMES FORREST missed out on the two awards at Celtic’s own near end of season event, with both his fellow Hoops stars and The Celtic Supporters who took part in the club’s poll, opting narrowly for Callum McGregor.

Then a few weeks later the readers on The Celtic Star voted in their thousands and James Forrest was the clear winner. Next up was the PFA Scotland Awards and once again James Forrest was voted as Scotland’s Player of the Year by his fellow professionals in the Scottish Premiership.

Then in the Scottish Football Writers Awards – where there are various categories and the result are staggered out – as indeed are the writers themselves leaving their event – James Forrest won the International Player of the Year ahead of Callum McGregor who was nominated in all these award categories.

Today James Forrest has been confirmed also the the SFWA Player of the Year too, continuing Celtic’s domination of this award going back decades.

Wouldn’t it be great today to hear that Star Man song for Jamesy at Paradise?

He is Celtic’s Number 49 and has never had much interest in ‘upgrading’ that to one of the first eleven numbers traditionally associated with the first team – Number 7 for instance as he is a very fine right winger. Forrest is happy with the number he’s got thank you very much.

“When Neil Lennon was manager the first time, he said I could’ve swapped my number. But coming through, that was my number,’ Jamesy told the media as reported in Scottish Sun.

“I’d seen players older than me, like Aiden McGeady and Darren O’Dea, always keep the numbers they had and I think that just stuck with me.

“I’m happy with it and it’s maybe too late to change it now. I think Celtic always keep the number seven jersey for big signings.

“It’d be unbelievable to have it when you think of the people who’ve worn it before. I don’t think you can really go and ask for number seven. If you get offered it that would be different, but I’m happy with 49.”

Jamesy made his Celtic debut against Motherwell 9 years ago this month and has been in an around the side since – all the way through 8 in a Row. Yesterday we looked back on the day that Celtic won 9 in a row in 1974 – see HERE and noted that three players – Billy McNeill, Jimmy Johnstone and Bobby Lennox wore the Hoops every step of the way.

The Class of 2019-20 season could also have three players who had done the same, veterans Scott Brown, possibly Mikael Lustig (contract extension dependant) and of course Celtic’s Star Man, James Forrest.

Celtic’s 50 Flags – Hello! Hello! It’s Nine in a Row!

James at 27 might not be at the veteran stage but that’s how he’ll look to 16-year-old Karamoko Dembele who looks likely to make his debut today for The Celtic first team, perhaps from the bench. As the stars of the future like young Dembele are about to be showcased today in Paradise, Forrest looked back on the start of his own journey at Celtic.

“I was with the under-19s and we were going for the title. The manager was in his first spell here and he said when that was done — and if it was the right time — he’d get me

“So I was buzzing to make my debut. It’s really good for young players but it’s good for first-team players and fans to see there are young players coming through.

“It’s exciting for everyone and it’d only help the young boys if they got their chance.

“Dembele and a couple of others have trained with us, fitted in well and not looked out of place. Euan Henderson’s shown a few times he can come in.

“You look at Armstrong Oko-Flex who’s trained with us and Dembele has been brought into it more in the last few months. It’s exciting to see that happening.”

It will be a special day for all the players -young and old – today in Paradise and at around 5pm Scott Brown will once again go up to hold the trophy high above his head as we celebrate 8 league triumphs in a row – just two more to go folks!

Tonight James Forrest will attend the SFWA Awards ceremony to collect his prize, richly deserved that it is.

James Forrest, who was badly missed in the Dead Rubber defeat last weekend, will probably be on the bench today as Neil Lennon  has insisted that he won’t risk the players carrying knocks ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final.

When he’s out warming up today and if he comes on let’s hear some singing to recognise the incredible season that James Forrest has had and the indeed his role in getting us to 8IAR. He’s our Star Man…it’s time to  sing along please!

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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