In Ange We Trust – His signings have all made an impact says James Forrest

James Forrest has been at Celtic for longer than any other player at the club – he even managed to share some time as a first team squad member with Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc who left Celtic shortly afterwards, but the two players have that in common and will no doubt share a moment together on Wednesday night when Celtic travel to Poland to play Legia Warsaw in the Artur Boruc testimonial match.

James Forrest and Tom Rogic of Celtic are seen at full time during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and St. Mirren FC at on March 02, 2022  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Forrest spoke to the media yesterday afternoon after an intense training session at Celtic Park which was open to the support and attracted around 10,000 supporters, including thousands of younger fans, many of whom got to meet their heroes which will of course be a highlight of the school holidays.

The boiling hot temperatures didn’t stop Ange Postecoglou insisting on the usual intensity on the training pitch and a team when it looks like the manager’s activity in the transfer market is also hotting up with the imminent arrivals of the two players he promised would be signing this week.

Those two players appear to be Australian international midfielder Aaron Mooy and the German defender Moritz Jenz who was one of the players Celtic targeted last July but missed out on that occasion with the former Fulham Academy player – he played alongside Matt O’Riley there – instead joining French side Lorient on a long term deal.

Moritz Jenz

That move hasn’t worked out particularly well for either party and it looks like, as we explained yesterday, a deal similar to the ones that brought Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jota to the club last summer will be agreed. That will mean Celtic taking the central 23 year old central defender for a season on loan with an option to buy agreed. Lorient can obviously take some heart from the fact that Celtic successfully integrated both CCV and Jota into the side then followed through with the option in this summer window.

And amid some criticism of the imminent Mooy and Jenz deals, James Forrest yesterday pointed out that Ange Postecoglou has earned trust in terms of the players he wants to sign, given the manager’s track record so far in the transfer market as Celtic manager.

“If you look in the past, sometimes one or two new signings do really well. Last year, I don’t think you can come up with one who hasn’t made an impact. It’s always good to add quality players as well,” Jamesy said at yesterday’s media conference from Celtic Park.

“It’s always good to add quality players as well. It’s only going to help the team and help to build it stronger. If he’s said he’s going to sign another two or three then definitely it’s going to help the squad.

“The fans are behind him (Ange) but also the players as well as all of his staff. Rightly so after how good last season was. He wants to keep building and be a part of that.”

On passing Artur Boruc on the way out of the door at Celtic as he himself arrived as wide eyed youngster making the step up from the Celtic Academy, Forrest had this to say out the former Celtic goalkeeper ahead of his testimonial against Celtic tomorrow (kick-off is 5pm Celtic Park Time).

“I was young at the time, coming through, but I heard a lot of the players talking about him. From what I remember everyone liked him. There were a lot of stories about him but he was really quiet in the changing room and around the place.

“Any time I met him he was always really good with me as a young boy. He did so well here and I think it will be a good testimonial, a good game for him getting Celtic. Hopefully it’s a sell-out for him and a good night.

“There were so many big names there at the time, a lot of big personalities as well. I think it’s always good for young players coming through to learn off the big players who have played in the Champions League and internationals.

“It’s always good to be around big players like that and big characters, you always take bits off everyone and it helps your game as well.

IMAGO / PA Images Callum McGregor at Dingwall, Photo Robert Perry

“I think it’s different now (senior players approaching academy players). For the ones who have come through here, like Callum (McGregor) as well, when you see younger players you always take an interest because you have done it as well.

“Everyone has been young and come through the youth system to get to the first team. It’s good for them to train with the first team boys and see what it’s like every day, and hopefully they get to that stage themselves some day.”

Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc saves a penalty from Manchester United’s Louis Saha after Celtic’s Shaun Maloney handled the ball during their UEFA Champions League group F football match at Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, 21 November 2006. Celtic won the game 1-0.  (Photo PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

in terms of how Boruc is rated as one of the best ever goalkeepers to have played for Celtic. Jamesy said: “I think he has to be right up there. If you ask a lot of fans about what he did here he was just so well liked.

“He’s definitely up there. For him playing against Celtic is perfect, he couldn’t have picked a better team to play against. He is definitely right up there.”

Jamesy was speaking to the media after an open training season at Celtic Park in intense heat watched by thousands of Celtic supporters with so many children getting along to meet their heroes during the school holidays.

“I think it was a really good day. The manager spoke about it before we went out as well. Even for the younger boys at training today they maybe trained in front of more fans than they’ve played in front of in a game. It’s good for everyone. Kids finished school and came to watch Celtic train, it’s a good day all round.

“I don’t know how many fans were here, five-to ten thousand, and it just shows you even for a training session they are turning up for that.”

Asked about the impact of Celtic four Japanese stars, Kyogo, Maeda, Hatate and Ideguchi, Forrest reckons that now they’ve all had a taste of playing for Celtic last season and a chance to settle into life in Scotland, the club will see the benefit of that in even better performances from the former J-League stars.

“They know the scene now, especially the way they have come in and done really well. Kyogo right from the start of last season came in and did really well and then the other Japanese boys came in January and they just started straight away, just like Kyogo.

“They all work hard and they fit into the Scottish game really well. They have all been here a wee while now so they can all speak better English and they all get on with all the boys as well and that is a big thing. They have all performed really well and they can all kick on again.”

Here are some photos from yesterday’s training session at Celtic Park courtesy of Hail Hail History…

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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