“I’ve not got a holiday booked,” James Forrest available for Euro2024 call-up

James Forrest won the three vital points for site chasing Celtic at Dens Park yesterday afternoon with his brilliant double that maintains Celtic’s three points lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with just four matches now remaining.

And such has been his impact on Celtic in recent weeks there is growing momentum for the veteran winger to be a late-in-the-day option for Steve Clarke for the Euros this summer, as suggestion we first mentioned on The Celtic Star last week.

And Jamesy yesterday proved that he’s ready and then indicated that he’s available when asked if a late Euro call-up could be on the cards.

“No, I’ve not got a holiday booked! You never book a holiday early in this game, it’s always last minute. If you ask any Scottish player, you’d want to be involved. I went to the last Euros and it was a great experience from the first day of camp to the end,” Jamesy said at Dens Park after the 2-1 win over Dundee.

“My last cap was at the Euros. I have not thought about it once. I wasn’t in the squad in January/February time and I have been buzzing being back in about it with the boys here,” Forrest said, maybe with a ting of regret that he was fully fit but not selected at the start of the season as Brendan Rodgers opted to give the new arrivals game-time ahead of the player he’s called the best winger at the club.

“I have managed to get on the scoresheet and help the team a few times. I just want to take it game by game and keep helping out here. I need to concentrate on what I am doing here,” Jamesy said as reported by Daily Record.

The ever-green Celtic winger certainly enjoys playing and his opener at Dens was rather special for him personally. “That was one of my best volleys, that’s for sure. I was confident going into the game after last week. I was delighted with it. The goals could be massive.

“The three points were very important. We knew all the stuff that went on with Dundee’s pitch and stuff. They are in the top six and are having a very good season.

“We knew it would be a hard game so I was delighted to get the goals and to win the game. Every game is massive right now.”

Jamesy doesn’t pay too much attention to talk of pressure in a title run-in for the plain and simple reason that he is a course and distance winner so many times before and nothing is likely to get to him as Celtic close in on anther title, an incredible 12th in 13 seasons. Pressure to succeed, Jamesy reckons, is a constant playing for a successful club like Celtic.

“We have always won trophies here. Sometimes on the outside people might talk about pressure games. But every game is a pressure game at Celtic. Even at the start of the season, there is pressure on every game. We have the manager, coaches and players with the right mentality.

“I think it is important that we all do. Going into every game every new signing knows that they are all massive right from the start of the season. When it gets to this point in the season the pressure is ramped up. We have got a good squad.”

Forrest is certainly glad to be back in the thick of things after that period mid-season when he was not selected for match-day squads. “Was it frustrating not being involved? Yes it was. If you ask any player they will tell you the same. Throughout my career I have never had it before and it was something different for me. You have to believe in yourself and you know because I was a bit older that football can change so quickly due to injuries and suspension and especially at Celtic if you don’t win a game then the manager might change his mind.

“I knew that if I kept training well I was thinking to myself that I might get another chance. In the last five or six weeks I have got back in and I need to keep doing that to remain a part of it.”

Brendan Rodgers has always praised Forrest, even when not selecting him and yesterday told the players in the away dressing room at Dens Park that James Forrest was one of the Founding Fathers of the massive Celtic success over the past 15 years or so.

“That does make me feel old!” James said. “I don’t mind that. At Celtic as a forward player – not just an experienced one – you need to be able to take the pressure off the team but scoring goals and having assists.

“That’s how it is, no matter what age you are. It was probably my best spell when the manager was at the club first time. When he came back I felt really fit from pre-season right up until November. We obviously have a lot of wingers in the squad and you need to fight for your place at a big club like Celtic.

“It has never been any different. I’ve just kept training and I’ve enjoyed being back involved in the last five or six weeks. I just want to look to the next game and hopefully contributing again.”

So James Forrest for the Euros might not be the worst idea and surely a canny operator like Steve Clarke will be giving that option careful consideration, maybe he’ll come along to Celtic Park this weekend when Hearts are the visitors and have a look for himself?

Here’s Brendan’s view on that…

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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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