James Forrest could still have part to play

Brendan Rodgers has revealed today that rarely-seen veteran, James Forrest, could yet still have a part to play in the story of this year’s Scottish Premiership campaign. The 32-year-old has been a peripheral figure this season as he has featured less and less in the first-team and even been missing from match-day squads too this time around.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and James Forrest during the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Livingston FC at Celtic Park on December 23, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The former Scotland international has been a fantastic servant to Celtic and has now reached that point in his career when the intensity with which he used to play is slowly but surely diminishing. Rodgers was the man who rejuvenated James the last time he was at the Parkhead club, with Forrest looking to be on his way out at that stage with very few of the opinion that things could change for the wide-man.

Now with him at a very different stage in his illustrious career at Celtic Park, Brendan has revealed that he is still the best winger at the club in terms of how accomplished and intelligent he is in the wide forward role, but that his explosive pace and power are waning now which means he can’t perform to that level consistently anymore. “James is available, yeah,” he said. “He’s been training and been an amazing servant to this club. I’m pretty sure over these final remaining games he may well have a part to play in it.

Ross County v Celtic – James Forrest celebrates scoring the third goal of the game during the cinch Premiership match at the Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall.  Saturday November 4, 2023. Photo Steve Welsh

“I think for me, the thing is looking at the team we need to have intensity, we need to have that relentless mentality. But there’s no doubt of his ability, that’s never in question. As a winger, I would say in terms of ability-wise, he’s the best one we have. There’s no question. But how we ask the game to be played, the intensity, the consistent running, as you get older then it becomes a challenge. But there’s no doubt, there will be a point over these next 11 games where he’ll be required. He’s training so well and keeping himself ready. He’s a top professional. He looks after his body and he’s himself every day and if he’s required to play then he will do.”

Brendan Rodgers and James Forrest are seen during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Livingston at Celtic Park on December 23, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Our evergreen winger has did it time and time again for the Hoops during the course of a season and you wouldn’t put it past him having a say during the last remaining games in the League and Cup. With his youngster comrades in the flanks failing to produce the goods at a reasonable level this year too, the old head could be required as an impact sub during these remaining cup finals for the manager, supporters and club.

Paul Gillespie

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About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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