Celtic winger James Forrest is set to be given up until kick off on Sunday to declare himself fit or otherwise for the Glasgow Derby. That’s according to Hoops interim boss John Kennedy, who spoke to Celtic TV earlier this afternoon.
Forrest came off as a second half substitute during the clash with Livingston last weekend, having pulled up without an opponent near him. The decision to come off was thought to be a precautionary measure, but there was major concern given that the Scottish international has spent several months on the sidelines this season with an ankle injury that he suffered against Riga in the Europa League qualifiers back in September.
A key player if Celtic are to advance to the fifth round of the Scottish Cup, Kennedy said that Forrest will be given every opportunity to play. Indeed, he remarked: “We’re just going to monitor James as the week goes on. He’s the type of player we’ll give right to the last minute. We’ll get the treatment in to him and see how it goes.”
Regardless of whether Forrest makes the game or not, Kennedy knows his team will need to continue their recent form to be victorious: “It’s how we perform,” he said. “The performance will bring the result. You need a real mental resilience and drive to deal with the pressure of the game. That’s fine. But you need to have a framework there. They can have comfort in knowing how they can approach it, how they’ve had success in previous games. The little issues we’ve had in previous games, we know how to address them.”
With that approach in mind, Kennedy outlined his approach to the fixture: “It’s about going in with that belief to take out the game plan. Within that the individual quality might come through, someone can pop up with a goal out of nothing with a moment of magic.
“But you need to be solid and organised. We have to be on the front foot and aggressive, because that’s when we are at our best, and that’s hopefully when the goals come as well.”
Celtic have scored nine goals in their last two matches and fans are beginning to wonder if the Bhoys are somewhere near their best again, after what has been a very poor season.
Speaking of those recent successes, Kennedy told Celtic TV: “It does give us confidence. From a performance point of view, it had been coming. We’d been doing so many good things in recent weeks in terms of our structure and organisation, we’re not giving too much away and have been in full control of games.
“We’ve been creating chances but sometimes the most difficult thing can be putting the ball in the net. A massive part of that is confidence. We’ve created enough opportunities to win games if you go back to the Dundee United, Aberdeen and Rangers matches. In the second half against Falkirk we showed real intent to go and finish off all the good play and we saw it for 90 minutes last weekend.
“It’s confidence and consistency to want to keep working and improving, eventually the quality comes through and that’s what happened. I was happy for the players to get the rewards because there’s only so many times I can drum it in that it’s going to come. It’s great to have that belief and confidence in the bank going in to the Rangers game.”