THE CELTIC STAR readers were first to vote James Forrest as our Player of the Year. On Sunday night his fellow professionals went one further when they decided that he was the PFA Scotland Player of the Year and you would imagine that he is the favourite to win the Sports Writers Player of the Year Award when it is announced later this month.
Jamesy lost out to Callum McGregor at The Celtic Awards, with the midfielder winning both the Celtic Players and the Supporters awards. Voting took place in this a few weeks before our own Awards Poll was published – when Jamesy was having a wee lull in his performance levels and that’s probably the reason why he just lost out to Callum.
On Sunday our Player of the Year has a perfect stage to show everyone that he was the right choice from his fellow professionals when the three other contenders – Callum plus the two thugs – are likely to be on the park at Ibrox.
And yesterday Forrest revealed to the media (as reported in Daily Record) that the Celtic players regard this match – effectively a dead rudder – actually as a revenge mission for 29 December when they failed to turn up and did not do themselves justice.
The next game after the Rangers’ only other ‘win’ over Celtic – the penalty shoot-out game at Hampden – ended with Celtic having a new manager and winning 5-1, so revenge was sweet.
The Bhoys have had there first sweet taste of revenge at Celtic Park at the end of March when Forrest scored a late winner that effectively ended their season. But it’s what happened on 29 December AT IBROX that the Bhoys want to put right on Sunday and quite right too.
So on Sunday the Bhoys are after revenge – CHECK.
We’ve replaced our manager – CHECK. (In Lenny we trust, he LOVES it at Ibrox)
So could the scoreline be 5-1? Wait and see…that day when it happened in April 2017 was the BEST EVER in the Free Broomloan!
“Going into the winter break we went to Dubai but it wasn’t the same because we left after such a bad result and poor performance,” Jamesy revealed.
“What made us play so well when we came back was the fact everyone was still really hurting from that game.
“And I’m sure when it comes to Ibrox the boys will no doubt be thinking about the last time we went there. Yes, there were a few guys missing. But – as the manager at the time said – the boys playing who hadn’t been in the team before, playing in a match like that would give them experience.
“I’m sure even the fact that it didn’t go the way we had hoped, it would still have helped them. But there’s no doubt the boys were hurting for a good few weeks and longer.
“Whoever is in the squad this time – and whoever plays that game – will want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Over on the new Celtic fans forum Celtic Noise – which you should join incidentally if you haven’t already – we’ve been discussing the game at Ibrox and this team has been suggested.
Scott Bain in goals, obviously.
A back five of Jerry Toljan, Kris Ajer, Jozo Simunovic, Filip Benkovic and Jonny Hayes.
A midfield diamond consisting of Scott Brown, James Forrest, Callum McGregor and Tom Rogic and Odsonne Edouard up top.
Strong at the back, plenty of talent in the middle plus enough numbers, two full backs bombing forward and 800 Celtic supporters celebrating!
Our Player of the Year also confirmed that there will be no taking it easy in the remaining league games before Hampden, which clearly has to be the priority – after we win at Ibrox.
“We have two games left and the cup final when that comes around. We need to make sure we finish the league strong, not let it peter out.
“We want to give ourselves confidence for starting the season again by finishing strong this time,” Jamesy said.