Three talking points as Celtic claim vital win at Dens Park

Celtic claimed a massive 3 points today in a game where they were far from their best against a spirited Dundee side. The Celtic support has James Forrest to thank for securing today’s vital win with two superb goals that rewarded his manager’s faith in the winger who he played from the start.

The win came after our title rivals earlier secured three points themselves in another unconvincing performance against St Mirren. These are my three talking points post the Celtic game at Dens Park…

1. James Forrest shows his quality once again

Celtic fans had been calling for James Forrest to start today after proving his worth from the bench over these past few weeks and their wishes were granted with Brendan Rodgers starting him on the left wing ahead of both Luis Palma and Yang Hyun-Jun. The managers faith in the experienced attacker was rewarded with two goals in a man of the match performance that shows just how important the 32 year old still is to this Celtic team.

With many of his teammates underperforming, Forrest stepped up to the plate today and pulled his team out of a hole. His first goal was a thing of beauty, hitting it first time on the volley straight into the corner of the net that left the goalkeeper with absolutely no chance. His second came after winning the ball back from the Dundee defender and carving his way through the defence before firing his shot low between the legs of the goalkeeper.

In my lifetime I can’t think of a player who has been as undervalued by the fans as James Forrest. In an era where players come in and only stay a year or two and use the club as a stepping stone for a move somewhere else, Forrest has been as loyal a servant to the club as anybody.

He has performed to a high standard season after season and has shone in many big games such as today’s. He goes about his work quietly and remains humble at all times. We will miss him whenever his days at Celtic Park come to an end.

2. Our overall performance today was poor

Leaving Dens Park with all three points was all that really mattered in the end and we delivered that but we were far from our best today. A lot of our players underperformed and really need to step up their game over the next few weeks as the season comes to a close if we are to get our hands on a league and cup double.

Before we got our second goal it looked like there was only one team likely to score the next goal and that was Dundee. The amount of simple passes that were getting misplaced was incredible, with most of the team guilty at some point.

I thought the midfield three were particularly poor. Callum McGregor is nowhere near the level he usually operates at which leads me to believe he’s still carrying an injury. Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley were often overcomplicating things trying fancy flicks and turns that weren’t coming off. Hatate seemed to improve a bit in the latter stages of the game and was unlucky not to score to make it 3-0.

Kyogo was anonymous up front and we looked better in attack once Adam Idah was introduced, although the Irishman was unfortunate to score an own goal which made the end of the game a lot more nervy than it needed to be. Many players will have to up their game as we face Hearts next weekend who have proved our toughest opposition so far this season.

3. Liam Scales redeemed himself after last weekend

Liam Scales faced a bit of a backlash last weekend along with Greg Taylor due to some of the goals we conceded against Aberdeen but I thought he performed really well today in dealing well with the Dundee strikeforce. The Irishman had his hands full today but defended well throughout against a Dundee side who certainly didn’t turn up to sit in for 90 minutes.

Scales story is a great one, with the centre back going from the brink of leaving the club last summer to suddenly becoming a mainstay at the heart of the Celtic defence. There is no doubt Brendan Rodgers will be looking for another centre back in the summer to partner Cameron Carter-Vickers but as I said in an article last week, Scales certainly has done enough to remind at the club as a steady back up.

With so many huge games coming up over the next few weeks it’s good to see that Scales has the mentality to put a bad performance behind him and come out fighting the following week. Many were calling for him to be dropped and Maik Nawrocki brought in but Scales proved his manager was correct to stick with him. He will have a very important role to play in the title run in.

Conall McGinty

OVER ON CELTIC SHORTS…Brendan Rodgers praises James Forrest after double delight at Dens Park

About Author

Hailing from Cushendall in the North of Ireland my formative years were spent watching Celtic during our barren spell through the 90's which meant I have appreciated our recent trophy-laden spell even more. Favourite matches home and away I've attended has to be beating Man Utd 1-0 at Celtic Park and being with my 2 brothers watching us beat Lazio 2-1 in Rome. Best away day experience? Has to be Munich with friends from Coatbridge...what a few days!


  1. Wee Jamesy has been a fantastic player for us, I have always appreciated what he does for us! Hope he starts against hearts and sevco with Maeda

  2. Always been a big advocate of James. He is a very clever footballer-that little flick he played to himself in the Dundee box typifies his brilliance. A bit like Joe Hart, he’s making the most of every moment in his beloved Celtic shirt. James, we’re the lucky ones enjoying every moment you are on the park doing your absolute best for the Club & the supporters.
    Let’s hope we secure a Double in your Testimonial year, how fitting. HH