Former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson has stated that he “can’t believe” the stick James Forrest gets from sections of the Celtic support.
Forrest has started the season uncharacteristically slowly with two goals and one assist in nine competitive games. He’s started eight of them but only came on for the final 16 minutes in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Livingston.
But despite his slow start, Forrest is on his way to becoming a Celtic great. He’s been with the club since graduating from the academy back in 2010, making a total of 404 appearances for the Hoops that has seen 184 direct goal contributions (Transfermarkt).
And given what Forrest has done for the club, ex-Rangers man Ferguson believes critical supporters should be more grateful to the winger.
Speaking on Go Radio’s Football Show yesterday (September 21), Ferguson: “I can’t believe the criticism some of the players get from Celtic fans.
“James Forrest. Look, I know he’s not everybody’s cup of tea. But for me, he’s still one of the top performers (at Celtic). Just look at his stats, I think he’s played over 400 games for Celtic.
“Listen, I know he’s not flying every week – but what footballer does?”
Standards at Celtic will always lead to scrutiny for underperformers
Celtic have set the bar so high in recent years that anyone underperforming will be spotted. In that respect, Forrest has been one of those underperformers on a regular basis this season.
What he’s done in the past is sensational. He’s scored derby goals, Champions League and Europa League goals, last-minute goals, and has a trophy haul which currently stands at an incredible 19.
When he hangs up his boots, he’ll be remembered as a Parkhead great. Perhaps even a legend if he plays a starring role in securing 10-in-a-row. But supporters are also entitled to pinpoint players they think aren’t playing to their capabilities at the present moment.
Forrest’s stats so far this season show that he isn’t making the impact we would all have expected of him. If you or I underperform in our job on a daily basis then it’s going to get highlighted. We can hardly go to our bosses and say “Yeah but are you forgetting what I did for you last year?”. Football is no different.
Players will always be judged on their last performance until they retire and their career can be reflected on more generally. During a season as vital as this, those struggling for form won’t be given a pat on the head and told well done.
Forrest, like several in the Celtic side at the minute, have to up their game in the coming weeks after disappointingly exiting the Champions League at the second qualifying round. They still owe money-paying supporters a consistent level of performance after that shocker.
Regardless of what he’s done in the past, Forrest is no different when it comes to that responsibility.