"Different class" "Unreal"; Celtic player left taken aback with what happened at Hampden
Celtic winger James Forrest was left absolutely amazed with what he accomplished at Hampden yesterday after proving to be the hero.
His 73rd-minute goal proved to be the winner as the Celts left St Johnstone floored in their Premier Sports Cup semi-final clash.
It was Forrest’s first goal for the club since August when he netted against Jablonec in a Europa League qualifier. And after an injury-ravaged start to the Ange Postecoglou era, James looks set to compete for his place once again.
But as he reflected on his big Hampden moment yesterday, the Scotland international admits it’s what he’s been working hard for during his injury rehab.
As quoted by the Daily Record, Forrest said: “It feels different class. It’s unreal coming on and managing to score a goal, which turns out to be the winner that gets us to a final. That’s why you work hard, for days like today.
“You can look at the last year, but I still try to take out the positives. I got back, made the Euros squad and played under the manager at the start of the season. I’ve been out but you put the work in to get back for days like this.
“I’ve been training and building it up in the last six weeks. I’ve been coming on of late but I’ll keep working hard and building up the minutes. We knew that St Johnstone are a good side who did really well in the cups last season, but with the fans back it helped us. You could see they didn’t get frustrated, so that helped the players keep going. Everyone is buzzing to come back here for a final now.”
James Forrest must be targeting Liel Abada’s Celtic spot ahead of Hampden return
It was a fine landmark for Forrest yesterday. He’ll have been dreaming about that goal ever since he picked up his injury. The importance of it hopefully symbolises a renaissance from the winger too. We could certainly do with the depth at right-wing.
In fact, speaking of that particular position, Forrest now has a goal he should certainly be targeting. After coming on for the ineffective Liel Abada, Forrest has just under a month to make himself the first choice before the Premier Sports Cup final.
At the moment, he’s still clearly building up his minutes. He was given the final half-hour yesterday which suggests he’s coming on nicely.
Celtic have 7 games separating themselves from their Hampden return in December. Whether it’s against Rangers or Hibernian is irrelevant – Forrest will want to be one of the first names on the teamsheet by that period.
Abada has more or less had the position to himself in recent weeks. His inconsistency has only strengthened the need for an additional option. That’s what James provides, and he’ll fancy his chances of making a big impression over the next 4 weeks.
Celtic will travel to Leverkusen on Thursday night for their next big challenge. The truth is it’s likely that Abada starts once again. But with Forrest now breathing down his neck, it looks like we’re in for an interesting positional battle.