There was nothing for Celtic to shout about yesterday, but the return of James Forrest was at least one positive we could take on a grim afternoon.

The Hoops officially relinquished the title after a 0-0 draw vs Dundee United. There’s nothing that will change that fact. We lost the 10, and even though we’ve known for some time that the league was lost, it was still a blow to see the line crossed.

As for the performance yesterday, what would normally feel like bright spots were left feeling immaterial. Dominating the game? Check. Creating lots of chances? Check. A confident defensive display? Check. But we came away from the game feeling nothing but emptiness.

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However, the importance of Forrest’s return before the summer wasn’t overlooked. Jamesy has gone through the wringer in his recovery process over the last six months [Glasgow Live]. He’s been hit with setback after setback since his last Hoops appearance against Riga in September.

But after a good week of training at Lennoxtown, Forrest was back in the matchday squad yesterday for the first time since September 24th. The Scotland international was given the final 12 minutes to try and conjure up a moment of magic at Tannadice.

Celtic have undoubtedly missed James Forrest; a big few weeks awaits

As for his performance, it was what you would expect from a player who’s been out for such a long time. Forrest received the ball consistently in the closing stages. However, it was clear he has a long way to go before he’s at 100%.

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The important thing from a Celtic perspective is that Forrest is back and gets some minutes under his belt before the campaign ends. He’s going to be a huge asset for the new manager, but it was important he returned and gets into the team regularly between now and the summer.

Celtic James Forrest injury

Celtic winger James Forrest has been out with an injury / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

In that sense, the Scottish Cup could be particularly useful for him. It allows Forrest some proper competitive action this season. Even if we have six league games remaining, with the title over, something substantial has been taken out of those games.

It’ll be a slow process, but James will get there. He’ll be determined to get back into the Scotland fold for this summer’s Euros, and that will be another boost for Celtic.

So even on a day as bleak as yesterday was, the Hoops fans were still happy to recognise how vital Forrest’s return is in the grand scheme:

 

In other news, John Kennedy must explain what happened to Celtic in the closing stages at Tannadice.

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