Celtic interim boss John Kennedy has told supporters that James Forrest is closing in on a return to first-team action.
Forrest hasn’t played for the club since way back in September of last year. Undergoing surgery and rehabilitating an ankle injury, it’s been a long road back for the winger.
Former manager Neil Lennon had been hopeful of a return to the team before now, but the Scotland international suffered a setback after taking part in training sessions at Lennoxtown.
However, this week he appears to have overcome those challenges, taking part in sessions all week and impressing Kennedy.
His presence in this weekend’s squad for the trip to Dundee United is not guaranteed.
The interim boss told a fan media conference today [HomeBhoys]: “He’s actually trained this week and come through the week really well. He trained every session this week and got through it and looked good as the week progressed.
“I’ll probably sit with James tomorrow morning, just to address where he’s at. I want him to be part of the squad as quickly as possible.
“I know what it’s like when you come through surgery and rehab. The coach my think you look good, but you might not have full confidence or think you’ve done enough.
“Looking at him, I’d like him to be part of the squad, but ultimately I want James to be comfortable with that as well. We’ll sort that over the next day or so.”
Focus should be on preparing Forrest for Celtic summer qualifiers
With little to play for in the league and just a handful of games remaining, Kennedy is right to treat Forrest’s return with caution.
However, the next couple of months can still be a great benefit to the winger and to Celtic. We’ve certainly missed his trickery and attacking output on the wing.
In recent seasons he’s been one of our most creative performers, also pitching in with consistent goalscoring. Using our remaining games to increase his confidence and make him more comfortable ahead of the summer is key.
He could well prove to be one of our most important players for the gauntlet of European qualifiers.
Likely to be heading off with Scotland to the Euros, he’ll need to be in pristine condition to come through that tournament ready to perform for Celtic.