Celtic’s head of youth development Chris McCart has disclosed that Neil Lennon was a big fan of James Forrest even before he became the Hoops boss, the Daily Record reports.
Forrest has been a Celtic mainstay in both of Lennon’s spells as Hoops boss. Now McCart has revealed that Lennon first became aware of Forrest’s talent in his short-term role as Celtic reserves manager when Tony Mowbray was first-team boss.
“James Forrest is another (example of a player that came through the ranks). He didn’t get a pro contract at 16, he was just on expenses, and got a bad hip injury. Neil Lennon was reserve team boss and wanted him in his squad right away” McCart said, as quoted by the Daily Record.
Handed debut by current Hoops boss
Lennon wasn’t reserve manager at Celtic for long. He became caretaker manager when Tony Mowbray was sacked in March 2010. Not long after that, Forrest was handed his Celtic first-team debut in a game against Motherwell.
Forrest marked his debut with a goal in a 4-0 win. The season after that, Lennon’s first in charge as manager proper, saw Forrest become a regular in the team, and he has been ever since.
Forrest’s success shows that Neil Lennon’s time as Celtic reserves manager was a worthwhile one. Lennon can take pride in the fact that he brought through a player into the first-team that has gone on to win 19 trophies with the Hoops.
Success is testament to the player
Even Lennon wouldn’t have predicted that Forrest would have had so much success in his time at Celtic Park. Still, that is testament to the player’s ability.
He has managed to perform consistently over almost a decade. That is a credit to the player, he has been first-choice under so many managers at Celtic Park.
Some things may change at Celtic, but the good form of James Forrest isn’t ever up for debate. And that is all down to what Neil Lennon spotted whist he was Celtic reserves manager.