Postecoglou promise leaves century hero Forrest content with Celtic role
Celtic’s newest goal centurion James Forrest has stated that he won’t be demanding more minutes from manager Ange Postecoglou after the winger’s Hibs hat-trick wrote his name into the club’s history books.
The winger’s start against Hibs was his first this season, with his last start coming in May last campaign, but with a heavier focus on rotation this season, the 31-year-old is certain he’ll get further opportunities in the coming weeks.
Forrest scored his 98th, 99th and 100th goals for the club yesterday to finally reach a century having lingered in the nineties for a couple of seasons, and the homegrown star struggled to hide his delight after reaching the historic milestone yesterday.
Speaking in his post-match press conference at Celtic Park, he said: “It’s unbelievable, as I’ve got closer over the last year, more people have been mentioning it and obviously with the team doing really well and not playing as much, I’m absolutely delighted – to get another hat-trick and a hundred goals for the club is unbelievable.
“In football, one game you’re so high and the next you can be low but for as long as I’ve been here there’s been so many highs and it’s definitely been worth it.
“I’m just grateful for being here for so long and I’m delighted to have contributed and that it’s been a good fit.”
Forrest revealed that Postecoglou pledged to utilise his squad after the early weeks of the season once Celtic re-started their customary two-games-a-week routine, and the Aussie has kept good on that promise, with the majority of Celtic’s first-team squad seeing minutes in recent weeks.
Forrest said: “The manager said from the start that he’s going to be changing the team once the season really gets into it and with every competition that we’re in and the way he wants us to play, he’s going to be using the squad. I’ve felt good the last couples of games coming on and I’ve felt ready for a start, he’s obviously changed the team a wee bit and I think that all the lads that have come in have done well.
“The manager is big on performance and I think that I’ve done well when I’ve come on in the last couple of games and with the amount of games coming up and the way we play, I think he’s going to need everyone at it from the start and he’s always big on subs coming on.
“Every player has to be ready and because he has changed it a lot recently, everyone doesn’t know if they’re playing or not so that’s a good thing for competition for places and to keep the standard high as the boys have been doing.
“Because I’m older, I’ve been injured at times throughout my career and I’ve had a lot of different experiences, this year I’ve had a good pre-season and maybe not played as much as I’d have liked but you have to look for the positives, the manager has always said that he’ll give everyone a chance and the last few games has proved that.”
Squad place no insult for a modern Celtic great
Postecoglou’s squad-based approach has clearly kept those that many doubted would see much game-time happy in a hectic period, which will certainly help Celtic’s squad harmony if everyone is granted opportunities.
Given the injuries Celtic sustained last season, it’s also a deft ploy from the Aussie to ensure that his whole squad is ready to be called upon when necessary, with Forrest certainly reaping the rewards of some bright recent showings from the bench yesterday.
Despite struggling with injuries in recent seasons, it’s a remarkable achievement for a homegrown player to reach a century of goals for a team like Celtic in the modern era, and testament to Forrest’s quality that he’s managed to stay in and around the first team for over a decade.
With some crucial games before the World Cup, it seems that Celtic’s squad are in a very good place, and ready to give their all across three competitions.
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