Much of the talk heading into Celtic’s encounter against Rennes on Thursday has been about what it all means for Odsonne Edouard.
The young Frenchman’s stock is on the rise and he’s gaining quite the reputation in his homeland. Four goals in two recent matches for the nation’s U21 side ensured that.
With the chance to dazzle against a Ligue 1 club in the UEFA Europa League this week, the man Celtic signed for a reported £9m (Sky Sports) will be desperate to turn in an excellent performance both for his and the Hoops’ benefit.
The evidence suggests though that it’s another at Celtic Park, a homegrown talent, who can shine brightest of all. Step forward James Forrest.
Forrest has started the season in the kind of blistering fashion we’ve come to expect from him over the last two seasons. Netting 17 goals in both the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns, he’s well on his way to equalling or bettering that this term.
He’s scored an exceptional seven goals so far this season, all of which have come in his last nine appearances.
With regards to Thursday, it’s notable that two of those have come in our last two away European matches. That’s the kind of guy Forrest is these days – a reliable performer when we need him most.
Also assisting five times in the early stages of the season, he has the potential to be hugely influential on Thursday.
Lightning on the break
One of the keys to Celtic success in France this week will be defending stoutly and soaking up a bit of pressure. Rennes are a talented team who, as French Cup winners, will be eager to stamp their authority on the group stage in front of their home supporters.
Just as crucial though is Celtic showing enough composure and ambition to find the right out ball from our own third.
Our biggest threat to Rennes could well come on the counter-attack and as we’ve seen plenty of times before, that’s a prime hunting ground for Forrest.
The Scotland international has the pace and skill to punish many teams on the continent and Rennes are unlikely to be immune to that.
Getting him into the game is going to be absolutely crucial.
If the winger is on top form, we have the chance of securing a positive result.