JAMES FORREST’S omission from the Celtic squad on Saturday told us one of two things. Either he was injured again, a regular occurrence in his time at Celtic, or that he had rejected the better than expected contract offer that he had received from Celtic.

Yesterday we wrote about Ramon Vega’s deep held regrets that he didn’t sign a contract that was offered to him by Martin O’Neill to stay at Celtic longer than the six months period he signed for. Vega, incredibly walked away from Celtic having won the Treble, something that none of the current Celtic squad, including a long serving player like James Forrest, have achieved.unspecified-31

While indicating to Ronny Deila that he wanted to stay at Celtic, Forrest’s agent was mysteriously difficult to reach. You half expected Celtic to have posted HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN? posters around the stadium over the past few months. Of course he would have been nowhere near Parkhead as he touted his client around the top two English divisions.

Even Ronny Deila’s critics could not say that he is an honest and honorable man. A nice guy even. Maybe they’d tell you that that is part of their problem with him – he’s too nice! Clearly he feels more that a little let down by Forrest.

“We made him a very good offer,” Ronny reflected. “We offered him a contract and he has turned it down. I am disappointed on a personal level because we want to keep all of our good players at the club.
Going back on his earlier statement that he wished to remain at Celtic, Forrest has clearly upset the Celtic manager who edged closer to five in a row at the weekend, without the help of James Forrest.
“He has told us that he wishes to see what his other options are,” Ronny noted. “He wants to know what else there is.”

Forrest’s agent must have something up his sleeve, maybe a move to Norwich City where former Hamilton boss Alex Neil is the manager. Certainly there seems to be no way back at Celtic, should such a move fall through. Ronny has now told us that Celtic’s attempts to re-sign the player on a lucrative 4 year deal, is now over.

“It is disappointing but I think that will be it from us. I cannot see that we will go back to him with another improved deal because to my mind it was a very good offer that the club put to him,” Deila said.

“James is a great player and he is a player that we feel can get better. It is disappointing that he does not see his future with Celtic.”

And maybe thinking about Vega’s words, the Celtic manager had this message for the injury prone winger who still has one more season left on his Celtic contract.

“You also have to remember that this is a great club and to play for Celtic is a great privilege.”

Celtic will now place Forest at the top of the summer clear-out list and it looks unlikely that Deila will select him again, given the quality and quantity of competition for places in the Celtic midfield. Was Forrest missed on Saturday? Could he have done better than the three boys who came on or better than Kris Commons who was an unused sub, and was delighted to have signed a contract extension himself? Delia marked our cards on what is likely to happen now.

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