JAMES FORREST is hoping for a Kazakhstan hat-trick when Celtic take on Astana in the Champions League play-off first leg crunch at Parkhead tomorrow night.
The winger has enjoyed two tension-laden victories over their nation’s best in his previous outings in the east end of Glasgow.
Four years ago, Forrest claimed the last-gasp winner to overcome Shakhter Karagandy 3-2 on aggregate after the Hoops had gone into the second leg trailing by two goals.
Kris Commons hit a memorable effort just on the interval to half the deficit and Georgios Samaras levelled before the Scotland international struck to push Neil Lennon’s men into the group stages.
It was a similar story last season with the tie against tonight’s opponents balanced at 2-2 on aggregate – with Leigh Griffiths scoring home and away – before Moussa Dembele claimed his first goal for the club with a well-placed penalty-kick in the fading moments.
Reflecting on his strike in 2013, which prompted boss Lennon to join the players’ celebration, the attacker said: “I didn’t see him running up the touchline because there was a massive pile-up. But I saw later on he had run 50 yards.
“You probably wouldn’t imagine the gaffer would do that, but you never know because sometimes you can’t control your emotions in these moments.
“It was amazing because the crowd was buzzing and, hopefully, we will have more of that this time.
“You play football for moments like that. It was massive and it’s hard to put into words what it felt like. It was an unbelievably great feeling when the ball hit the back of the net to put us through.
“My timing could hardly have been better as it was at the end, although I think they had a chance right at the end that still could have put us out.
“There’s something about teams from Kazakhstan and last-minute goals!
“Obviously, the Champions League is massive for this club. We need to get there again.”
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