JAMES FORREST hasn’t even featured for half-an-hour this year – but Brendan Rodgers insists the evergreen winger has a role to play in the season’s tun-in.

The 32-year-old Scotland international was introduced late in the Scottish Cup quarter-final at Parkhead on Sunday with the holders toiling at 2-2 against Livingston.

Extra-time loomed before Daizen Maeda snapped up his hat-trick in the 86th minute and Forrest assisted with a header into the tracks of Kyogo Furuhashi to make sure with the fourth strike in the 4-2 triumph that set up a semi-final encounter with Aberdeen at Hampden next month.

SUFFERING SAINTS…James Forrest wallops in Celtic’s third goal in the 3-1 win in Perth – with Oh Hyeon-gyu getting a close-up view of his team-mate’s expertise.

The one-club man’s previous first-team outing had also been against the Premiership strugglers in the champions’ 2-0 home victory on December 23 when he made a 63rd-minute introduction for Daizen Maeda.

The much-decorated Forrest has been used sparingly by his manager, but he still rates the qualities of the stand-out stand-in.

Rodgers, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “Sadly, age catches up with every player – or person, for that matter.

“But he still has the ability to make a contribution to the game. We saw that for 25 minutes on Sunday. You see the level of quality he has when we are sustaining the attacks and there’s maybe less running back.

HOOP HOOP HOORAY…James Forrest celebrates at McDiarmid Park.

“He’s a fantastic player and it was a joy seeing the way he kept the ball and worked it.”

Forrest was on the scoresheet when he came on as a late substitute against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on December 3 last year.

The touchline ace raced away to tuck in the killer third strike in the 3-1 success and he may be given the opportunity at Parkhead on Saturday afternoon to stage an action replay when the Perth outfit provide the opposition.

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