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FORREST REMAINS UPBEAT

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JAMES FORREST is looking on the positive side before shell-shocked Scotland face San Marino in the second Euro 2020 qualifying tie tomorrow night.

The Celtic winger played 81 minutes of the horrendous 3-0 thumping from Kazakhstan in the Astana Arena on Thursday afternoon during one of the worst results in the nation’s footballing history.

But Forrest has also sampled defeat on the same ground while on Champions League qualifying duty – and it didn’t prevent the side, then managed by Brendan Rodgers, winning through.

The 27-year-old winger was part of the Hoops line-up that travelled to Kazakhstan with a 5-0 first leg lead following a one-sided encounter in the east end of Glasgow.

It looked like a seemingly unassailable advantage against FC Astana, but the Scottish champions were 4-1 down at one stage before a late rally made the final score 4-3 for the Kazakhs with the visitors achieving a passport to the next stage on an 8-4 on aggregate.

Forrest, speaking to The Scotsman, recalled: “I’ve been here a couple of times with Celtic and it felt similar to that time we were 4-1 down.

“They scored and grew in confidence and we were sloppy in possession and just never really got going.”

SCOTLAND THE RAVE…James Forrest is aiming for San Marino.

Unfortunately, it was a similar story on Thursday without a happy outcome with Scotland surrendering three precious points in a group that also includes Belgium and Russia.

Forrest scored a hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Israel at Hampden in November to become the first Celtic player to claim three goals for Scotland since Jimmy Quinn over 100 years earlier.

However, the frontman’s fortunes somersaulted during the week and he admitted: “It couldn’t have gone worse with it being the first game of the campaign. It’s really disappointing.

“We have to try and lift ourselves and take three points from Sunday.

“We were all right for the first few minutes, but it meant nothing after they scored and then scored again not long after the first one. From there, they grew in confidence. We didn’t get started at all.”

Now all eyes are the San Marino game where Alex McLeish’s men are taking on the nation ranked the lowest in the world in the FIFA listings.

After the setback against the country in 117th position, the Scots cannot afford another disaster.

 

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