JAMES FORREST wants to make up for lost time in Scotland’s quest to come out of the international wilderness.
The Celtic winger celebrated his seventh birthday just a month after Craig Brown’s side kicked off the World Cup Finals against Brazil in France in 1998.
Remarkably, the Scots – who lost 2-1 to the Brazilians in the opening game, drew 1-1 with Norway and were hammered 3-0 by Morocco – haven’t managed to reach another top tournament since.
Forrest, now 23, is back in Gordon Strachan’s reckoning and is hoping to get the opportunity to play against Gibralter in the Euro 2016 qualifier at Hampden on Sunday.
The winger admitted: “I’m absolutely buzzing. When you are injured, the only thing you can think about is getting back fit again.
“Thankfully, I’m back playing at club level with Celtic and now I’m involved with Scotland again, so I’m delighted to be part of the squad. All that hard work helped get me through it.
A high-scoring victory over the minnows of Gibralter would leave Strachan’s men well-placed in their pursuit for qualification and a return to France after an 18-year absence from soccer’s top flight.
Forrest can still remember watching Scotland open France ’98. He said: “I was just about to turn seven the last time we qualified for a tournament, which was a long time ago!
“It would be an unbelievable achievement for the boys and Scotland, in general, to do it this time.
“I remember sitting in front of the telly watching Celtic assistant manager John Collins score the penalty against Brazil. You don’t realise at the time how big these moments are, it’s only afterwards you think about it.
“If we managed to get to France again it would be a monumental achievement, but there is still a long way to go.
“We just need to stay focused and see where it takes us.”