EXACTLY a year ago, James Forrest signed an extension to keep him at Celtic until June 2025.
The announcement was made only 24 hours after Ange Postecoglou had led the team to a Premiership title in his debut campaign following a 1-1 draw with Dundee United at Tannadice.
Forrest, the club’s marathon man, picked up his TWENTIETH honour with the championship triumph and his manager was absolutely delighted.
DENIED…James Forrest just fails to snap up a rebound as Livingston keeper Jack Hamilton makes a brave save at his feet in Celtic’s 3-0 win in October.
Postecoglou, as reported by CQN, declared: “James is my kind of player.
“He has that attacking intent that can open up defences to make goals, not only for himself, but for others, as well.
“He’s been a great servant thanks to his brilliant quality and attributes and those have made him a proven contributor to the club’s success – you only have to look at his medal collection to see that.”
Forrest, who will be 32 in July, lifted his eleventh title this season, but has hardly figured with a mere five starts from his 15 league appearances which qualifies him for a medal with the cut-off at 10 outings.
He was in at the kick-off for the 2-2 draw at Ibrox on January 2 and played for 61 minutes before being replaced by Liel Abada.
ON THE RUN… James Forrest races away from St Johnstone defender Ryan McGowan in Celtic’s dramatic late 2-1 triumph in Perth earlier this season.
However, he then faded from the first-team picture and his last appearance came in the 4-0 home win over Aberdeen on February 18 when he took over from Reo Hatate with 11 minutes to play.
There was a three-match sequence with the winger remaining on the substitutes’ bench and he has missed the last eight games through injury.
Forrest was ruled out of the 2-1 League Cup Final win in February and there was another no-show in the 1-0 Scottish Cup semi-final victory last month.
The highlight of a stop-start term has got to be his hat-trick in the 6-1 win over Hibs at Parkhead on October 15 when he became a Ton-Up Bhoy with a century of goals.
A year ago, a beaming Forrest admitted: “I’m buzzing that I’m committed for another three years and, hopefully, I can keep adding to the success.
“I’ve been here since I’ve been a wee boy and I’ve loved every year I’ve been here. I feel as though I’m ready to keep playing at this level and keep working hard.
HAMPDEN HURRAHS…James Forrest lifts the Scottish Cup after Celtic’s 2-0 win over Motherwell in May 2018.
“It’s not till I finish my career that I’ll look back on it and it will really sink in. For now, I just want to take a game at a time and look forward to the next trophy and playing for Celtic and that’s what I want to keep doing in the next few years.”
Forrest was introduced to the first team in a league game against Motherwell in the east end of Glasgow on May 1 2010 and the teenager repaid the manager for his faith in his ability with a goal in the 4-0 win.
He claimed his 101st when he headed in the opener in the remarkable 4-3 victory over Hearts at Tynecastle a week after his trio against their Edinburgh neighbours when he reached his personal landmark.
Is there even the remote possibility of a cameo appearance for a matchfit Forrest in the Scottish Cup Final against Inverness Caley Thistle at Hampden on Saturday June 3?
It would be a fitting way for the curtain to come down on another memorable and historic crusade for Celtic and a loyal one-club man.