JOE HART has praised Celtic’s multi-winning James Forrest – and the veteran keeper is hoping he can play a part in the evergreen winger’s big night on Tuesday, August 1 at Parkhead.
The long-serving forward is celebrating his 32nd birthday today, as CQN marked the special occasion earlier this morning.
And there is another landmark occasion on the horizon for Forrest with La Liga cracks Athletic Bilbao providing the opposition for a well-deserved testimonial for a one-club man who came through the ranks before making his first-team debut in 2010.
ONE DOWN, 99 TO GO…Celtic centurian James Forrest celebrates his debut goal against Motherwell in May 2010.
Hart, four years his team-mate’s senior, said: “I’ve not been on the journey with James, but I’ve certainly shared a dressing room with him for the last two years and you wouldn’t think that this guy is the guy who is one of the most decorated and one of the most successful at Celtic.
“He’s a superb person, someone that I’ve loved sharing the dressing room with.
“What a moment for himself and his family and I really hope I’m going to be a part of it. It’ll be a great night.”
Forrest walloped in a hat-trick in the runaway 6-1 victory over Hibs in the east end of Glasgow in October last year to hoist his tally to 100 for the champions. It’s an astonishing figure for a player who performs mainly i wide areas.
He has also won a landslide of personal honours and added the Premiership title and the Scottish Cup to the tally last season.
HOOPS LAUGH-IN…Joe Hart enjoys his meeting with the media. Image courtesy Celtic TV.
Hart, speaking to Celtic YouTube, added: “James is an exceptional guy, but what a night and something really positive.
“Obviously, we have work to do that night and James will appreciate that, as much as it is his show, there is also work to be done for the season.
“So, that just shows the humble guy that he is, but it is a night to come together and really celebrate.
“He would be the first person to say that he owes a lot to the fans and they think a lot of him. So, it’s going to be a top night.”
There’s been no stopping Forrest since he made his breakthrough 13 years ago. Neil Lennon sent on the rookie teenager as a second-half substutute against Motherwell on May 1 and he responded immediately by scoring the third goal in the team’s 4-0 victory.
He put down a marker that afternoon and he hasn’t disappointed since taking that first bow.