JAMES FORREST has not even started 10 games in the past two seasons, but the evergreen winger is emerging as key man as this current campaign reaches a thunderous crescendo.

The 32-year-old Scotland international was in at the kick-off for only the fourth time in this crusade against Dundee at Dens Park yesterday – and he repaid Brendan Rodgers with a double salvo in the vitally important 2-1 victory.

Amazingly, it was Forrest’s first start since the Champions League outing against Lazio in Rome on November 28 when two late goals from the hosts inflicted a 2-0 defeat on the visitors.

NUMBER ONE…James Forrest first-times a right-foot drive past Dundee defender Antonio Portales for the opener at Dens Park.

But Forrest was celebrating his elevation to top-team status on Tayside with the strikes that maintained the Hoops’ three-point advantage at the Premiership pinnacle with only four league games to play.

It was a display from a reliable performer who made a mere five starts last term and his lattest contribution was lauded by the Parkhead boss, as CQN reported earlier today.

In typical understated fashion, Forrest reflected on his two-goal show at Dens and said: “The first goal was a good one and I was glad I contributed and helped the team to three points, which is the most important thing.

“We started well and had a few different combinations, especially down my side, and we got in a couple of times and maybe just our final pass wasn’t there. But once we got the goal, we settled into it.”

It’s clear the 32-year-old prolific touchline ace wants to be involved and, speaking to Celtic TV, admitted: “I think there was a wee spell in January-February when I wasn’t in squad and it was difficult.

NUMBER TWO…James Forrest fires in a left-foot drive to double Celtic’s advantage with team-mates Nicolas Kuhn and Adam Idah looking on.

“But you just need to keep working hard and keep training because in football anything can happen and it can change pretty quickly from game to game.

“So, you need to keep yourself on top of it in case you do get a chance. I’ve managed to do that and the last six weeks have been good.

“I’ve been back in the squad and contributing to the team and, hopefully, I can do that with the remaining games of the season.”

Forrest added: “If I look at my Celtic career, 90 percent of that and maybe more, has been so positive. There have been so many great memories and I’ve always felt this season that I could still contribute and help the team.

“So, it’s been great coming here, getting the three points and scoring a couple of goals.

“I’m just looking forward to the next couple of games and I want to keep doing more.”


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