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LONE CELT FORREST

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JAMES FORREST is the sole survivor from the EIGHTEEN players in the Celtic squad that kicked off the eight-in-a-row title charge.

The spectacular sequence started with a 2-0 triumph over Hibs at Easter Road on Sunday, July 24, 2011.

Forrest came on as a second-half substitute in Edinburgh as strikes from Anthony Stokes and Ki Sung-Yeung got the Parkhead men off to a winning start in the league campaign.

There have been massive changes at the club since the remarkable run kicked off.

Neil Lennon was in charge back in the summer of 2011, but the Irishman and his backroom staff were replaced by Ronny Deila and his No.2 John Collins in June 2014. The Norwegian and the former Hoops and Scotland midfielder moved on with Brendan Rodgers’ dynamic arrival on May 2016.

Two-and-a-half years later – and seven domestic trophies delivered – Lennon is back in the hot seat after accepting a caretaker post in February with his predecessor quitting for Leicester City.

The ex-club captain in the Martin O’Neill era safely manoeuvred the team to a title and Scottish Cup success as the club sealed an unprecedented treble treble. Now he has nine in a row in his sights and it all starts this afternoon on Flag Day when St Johnstone visit Parkhead.

HAIL! HAIL! Neil Lennon accepts the applause from the Celtic support.

Here are the players who were victorious in Edinburgh eight years ago to get the ball rolling.

LUKASZ ZALUSKA: The keeper, now 37, was signed from Dundee United on a Bosman deal as back-up to his fellow-Pole Artur Boruc in 2009. He failed to establish himself in the first team and was also stand-by for Fraser Forster and then Craig Gordon. He was released four years ago and joined Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt 98. Now back in his homeland, he signed for Miedz Legnica last month after spells with Wisla Krakow and Pogon Szczecin.

MARK WILSON: Arrived from Dundee United for £500,000 in 2006, the right-back captained Celtic against Hibs in the absence of the suspended Scott Brown. He won a league medal in his final season at the club in 2012. After a year at Bristol City, he returned to Tannadice. The 35-year-old former once-capped international defender played 12 games for Dumbarton in 2015 before being released and had a stint as manager of Airdrie in 2016/17. Now working in the media.

NO WAY THROUGH…centre-half Kelvin Wilson clears up the danger.

KELVIN WILSON: Neil Lennon brought his former Nottingham Forest team-mate to Parkhead on a Bosman in the summer of 2011 and the centre-half, now 34, made his first appearance at Easter Road. He spent two years in the east end of Glasgow before returning to the City Ground in a £2.5million deal. Left the club in 2016 and had a spell with Rotherham United.

GLENN LOOVENS: The Dutch central defender, signed from Cardiff City for £2.1million in August 2008, was also on the way out at the end of the title-winning campaign.He spent a season with Spanish outfit Real Zaragoza before joining Sheffield Wednesday on a free transfer in December 2013. The 35-year-old stopper moved to Sunderland on a two-year deal for £500,000 last summer.

EMILIO IZAGUIRRE: The 33-year-old Honduran international defender, signed from Motagua for £675,000 in August 2010, lost his left-back place to Kieran Tierney four seasons ago and left after seven years for a brief stint at Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Fayha. Returned last summer, but was on the move again when his one-year deal expired. Reports of another comeback were shot down last month.

BERAM KAYAL: The Israeli midfielder cost around £1.5million when he joined from Maccabi Hafia in 2010. An ankle injury kept him out for four months and he faded from the first team picture when Deila replaced Lennon. The 31-year-old dynamo has overcome fitness problems and is still demonstrating his qualities in the top flight in England with Brighton.

JOE LEDLEY: The Welsh international arrived on a Bosman from Cardiff City in 2010 and became a key man for the Hoops. The 32-year-old playmaker was sold for £800,000 to Crystal Palace in January 2014 when he only had five months left on his contract. He joined Championship side Derby County in September 2017 and his contract was terminated by mutual consent in January 2019.

GOLDEN SHOT…midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung lines up a drive with Rangers’ Maurice Edu attempting to block while Gary Hooper
enjoys a close-up view.

KI SUNG-YEUNG: The South Korean midfielder, signed from FC Seoul for £2.1million in 2009, scored seven times for the title-winners and claimed the second goal against Hibs in the 63rd minute. The 30-year-old moved to Premier League side Swansea City in 2012 for £6million and had a loan spell at Sunderland before returning to the Welsh outfit. Now with Newcastle.

KRIS COMMONS: The 35-year-old former Scotland international midfielder, who missed a penalty-kick against Hibs, arrived for a bargain £300,000 from Derby County in January 2011. He failed to make a solitary appearance in Brendan Rodgers’ first campaign in 2016/17 and left at the end of that season when his contract expired. Commons also had a loan spell at Lennon’s Hibs before calling it a day to concentrate on a career in the media.

AIR RAID…Anthony Stokes rises to the occasion.

ANTHONY STOKES: The Republic of Ireland international, who arrived in a £1.2million deal from Hibs in August 2010, grabbed the 14th-minute opener against his old club, where he spent five months on loan in 2016 and helped them to win their first Scottish Cup in 114 years. The 30-year-old frontman left Parkhead that summer to join Blackburn Rovers. After a third spell at Hibs, where he was released by Lennon, he had a disastrous two-months spell at Greek club Apollon Smyrni before joining Iranian side Tractor Sazi in June last year. Now with Turkish outfit Adana Demispor.

JOY BHOY…the prolific Gary Hooper celebrates another goal.

GARY HOOPER: The striker was an inspired £2.4million signing by Lennon from Scunthorpe in July 2010. The Englishman scored 63 goals in 95 league games before Norwich City paid £5million to take him to Carrow Road in July 2013. The goals dried up in East Anglia and the 31-year-old moved to Sheffield Wednesday in a £2.5million switch in January 2016. He was released at the end of the season.

WIDE BHOY…winger James Forrest in action against Aberdeen.

JAMES FORREST: The winger replaced Commons on the hour mark. The 30 times-capped Scotland international, now 28, made his breakthrough in season 2009/10, but failed to settle until Rodgers arrived and put him back on track. Also agreed a contract extension at the start of last season after impressing Deila’s successor. Now a key component in Lennon’s first team and has proved to be a big-game performer. He has won a remarkable 17 medals and is under contract until 2022.

HEAD BHOY…Greek ace Georgios Samaras gets in before Dundee United defender Robbie Neilson to thump in a header.

GEORGIOS SAMARAS: Came on as a 79th-minute substitute for Stokes. Gordon Strachan signed him for £2.5million from Manchester City in 2008 after the Greek international impressed during his initial loan period. The 34-year-old attacker left in 2014 at the end of his contract and signed for West Brom. Also had a spell with little-known American outfit Rayo OKC and then Real Zaragoza. Signed for Turkish side Samsunspor in August 2017. He retired from playing this year.

SHAUN MALONEY: Had only four minutes on the pitch after replacing Hooper. The 36-year-old was in his second spell at Parkhead after starting out in 2000 under Martin O’Neill and then rejoining the Irishman at Aston Villa for £1million in 2007. He returned to the Hoops a year later for £3million. He left in August 31, 2011 in an £850,000 deal for Wigan and had spells at Hull City and MLS outfit Chicago Fire. Quit as youth team coach at the Hoops during this campaign to join Roberto Martinez’s Belgium international set-up.

Unused substitutes: Dominic Cervi, Charlie Mulgrew, Adam Matthews and Victor Wanyama.

CHAMPIONS…Celtic celebrate at the end of the 2011/12 season.

*DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v St Johnston this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

 

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