CENTURIAN James Forrest will go down as one of the Celtic greats.
That’s the verdict of boss Ange Postecoglou who watched the 31-year-old winger notch a hat-trick in the 6-1 romp against Hibs at the weekend that hoisted him onto the 100-goal mark.
Fired-up Forrest was unstoppable against the Edinburgh club as he stormed up the scoring charts to take his place alongside legends such as Jimmy McGrory, Bobby Lennox, Stevie Chalmers, John Hughes, Kenny Dalglish and Henrik Larsson.
Postecoglou has been impressed by the professionalism and attitude of the Scotland international since arriving at Parkhead in June last year.
The Hoops gaffer said: “James will go down as one of the greats.
WALLOP…James Forrest fires in a blistering drive in the 9-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice in August.
“Sometimes you don’t recognise it when it’s in the building every day, but you can see why he’s been so successful for so long because he’s very committed to being a professional and all that entails.
“He’s very strong-willed and you have to be to survive at this football club for so long because of the demands and pressures of success as a team and an individual.
“You just have to see how his team-mates reacted to him on the weekend.
“He’s very popular because he’s one of these guys who is reliable and treats everyone the same way.
“That was important for me when I came here because there was a lot of change and having someone like James here who’s had that success and knows all about this football club was going to be a help.
“That’s how it transpired, but it’s not the reason I kept him about, I kept him because I felt he could contribute on the field and I think he still can.
“There’s still more to come, but when it’s all done and dusted he will go down as a great.”
Reflecting on the champions’ first 10 Premiership outings that has seen them win nine and lose one while scoring 35 goals and concede six, Postecoglou, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “I think it’s been positive and our form for the most part has been pretty consistent.
“We dropped a game against St Mirren which we’re disappointed with, but aside from that, not just with our results, but also in our performances, it’s been really strong.
“People tend to focus on games like the St Johnstone one where we scored in the last minute to win the game, but whether it’s 5-1 and looking to get a sixth in the final minute, that mentality is there all the time.
JOY BHOY…James Forrest celebrates his hat-trick – and 100th goal – against Hibs.
“It starts in training and in the culture and environment that we’ve created here and, for me, that’s really important because you know in a season you’ll get challenged in different ways and part of that resilience is to go until the last minute.”
Postecoglou is now preparing his players for tomorrow night’s Premier Sports League Cup quarter-final against Motherwell at Fir park.
He added: “Every competition for this football club is about being successful. The Cup is a competition we won last year and we want to make sure the momentum we have in the league, we take that into that competition.
“It’s always a bit different with one-off games because the teams we play against will usually be a bit braver and being away from home in Cup competitions is an added layer.”