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TON-UP BHOY FORREST’S TARGET

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JAMES FORREST is hoping to celebrate his 100th European game by helping Celtic through to the money spinning Champions League group stages.

The Scotland international winger played his 97th tie in the Hoops’6-0 victory over KR Reykjavik in the first qualifying round on Tuesday.

Forrest is looking forward to Wednesday’s clash against Hungary’s Ferencvaros that will edge Neil Lennon’s men towards the third one-off encounter and, hopefully, onto the two-legged play-off stage.

The 29-year-old forward, speaking to the club website, said: “It was strange playing a European tie with no fans in the stadium. In previous years, even at this stage of qualifiers, the fans are always there, it’s a sell-out and the crowd gets right behind you.

“It was different, but the boys did really well. We created chances for 90 minutes, we scored goals and it was good to be back. It was a good test.

“We just need to adapt to the one-off games. In Cup-ties in Scotland, we’re familiar with that. Anything can happen and we know that we need to be at our best and hit the ground running straight from the start.

“We’re at home, which gives us an advantage, and we need to make sure that we turn up and put in a performance.

“On Tuesday night, you could hear all of the players on the pitch and the coaches from the dug-outs. When we were in France, having those few thousand fans there made a big difference, so I think that that slight atmosphere, home and away, will be beneficial for everyone.”

For the moment, Dundee United are the immediate target for Forrest and his colleagues as they prepare for tomorrow’s visit to Tannadice with a 5.30pm kick-off.

He added: “We just want to keep winning games and putting in good performances now and, hopefully, the fans will be looking forward to getting back in. If it’s only a small number at the start, then that’s what it’ll be and then we can then keep getting more and more people back in.

“After Tuesday night, the games are coming thick and fast and we just need to make sure that everyone is ready and we’ve got a big squad to handle it.

“We’ve not played at Tannadice for a few years, but they have started this season strong and it’s a game that we’re looking forward to.”

The champions, aiming for a historic tenth successive title, dropped two points in the 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in their last outing after kicking off the campaign with a 5-1 win over Hamilton Accies on Flag Day.

 
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