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‘WE NEED TO SHOW SOME CHARACTER,’ ADMITS FORREST

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DEFIANT James Forrest insists Celtic will bounce back from their disappointing display in the 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock on the dreaded playing surface at Rugby Park on Saturday.

The champions just could not get into their stride during a dire 90 minutes that saw them lose only their second game to Scottish opposition during Brendan Rodgers’ reign.

Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer limped off during the first-half which certainly didn’t help the Hoops’ cause, but Forrest didn’t attempt to hide behind excuses.

The winger and his team have a free midweek before facing Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup on Saturday and then a first-leg Europa League crunch five days later against Zenit St Petersburg, with both games at Parkhead.

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Forrest admitted there will be a positive response following the setback.

He said: “We need to make sure we get into the next round of the Cup and then it’s the European game after that. There are big games coming up and we have to try and turn it around.

“The squad we have is massive and a few boys have to come back this week. We have strength in depth and we can cope with the injuries.

“I don’t think the defeat at Kilmarnock was anything to do with injuries. Overall, we can’t blame individuals, collectively we weren’t good enough.

“Yes, we do play a lot of games, but I don’t think it was that.

“We did create more in that Hearts game when we lost at Tynecastle, but it just wasn’t our day that day.

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“We also know our team wasn’t good enough here and we just need to make sure we rectify that for next week.”

Forrest added: “It is difficult and Kilmarnock’s pitch is a bit better than Hamilton’s. Even though it’s not ideal, it’s the same for both teams.

“We don’t want to make excuses. We just weren’t good enough from start to finish.

“We got what we deserved and we need to show a bit of character to come back from it.

“We started okay, but the boys going off changed the way the game was going.

“It felt as if we didn’t create much in the game. They sat back and, although we had a lot of attacking players on the pitch, we weren’t good enough.”

New CQN Podcast with special guest Neil Lennon

A Celtic State of Mind presents its 33rd instalment of insightful discussion around the culture of Celtic Football Club, the city of Glasgow, and fans of the reigning treble-winning Scottish champions.

Paul John Dykes is joined by Neil Lennon, who spoke as part of the ‘Legends of Football’ event at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall a few weeks ago.

Neil discusses his early life in Lurgan, signing for Manchester City and then Crewe, before Martin O’Neill entered his life when he took him to Filbert Street in 1996. His time under O’Neill at Leicester and then Celtic is covered extensively, as is his Celtic Park managerial career, which takes in the famous victory against Barcelona in 2012.

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The CQN Podcast has gone from strength-to-strength over the last few months, and there are many more guests lined up in the weeks ahead from the world of sport, music, film, art, broadcasting, literature and politics.

Connect with A Celtic State of Mind @PaulDykes, @anorthernprose and @TheCQNPodcast and subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or through your podcast player.

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