James Forrest uses his head when it comes to Celtic’s rotation game
Winger bouyed by only second header of 90-goal haul
It was not quite a hundred to one occurrence. The stupendous header with which James Forrest secured Celtic a 2-1 victory over St Mirren the other night was a two in 90 to be exact.
For only one of the 89 goals that the wide man had previously netted for his club had come via his forehead, that strike the final counter in a 3-1 win over Kilmarnock back in April 2017. “It was from about a yard,” recalled the 29-year-old, who was fully 12 yards out when he used the pace of a Ryan Christie cross to send the ball flashing high into the net.
An important intervention from Forrest, he does not believe it guarantees his selection for the hosting of Livingston on Saturday, as the result of Neil Lennon rotating his squad in Paisley as the Celtic manager seeks to cope with a heavy fixture schedule.
The Scotland international rates the weekend encounter as “massive” because a win would take Celtic to the top of the Premiership. It could also be personally significant to him with his brother Alan Forrest - whom he has never faced - now in the ranks of the West Lothian side.
“There are a lot of games and a lot of competitions we want to do well in. The manager made four changes to freshen the team up against St Mirren so it’s good we have a strong squad,” the Celtic attacker said. “The bench had a lot of international players on it. We also have international players who are coming back to fitness. If you’re playing it keeps you on your toes. If you don’t play well, or the team has a bad result, then there are always players who could come into your position. That just makes it competitive within the squad.”
Competitive football has been disfigured by the absence of supporters as society deals with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Forrest doesn’t downplay the difficulties of playing in empty stadiums.
“After the first one or two games it was alright. But then the more games you play without fans the more you realise how much we need them in. You go away from home and we usually have a big crowd there waiting for us. think both sets of players want fans in, whether you’re playing home or away. It’s just better for the game. Listen, I think everyone is dealing with it well. We’d all rather have the games they way it is now than not have them. But we’ll all be buzzing when the fans do get back.
“Both sets of players are dealing with the situation at the moment but it’s difficult. If you’re losing in a game it can put extra pressure on you when you have fans there and that can give you a boost. I just hope the fans are back soon.”
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