There is something to be said about having a famous name. Today James Forrest popped up with the goal and I was as pleased as I could be for him.
He carries the weight of his famous name well, and he always has.
That’s my little not-so-private joke about Forrest; that’s why I occasionally refer to him in articles as The Famous Name. My excuse is simple; I got here first!
Actually, it always makes me smile when he bags a match winner because of something Nick Hornby said in Fever Pitch about how the day after a big Arsenal win he knows that a bunch of people will see the score and automatically think of him.
On days when Forrest scores a winner it is inescapable that people I haven’t seen in years who see the score and the scorer will pause for a moment and I’ll pop into their heads.
Hopefully they are all in a good place doing good things.
But of course, even if he had someone else’s name (or I did) I would still be a big fan of the player who got our winner today because he is such a pure Celt.
You cannot take away from this boy the enormous contribution he has made to our club down through the years.
For one thing, he is that rarest thing in football; he is, so far, a one club player.
The loyalty he’s shown to Celtic is extraordinary.
He will most probably end his career here. He will hit the 100 goals mark, probably in this campaign now that he is fit and back in the side for real. He has played in treble winning teams. He has driven those teams.
He has played under four Celtic managers now and proved himself a winner under all of them. People tend to forget these things about him. He made his debut in 2010, as a substitute against Motherwell with nine minutes to go. It only took him six to score his first goal. Tonight he sits on 96 goals … he’s on the brink of another page in his personal history.
He will be a Celtic legend. He deserves to be. His goals and his medal haul will stand up alongside that of any player in our recent history, and his contribution to those triumphs, in goals and in assists, is worth its weight in the gold of all his winners medals.
I am delighted he’s back in this team and delighted he got the winner.
And dear oh dear how we needed that winner today. It was slow, steady, turgid stuff for the most part and although we deserved to win it was made tougher for us than it had to be by a midfield which looks much slower without Tom Rogic in it. The manager has clearly identified this which is why he’s so determined to sign a player in this area in the window.
A few players were off the pace today. But we showed the right character and determination to go through. We deserved it because we tried to win, whilst they just tried to stop us winning. The manager deserved it for the courage of his changes and the rightness of them. We deserved to win it for the season we’ve had and all the shit we’ve had to eat.
It was “Red” Sanders, the legendary American football coach who said that “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” and he was correct in that sport and in many others.
Teams can play for a draw in the league but not in cups, which is why were unbeatable for so long in them. There was never really much doubt in my mind about today because defensive football is a fool’s errand in a cup semi-final and gets exactly what it deserves in the end.
And the winning was all that mattered today. A cup semi-final is the perfect “must win” game because you don’t even get a runners up medal if you fail in that one … and this is a Celtic team and a Celtic boss as hungry for glory as the Rodgers team was.
Today they reached their first major final … with the emphasis on first.
Because this team will be at Hampden a lot in the next few years.