The Rise And Fall And Rise And Fall And Rise Of Celtic’s One Club Wonder.

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James Forrest surprised us all at the weekend. Everyone, it seems, but Ange.

He selected him yesterday knowing that Forrest hadn’t played particularly well in weeks.

He selected him knowing that a lot of Celtic fans had serious doubts that he could still perform for this team.

He selected him because he still believes.

And Forrest repaid that belief.

I am not one of the perennial Forrest critics. But even I thought that this team shape, and this style, had left him behind.

I thought that it was too far advanced for him, that the contrast between him and Abada was too great. I thought this evolution had taken this club beyond a place where he still had something to offer it in the medium term.

But Forrest is used to this stuff by now, I think.

As a long-time whipping boy of the stands, even I have written him off at least once, back before Rodgers arrived when he seemed certain to leave on freedom of contract and I didn’t see that we were losing much.

In the year or so that followed though, he played the best football of his Celtic career. I couldn’t understand, at all, why there were so many people in the stands who thought he only got into the team because he was all we had wide right.

Yet his contribution to this club has been immense.

He is now on 96 goals for our club.

He has scored in all 13 seasons in which has played in the SPFL.

He is one of our most passionately loyal footballers, a one-club player at a time when that is the rarest thing in the game.

And Forrest has had offers, some public and some private.

He could have left years ago, to pursue mega-money down south and he would have gotten it. He can clearly operate at that level but he chose not to. He chose to stay at Celtic. He chose to give us the best years of his career.

This is a testing time for him. He has had to learn to adapt to Ange’s style of play, just as he had to adapt to the styles of other managers. He’s seen it all in his time at the club, and the only amazing thing about his performance yesterday is how few of us expected it when we really should know better. Forrest is always capable of that.

This guy rose, then fell. Then he rose and fell again.

He rose once more only to fall somewhat under Ange.

Is this the start of one final rise, where he gets to that 100 goals and then beyond? It could be. He will make the 100 goals come what may now; it’s whether or not he can make himself a first team starting eleven player again … and I guess we’ll see.

But Ange definitely believes in him. Ange definitely has faith.

He chose Forrest for one of our trickiest fixtures of the season, on that abysmal surface, with all that pressure on him … and the Famous Name delivered in fine style.

He’s now four goals from his rightful place in our history, and there are still eight league games to go in this campaign.

It is only a matter of time now.

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  • Stevie says:

    Don’t really understand your surprise. James Forrest has been one of our most consistent players for years and as far as I’m concerned the best wide option we currently have. Abada and Jota have huge potential but Forrest has nothing to prove.

  • SSMPM says:

    That seems an odd thing to headline. Many Celtic fans have given their continued support to Forrest and were not in the least bit surprised that he can put in a performance or put the ball in the net. James has, inconsistently granted, been one of few players over the years with the pace and energy to make a difference in games. That inconsistency mainly due to the serial interruptions of injuries has elicited a negative response from some, indeed many fans, but they are not the Celtic support, they are only some. The issue over the years has been the lack of a decent man to cover due to those injuries, and share the role, that’s down to Celtic. Well done to James, a wee run will I hope help to achieve his 100 this season, just more salt to rub in hun eyes. HH

  • Bob (original) says:

    It was a pleasant surprise to see Jamesy perform more like his old self – and he made his difficult goal look easy.

    Hope yesterday was not just a blip and that he can remind us all just how good he can be – through to season end.

  • 18871888 says:

    Four goals against the Sevvies would be the best way to do it – preferably in a wanner, at Ibrox.

  • Jorge says:

    I like James Forrest, but there are an awful lot of people getting carried away with one competent performance and a well taken goal after so many poor performances over many months. I hope he continues to make a contribution whenever he is played in future.

  • Scud Missile says:

    Forrest was completely written off on FF yesterday with the klan laughing when was selected to play.
    So guess who’s having the last laugh now,let’s hope the sevco klan keep this up then as they seem to be getting every prediction wrong.

  • jrm63 says:

    I think he looked like he had lost some weight yesterday. It did not seem to do him any harm either

  • Charlie Green says:

    A master of hiding in plain sight. If Ange picks him to play in front of 60 baying morons at Ibrox you’ll soon see why people doubt him. The only decent games he’s had in recent years were the result of Roberts pushing for his position.

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