It was very clear from the countless comments I read over the course of last season that Celtic supporters believe that James Forrest is finished at Celtic. Well, at least the majority of supporters anyway.
This is why it took so many by surprise when Ange Postecoglou granted Forrest a new 3 year deal at the club, which ties him down until the summer of 2025.
We definitely didn’t see the best of Forrest in a Celtic jersey last season as he seemed constantly injured or kept out of the side by on form players like Jota and Abada, but Forrest has had these sorts of spells throughout his 12 years in the Celtic first team.
He has always been a controversial figure amongst Celtic supporters due to his wildly inconsistent performances. There isn’t really a player who splits the fan base more than Forrest.
It’s because on his day, he is unplayable. There have been matches in his career where it seems he can just score as many as he feels like scoring and the opposition can’t do anything about it, weaving in and out of defenders for fun, but there are also games where everything he tries fails, he can’t get by the first defender all game and his shooting is woeful.
He really is a bit of an enigma.
But despite his poor form last season, Ange has obviously seen enough from him in training to give him a new deal. He will be a high earner at the club and even if he accepted a pay cut, which I honestly feel might have happened as the player was desperate to stay at Celtic and the club knew this, he will still be on a significant wage which could have been freed up for another signing if Ange wanted it to be.
But no, he still sees Forrest as an important part of his plans and having just turned 31 years old, there should be at least 2 or 3 years left for Forrest to play well and contribute for us at a high level, even if it’s coming off the bench most games or playing in the odd match here and there.
He started the first half tonight and I felt he looked sharp. I wasn’t able to watch the first half that closely, but he did well to set up Jota’s opening goal and not long after that he played a beautiful cross into the box which on another day could have lead to a goal.
I think a great pre-season will do Forrest the world of good and if anyone can get the best out of Forrest in his final years in the hoops, it is our manager Ange Postecoglou.