In the aftermath of Celtic’s latest Champions League outing, James Forrest confronted the team’s European struggle with a mix of realism and resilience.

James Forrest
28th October 2023; Easter Road, Edinburgh, Scotland: Scottish Premiership Football, Hibernian versus Celtic; David Turnbull of Celtic, Anthony Ralston of Celtic and James Forrest of Celtic

His reflections following the match at the Stadio Olimpico, where Celtic previously triumphed in the Europa League in 2019, draw a picture of a team grappling with the demands of top-tier European football.

Forrest’s return to the Stadio Olimpico, a site of past glory, ended in disappointment this time. Despite a valiant effort against Lazio, the familiar sting of a close defeat in the Champions League resonated with Forrest and the team.

These moments of near success and ‘what if’ scenarios have become a recurring theme for Celtic in their recent European campaigns.

Discussing the team’s performance, Forrest did not resort to excuses. He acknowledged the challenges faced by Celtic, which included navigating through injuries and suspensions. The team’s effort against Lazio, consistent until the final minutes, reflects a certain level of competitiveness, albeit without the desired outcomes.

Forrest emphasised that Celtic’s struggle in the Champions League is not due to a lack of effort or capability. He pointed out that, except for a challenging match against Madrid, Celtic has remained competitive in most of their games. [RecordSport]

“Apart from Madrid away, we’ve been in all the games until the end really, so it’s quite annoying. I don’t think anyone is going to make any excuses, we’ve maybe not just had that little bit to get the results at the end. I don’t think we are miles off it. It’s a hard one to take when you’ve had four games in the group where you feel as though you could have got something in the game.

“That’s obviously a positive, but it’s frustrating as well. I don’t know if the gap is getting bigger – last year in the Champions League we were there in some games, and even in this campaign as well. It’s a hard one to say, it’s maybe just that clinical edge. It’s really hard to say to be honest.

“The way we started the first half tonight was good. They didn’t have many chances, although I don’t think we did either. Maybe in Europe away from home that is what you need to do, and then maybe that last bit, they’ve obviously had the quality to bring on off the bench and score a couple of goals.

“It is a learning curve, and we have one more group game to try and go out with a wee bit of positivity. Special memories here? Aye. Somebody said the Europa League win here was four years ago. That was a great occasion the last time. But it was obviously a bit gutting we didn’t get a good result here.”


  1. Forrest is well past his best yet started last night. Hardly surprising that Vata wants to leave. The team badly needs wingers that can supply the ammo for Kyogo before we end up losing him.


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