Former Celtic striker, and manager of the likes of Aberdeen and Motherwell, Mark McGhee believes that the loss of winger James Forrest has played a major factor in the downfall of Neil Lennon’s side this season.

As quoted by the Sun Sport, spoke on his experiences with the winger whilst he was assistant at Scotland and even compared his absence to Liverpool star Virgil Van Dijk and how the English Premiership champions have missed the Dutch defender.

“Big teams can certainly miss one player, of course.

“For instance, there’s the talk about Van Dijk and Liverpool losing his defensive qualities.

“But it’s not just about the defensive qualities. It’s more than just the fact they let in less goals when he’s around.

“Van Dijk gives you a shift in both directions.

“James is similar. He’s matured into such an important player over the last two or three years for Celtic. He was working back, contributing a lot more going the other way on his flank.

“I remember the night down at Wembley for Scotland where he never once let Leighton Baines get the other side of him but still managed to work his way up the park.

“He showed tremendous responsibility and commitment to doing the job he was asked to do. I was so impressed with him.

“He does both jobs for Celtic so well. But obviously he’s the one who gets you up the park. I think Celtic have missed him more than people realise.

“There’s been a change in James in the last few years. He’s matured and taken responsibility in the team, knowing he’s important enough to affect results. Celtic will be so keen to get him back.

“I remember one day we played a practice match early in international week. Oh God, James was unplayable. We were blown away by how good he was.”

Forrest has faced his critics over the years at the club but year on year he has constantly provided for the side with crucial goals and assists.

His absence is not the only reason for our demise this year but it is clear we have been missing his impact on the side massively at times.

After being out since September, since our Europa League tie against Riga, fingers crossed we can see him back soon fit and raring to go.


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