YET another injury setback for James Forrest was “the negative in a positive day” for Celtic manager Ronny Deila – with the bedevilled winger limping off and out of Wednesday’s Champions League play-off first leg against Maribor with a suspected hamstring pull.
Forrest appeared distraught when he pulled up in added time, only moments after his shot had allowed Jo Inge Berget to net Celtic’s sixth goal in a rout of Dundee United.
The 23-year-old has been unable to stay healthy for any concerted period across the past two seasons and Deila, while unsure of the player’s condition, was realistic about his prospects for Slovenia. “I hope it is not serious but it didn’t seem good when he walked off the pitch. I will see but I think so [that he will miss the European game].”
Adam Matthews is also a concern for Maribor – Legia Warsaw’s Monday hearing at the Court of Arbitration for UEFA’s by-the-book 3-0 forfeit defeat for fielding a suspended player notwithstanding – after he had to be withdrawn from the starting line-up following a problem with his calf in the warm-up.
His place at right-back was taken by Efe Ambrose, who Deila praised, while the Norwegian rested Mikael Lustig ahead of midweek. Following the unconvincing 3-0 victory away to St Johnstone in midweek, the battering handed out to a United side that had arrived in Glasgow on a high following the victories away to Aberdeen and at home to Motherwell, was something for Deila to embrace.
“I am into performances and today was a very good performance. For 60 minutes it was very good with pressing and transition and passing was much better and we created a lot of things. We kept the ball very good and also the set plays, we had focused on that and it was three goals. So I am happy and proud.”