Celtic’s James Forrest reveals what really happened in Reo Hatate man of the match TV clip

The unassuming James Forrest rarely goes viral. The Celtic winger isn’t the social media type.

Celtic’s Reo Hatate salutes the crowd after his man of the match performance in Monday's win over Hibs that James Forrest was unable to make the Japanese speaker aware of because he was speaking "too Scottish" as he sought to do so. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Celtic’s Reo Hatate salutes the crowd after his man of the match performance in Monday's win over Hibs that James Forrest was unable to make the Japanese speaker aware of because he was speaking "too Scottish" as he sought to do so. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

But he did this week after television cameras captured him alongside the club’s new arrival Reo Hatate on the Celtic bench following the withdrawal of the pair towards the close of the 2-0 home win against Hibs. In an endearing moment, Forrest seemed to be making the Japanese midfielder aware that the tannoy had announced him as man of the match as reward for his sparkling debut. All, though, was not quite as it appeared.

“You think he was aware?” said Celtic’s longest-serving senior player. “I could hear the tannoy alright but he didn’t have a clue what I was saying. I can’t really remember [what was being said between us] but someone sent it to me afterwards and it was funny. But somebody else [eventually] had to tell him [he had won it]. I was speaking too Scottish for him.”

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Ange Postecoglou’s men will head east to face Hearts on Wednesday for a first Tynecastle visit since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic for Celtic in which there will be away supporters. A reduced allocation means there will only be around 1,300, compared to the 3,500 Celtic faithful that witnessed their club’s 2-0 win there in December 2019. Yet, Forrest, who has started more games against the Gorgie side than any other team across his 12-year senior career, believes that when it comes to getting a message across, the club’s travelling band won’t be found wanting.

“It is always a bit intense with their fans there, but so long as we have some fans there…which wasn’t the case in first game of season [the league opener lost by Celtic 2-1 in July in front of only a 4,500 covid-restricted home crowd],” the Scotland international said. “I think it might make a wee difference [the allocation] but I think as long as there are some Celtic fans there, they are always loud - no matter what stadium it is. And especially if the Hearts fans are loud. Then the Celtic ones there will definitely make up for it.”

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