Celtic's James Forrest targeting place in exclusive club after joining another with Livingston strike

It was an exquisite finish that snared Celtic winger James Forrest his first goal in four months.

Celtic's James Forrest (centre) is congratulated by his team-mates after his Livingston goal that places him in an exclusive club of 10 players to have netted in 13 consecutive top flight season in the near-50 year Premier era. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Celtic's James Forrest (centre) is congratulated by his team-mates after his Livingston goal that places him in an exclusive club of 10 players to have netted in 13 consecutive top flight season in the near-50 year Premier era. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Now the 30-year-old is earmarking an exquisite finish of a different variety before the end of the season. His drilled left-foot strike from the tightest angle to put Celtic three-up in their 3-1 victory over Livingston was his 96th of a stellar career. It may only be Forrest’s fourth of the season, and his previous one may have been the League Cup semi-final decider against St Johnstone on November 20, but the player believes he can join Celtic’s elite 100 club inside the closing 11 weeks of the term.

Only 29 players have hit the ton for the club. And, with his Almondvale counter his first league goal of the season, Forrest has become one of only 10 players in the near 50-years of the Premier era to net in 13 consecutive top flight campaigns. A comeback display of sorts after a largely unproductive period, a significant afternoon for Forrest and his team was capped by his first win in West Lothian of his time in Celtic colours. Not since 2007 had the Parkhead club won at the ground. With Ange Postecoglou’s men restoring their three-point advantage over Rangers at the top of the table, Forrest has other personal points to make as he sees breaching 100 goals as achievable in the coming two-and-a-bit months.

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“It's always been a target,” the Celtic attacker said. “When I scored my last goal - it seems a while ago now - I said that when you are playing with such good players in the squad you are always going to get chances and it will just come down to me whether I take them or not. I managed to get one today so hopefully I can keep adding to it. Normally it's afterwards you talk about stuff you have done. I know it's not easy. I'm not going to say 'when I score four goals'. I am just going to keep working hard and try to add to that and help the team in the coming games.

“[In terms of scoring in 13 consecutive top-flight campaigns] I have felt as though I have had lots of chances and just not been able to take them. Sometimes the harder chances go in. The manager always says if the forward players keep getting in the right areas then they will get the goals and I was glad I managed to do that. I have been feeling good. The manager is not bothered who scores the goals. A lot of this season we have spread the goals amongst the squad. That helps, you are not just looking at one or two players to keep scoring the goals, even though a couple have scored more than others. If I just keep working hard and getting the chances, they will come sooner or later. I think it’s the best we have played here. We scored three and had other chances as well, so I think that is really good for the staff and the players to put in a performance like that. [I think authority] is probably a good word for it. Livingston have been doing really well. They don’t concede many goals at their ground and it’s a tough place to play.”

Forrest cut an unusually sombre figure in the moments after he guided his precision drive into the far corner, with his emotions at that instant accounting for that. “There was maybe a bit of relief,” he said of his reaction. “It was to make it 3-0 as well so all round…I have not scored in a few games and it helped the team get to 3-0, so it was maybe a bit of relief. I can't even remember now, I was just relieved and buzzing that I scored.”

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