'I knew I was three short': James Forrest takes limelight after joining Celtic's 100 club

James Forrest has never been one to like the limelight. A quiet, humble, hard-working character, he prefers to let others do the talking. Yet this likeable 31-year-old could not avoid being centre of attention this time around after scoring a hat-trick against Hibs and taking his goal-tally for Celtic to 100 goals.

James Forrest celebrates after scoring to make it 4-1 Celtic - his 100th goal for the club.
James Forrest celebrates after scoring to make it 4-1 Celtic - his 100th goal for the club.

Forrest was handed his first start of the season by manager Ange Postecoglou and he was the main player in a 6-1 thrashing of hapless Hibs. He could have scored more on the day had he not been replaced, to rapturous applause, on 65 minutes and he can lay claim to being a Celtic legend: 100 goals, ten leagues titles, five Scottish Cups and five League Cups. His achievements are even more impressive given he’s had injuries to contend with, especially under Postecoglou, where he has not started as frequently as before.

Asked when he started thinking about reaching 100 goals, Forrest remarked: “Maybe last year when I’ve got closer more people have mentioned it. The team is doing well and I’ve not playing. I’m delighted – first start of the season, helping the boys and getting another hat-trick and 100 goals is unbelievable. I knew I was three short. I’ve scored two hat-tricks so didn’t think I’d get another but we started really well and getting the first goal early I always knew we’d get chances. Having two at half-time, it was definitely in my head going into the second half.

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"In football it’s crazy how one game can be so high then it goes low. But I think what I’ve done and how I’ve been there have been so many highs and it’s definitely been worth it. I’m grateful to be here so long and delighted I’ve contributed. A couple of boys were winding me up wanting me to dance in front of the fans."

Forrest has had to bide his time for a start this term, with Jota, Liel Abada, Daizen Maeda and Sead Haksabanovic offering stern competition on the flanks. He hopes that he has given Postecoglou some food for thought with his efforts against Hibs.

“The manager is big on performance,” continued Forrest. “The last couple of games I felt I’d done well coming on. The amount of games and the way we play I think he will need every one at it and have subs coming on making an impact. Every player needs to be ready and because he has changed it nobody knows if they’re playing or not. It’s good for competition for places.

“The manager just wants everyone training hard and playing well. As I’m older I’ve been injured and had different experiences. Maybe this year I’ve had a good pre-season. I’ve maybe not played as much as you want but you have to look at the positives. You can’t be down and the manager always said he’d give everyone a chance and the last few games have proved that with players who have been on the fringes coming on.”