James Forrest: I’m fit for final and never want to leave Celtic

James Forrest has been named Scottish Football Writers Association ,International Player of the Year. Picture: Steve Welsh
James Forrest has been named Scottish Football Writers Association ,International Player of the Year. Picture: Steve Welsh
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Double player of the year James Forrest has declared himself fit to face Hearts as Celtic seek to complete the treble treble in the William Hill Scottish Cup final a week on Saturday.

The Scotland winger missed the champions’ 2-0 defeat by Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday due to a hamstring problem.

The 27-year-old had already been named PFA Scotland Player of the Year and was yesterday revealed as the Scottish Football Writers’ Association International Player of the Year.

Asked whether he expected to be ready for the final, he replied: “Yes. It’s still early at the moment and I’m just taking it day by day. We have the final Premiership game against Hearts on Sunday so I’m not ruling out being involved in that one.

“I should be fine for the final and I’m not giving up hope of playing this weekend.

“My hamstring was just a little tight after the title win at Aberdeen so the manager didn’t want to risk it or push me so we’ll see what happens in the next few days.”

Forrest also revealed he has no desire to leave Celtic. Like team-mates Callum McGregor and Kieran Tierney, he came through the club’s youth system and earlier this season signed a deal which will keep him at Parkhead until he is 30.

Forrest said: “I’ve always felt that to stay with Celtic for my entire career would be unbelievable. We’re still a long way away from that but I’m really enjoying it and, over the last few years, I’ve discovered that this club is bigger than even I had realised before.

“I’m delighted to be here and I’ll keep working hard to ensure that I can stay here.

“I’ve spoken to more players than you might think who have left here and then wished that they hadn’t. Many would tell you themselves that they didn’t realise what a big club this is until after they’d gone. Of course, some of them moved on to have a different experience and probably wouldn’t change things.

“There’s no right or wrong when it comes to that but I now know how big Celtic truly is and how successful we can be. That also helps with Scotland as well, which is a big thing for me.”

Forrest, pictured, is unfazed by the reaction to Rangers’ 
victory and suggestions that Steven Gerrard’s side could halt Celtic’s progress to a record ten successive titles in the next two seasons.

“It’s clearly not a good thing when you lose an Old Firm game but, after the defeat in December, we went on a great run,” he said.

“That [Sunday’s] defeat has given us a wee shock and a reminder that we need to be at it all the time if we’re going to keep winning cups and titles.”