Why Celtic v Livingston now holds special appeal for James Forrest

Winger will finally face young brother Alan on the pitch

Alan Forrest won a move to Livingston after a string of impressive performances for Ayr United. Picture: SNS

Ever since Alan Forrest made his first team debut for Ayr United back in 2013, he and big brother James have eagerly anticipated the prospect of facing each other on the pitch.

Throughout the past seven seasons, they have been left disappointed as the luck of the draws for the Scottish Cup and League Cup meant that ambition remained unfulfilled.

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But thanks to 23-year-old Alan’s summer move to Livingston, it will finally become a reality next season when the West Lothian club lock horns again with Celtic in the Premiership.

Celtic's James Forrest is looking forward to playing against his younger brother, Alan. Picture: Rob Casey / SNS

“It will be strange and it will be a different experience,” says James. “But it’s something I’ll look forward to happening.

“Alan was just 16 when he made his debut for Ayr and every single year and in every cup competition, you are always thinking about maybe being drawn against each other.

“It’s been close sometimes. Maybe they have been in the quarter-finals a couple of times and have either landed Rangers or Aberdeen instead of Celtic, but we’ve always been looking for it.

“Obviously, next season it is going to happen. It happened to Greg Taylor last season when we played Kilmarnock and his younger brother came on for them late in the game.

“I remember him saying that his family and everyone around them was buzzing. It doesn’t happen all that often, so you can understand the family buzzing with the two of them both playing.

“There is five years of a difference between Alan and me. To be fair, when we were younger, he’d join in with us in training, but never professionally has it happened. It’s a positive and something to enjoy.”

As Celtic start pre-season training this week, the Scotland winger is as enthusiastic as ever to play his part in trying to extend their sequence of domestic dominance.

“I’m 29 in July and want to play for as a long as I can at Celtic,” he added. “You hear about lots of boys leaving the club and they all say, when they go, just how big Celtic is. As the years go on, you do realise that more and more.

“I just want to keep trying to be a part of Celtic for as long as I can. I don’t know for how long that will be, but I’ll keep trying and I’ll work hard to do so.”

Forrest is part of a strong Scottish core in Neil Lennon’s side and he believes that native influence is a crucial part of their consistent gathering of silverware.

“It’s good to have the Scottish boys playing for Celtic, with a lot of them successful and able to take that onto the national team as well,” he said.

“I think the boys are all humble. It’s great a lot of the boys are like that and it’s great they take things onto the international level from club level.

“You need to always be better again every day at this club. Every manager that has been at Celtic has said it. There are so many games in a season and so much competition for places, you need to be at it with standards high even in training every single day.

“That has shown over the past few years. Those standards are high and it has translated onto the performances on the pitch. They are all great players and everyone talks about Scott Brown as our captain in that regard. And rightly so.

“If you ask anyone who has played alongside him or been around him, they will say exactly the same thing about his influence in all of the changing rooms that we have had through the years.

“You will find that quite a lot of people need to focus on themselves and concentrate and that helps the team.

“But the amount that Broony does for everyone, as well as keeping his own game up, is something that you cannot buy.

“If you think about trying to look after some people, whilst also still focusing on your own game and keeping your levels so high, there are not many players that could do it.”

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