Lennon lauds ‘irreplaceable’ winger Forrest

Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Picture: SNS
Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Picture: SNS
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JAMES FORREST was described as “irreplaceable” by Neil Lennon after the Celtic manager admitted he feared being “devastated” by the winger suffering another injury on his senior comeback following seven weeks sidelined.

The 21-year-old scored after replacing Beram Kayal in the 58th minute yesterday but towards the conclusion of the 4-0 win over Ross County went down holding his hamstring.

“I held my breath a bit when that happened,” Lennon said. “If we had lost him for a length of time again it would have been devastating for us because of the wonderful talent he is. He knows he has to report any extra niggles or anything straight away. We are going to monitor him carefully and make sure he is fit and ready. He has worked really hard the last six or seven weeks and is in great shape. We just need to get him on the pitch on a regular basis.”

Asked about signing a player who could serve as an alternative to Forest in the transfer window, Lennon said: “Yeah, but they are hard to find. What price could you put on a James Forrest? He is the best kid I’ve worked with and one of the best kids I’ve seen for a long time. It is just the quality and calibre of his play. He comes alive and makes people get up from their seats. To have him back is great because he brings that pace to the team and everyone seems to react.

“All of a sudden you see [Gary] Hooper, [Georgios] Samaras and Lassad reacting. Gary will find the ball in pockets and Jamesy will take off. It opened the game up for us. At times we were a wee bit stodgy because we didn’t have that natural width. What James gives us is exactly that, width and pace.”