Celtic are back in action away to Motherwell in the League Cup on Wednesday evening, with the Hoops heading into that quarter-final clash off the back of their clinical display against Hibernian at Parkhead on Saturday.
Following a week of disappointment following the Scottish champions’ Champions League exit, Ange Postecoglou’s side were able to somewhat put that behind them with a ruthless display on Saturday afternoon, hitting six past their hapless opponents.
After much talk about the Hoops’ profligacy in front of goal of late – with the title-winning coach insisting his side paid the “ultimate price” for their final third failings in Europe – that recent outing against Lee Johnson’s side proved just how devastating the Glasgow side can be when at their peak.
That brutal outing was spearheaded by the stunning performance of long-serving gem, James Forrest, with the 31-year-old making his mark on what was just his first start of the season by netting a brilliant hat-trick.
That treble took the Scotland international’s total tally for the club to 100 goals in all competitions since making his debut back in 2010, with the academy graduate having been a truly “special” asset for the Bhoys for over a decade, in the words of teammate Callum McGregor.
While there was some fortune involved in his goalscoring heroics – with opposition stopper David Marshall effectively dropping the ball into his own net for the winger’s second effort of the match – it showcased that the £4.5m-rated ace can still have a big part to play for Postecoglou’s side in the coming years.
The former Yokohama boss insisted as much following that latest triumph, suggesting that 38-cap gem had not been afforded a new three-year deal at the end of last term for mere “sentimental reasons”, such is the player’s continued importance to the club.
The £19k-per-week speedster will be hoping to add to his century of strikes in just a days’ time for the trip to Fir Park, with the Steelmen no doubt an opponent that the 5 foot 9 man knows all about having routinely terrorised the club over the years.
The Prestwick-born machine boasts a stunning record against the Well in his career to date, with nine goals and ten assists in all competitions, with that tally of 19 goal involvements the most that he has accumulated against any opponent.
A constant nemesis for the club, Forrest could well be the difference-maker as holders Celtic look to secure passage to the semi-final.