Celtic return to Scottish Premiership action against Motherwell at Parkhead on Saturday, with the champions looking to bounce back from their disappointing 2-0 defeat to St Mirren prior to the international break.
The Old Firm outfit had been on a run of 38 games unbeaten in the league going into that meeting in Paisley, although were undone by a courageous Buddies outfit as manager Ange Postecoglou was left to rue his raft of changes.
The title-winning coach may well have a number of enforced selection alterations to make this time around, however, with a host of Hoops stars potential doubts for this weekend’s clash due to injury.
One of those possible absentees could well be that of summer signing Sead Haksabanovic, with the 23-year-old having been forced off while on international duty during Montengro’s Nations League defeat to Finland on Monday.
With there also concern surrounding the likes of David Turnbull, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Daizen Maeda, the Glasgow side’s attacking options appear somewhat limited at present, with the previously lauded squad depth set to be pushed to the limit.
A potential beneficiary of this growing list of injuries could well be long-serving forward, James Forrest, with the 31-year-old seemingly an ideal option to be unleashed against Steven Hammell’s side, having largely been on the periphery in the early weeks of the season.
Having signed a new three-year contract at the end of the last campaign, the Scotland international has since struggled to force his way into Postecoglou’s side, making just three substitute appearances in all competitions thus far.
Despite that limited involvement, the 38-cap forward has still shown his creative quality by laying on an assist in the League Cup triumph over Ross County, while his total tally now stands at 98 goals and 99 assists in 447 appearances in all competitions for the club to date.
It would be no surprise to see the academy graduate bring up a century in either of those attacking metrics were he to be handed a chance this weekend, having proven over the past decade or so just what a reliable and at times “underrated” figure he can be, in the words of Stefan Bienkowski.
Against the Steelmen, in particular, the £4.5m-rated man boasts an impressive record in his career to date, having scored nine goals and registered ten assists against the upcoming opponents in 33 meetings, with that tally of 19 goal involvements the most he has achieved against any opposition.
While there may well be a larger focus on the likes of Haksabanovic and other recent arrivals, in Forrest the Scottish giants have a trusted figure who has routinely proven his worth to the side season after season.