Celtic will be offered a timely distraction to their abysmal league campaign at Parkhead with a return to cup action on Sunday.
The Hoops have surrendered their grasp on the league title but they have a chance to end the campaign in style by bringing the Scottish Cup back to Paradise. They will, however, have to usurp their biggest rivals in order to do.
The Bhoys are due to take on Rangers on Sunday afternoon in a game which should be full of drama and entertainment. Celtic’s chances of beating the Gers will be given a huge boost if they have James Forrest fit and raring to go this afternoon.
Unfortunately, that isn’t looking too likely. Speaking in his pre-match press conference this week, Hoops interim boss John Kennedy said: “He’s came on reasonably well in the week. We got a bit of work in to him yesterday and he had a down day today just to recover. We’ll have a go at him tomorrow to see where he’s at.”
Kennedy added: “It’ll be a very late call but just in the position we are in, the magnitude of the game we’ll give it as long as we can and make our decision late on that.”
Although it’s a positive that the 37-year-old hasn’t ruled Forrest out of the fixture completely, it doesn’t bode particularly well for his fitness. If Celtic are leaving it as late as they are, then it seems likely that, even if the winger does start, he won’t be 100%.
In a game of this magnitude, you need everyone up to speed and raring to go right from the off. That may not be the case with their dynamic forward, though, which is a huge worry.
Forrest has already missed a large portion of the season through injury and has only just returned to the starting XI in the last few weeks. Dubbed a “big game player” by Frank McAvennie, he would be the perfect asset to cause problems to Rangers on Sunday.
The 29-year-old has been a devastating loss to the team this season, having produced 22 assists and 16 goals last term.
Forrest has quality in abundance and losing him on Sunday would be a bitter blow. Celtic supporters should be sweating over his fitness.