Exclusive: John Hartson praises Celtic winger James Forrest, makes big claim

In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, former Celtic striker John Hartson has praised James Forrest for the big improvement he has made at Paradise, and believes he has a vital role to play for the club over the course of the next couple of months.

The 28-year-old has made an impressive start to the campaign for the Scottish giants, scoring seven goals and providing a further five assists in 13 appearances in all competitions, primarily from the right wing.

Two goals and one assist in two Europa League outings to date is certainly an impressive record ahead of the Bhoys’ opening group game away at Rennes on Thursday evening.

Prior to that clash in France, Hartson has made a big claim about Forrest when it comes to Neil Lennon selecting his starting XI, and the impact the Scotland international can have on the club’s European ventures.

“He’s doing tremendously well now for the national team and he’s the first name on Neil Lennon’s team-sheet. He will be vital now in the group stages.”

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18 goals and 20 assists in all competitions last term highlights the consistency the wide man has discovered in his game, which is something that hasn’t always been present, and Hartson is impressed with the giant strides forward the Prestwick-born player has made.

“Over the years he’s been somebody that has always had pace, has always been very direct. But now he’s getting his head up, he can see a pass, he makes the right ball when he’s wide.

“The decision-making has come on leaps and bounds and he’s added goals to his game.”

Hartson is spot on in his assessment of the ever-improving Forrest, whose performances have been described as “world-class” by teammate Fraser Forster.

Celtic could now do with some more of those from the winger to help lead them through the group stages of the Europa League.

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