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  • Manager hails fantastic Forrest after Glasgow derby triumph

    Manager hails fantastic Forrest after Glasgow derby triumph

    By: Mark Henderson on 10 Feb, 2018 15:35

  • BRENDAN Rodgers hailed James Forrest after the winger’s tremendous treble in today’s 3-2 win over Partick Thistle sealed Celtic’s passage to the last eight of the Scottish Cup.

    The 26-year-old’s close-range strike and sublime solo effort had the Hoops in the driving seat in Paradise, though Kris Doolan pulled a goal back for the visitors before the break.

    Early in the second half, the Scotland internationalist claimed his first-ever hat-trick with a terrific touch and finish, putting the game beyond the visitors, who scored a late consolation through Conor Sammon.

    Speaking after the game, the manager said: “James was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. His game has come on this year again and he’s a really effective player. He has that ability and is technically very good.

    “He is one the best receivers of a ball I have ever worked with in how he takes the ball on the side or the middle of the field, and he has a wonderful touch and how he can move it off his second touch and now he is adding goals to his game.

    “He has that hunger to score and all three of his goals were absolutely outstanding. He was the class player on the pitch and thoroughly deserves his match-ball.”

    While the Hoops boss was delighted with Forrest’s polished performance, he admitted his side would have to perform better if they had ambitions of winning the trophy again this season.

    “We got through which was important, but if we want to win the cup again we certainly need to defend better and play better from behind,” he said.

    “We started very well, our positioning was good, we pressed the game well and we got into a great lead.  At 2-0 up, we should have got a real good foothold in the game but we made a poor mistake, which gives them a bit of oxygen as they started not as Alan (Archibald) would have wanted.

    “When you make a mistake like that it gives a little bit of impetus to the other team, and it did that for the rest of the half. We got together at half-time and started well in the second half and got our goal for 3-1.

    “Going forward we were good at times today and some of our combination play was good but our build-up play was too loose from behind.

    “They got the goal again from a poor pass and a good finish by them and then Kieran makes a brilliant piece of defending at the back post which could have made it 3-3, a really poor scoreline for us.”

    There was a poignancy to proceedings as the Celtic family remembered Liam Miller after the former Hoops player tragically passed away last night at the age of 36.

    To pay tribute to the Irishman, who graduated from the Celtic Youth Academy, there was a minute’s silence and both sets of players wore black armbands.

    “It was a really sad moment last night when we got the message through in the hotel - so young, 36 years of age," said Brendan Rodgers. 

    “The dream of lots of Irish boys is to come across and play for Celtic, and he did that and had a fantastic career.

    "To lose his life that young and leave a young family behind is so sad, and I thought the club paid a great tribute today. He will certainly always be in the memory of everyone here at Celtic.”

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