Forrest growing into Celtic limelight


SCOTTISH LEAGUE:CELTIC MANAGER Neil Lennon struggled to contain his praise for youngster James Forrest after his mature display against St Mirren at Parkhead yesterday.

Lennon is trying to minimise the growing hype about Forrest, who is seen as a long-term replacement for the departed Aiden McGeady, but feels he has no option but to promote the 19-year-old midfielder to first-team duty.

Forrest scored Celtic’s third goal in a 4-0 success over St Mirren which also saw Joe Ledley, Shaun Maloney and Ki Sung Yueng find the net.

Lennon said: “I’m trying to keep a lid on the kid, not banging the drum but trying to play it down, but I couldn’t keep him out of the team any longer.

“He was ready to play and I think everybody saw today how good he can be. It’s a great start to his career.

“Everything you do, you try to do positively. He’s an exciting player with an eye for goal.

“He’s an old-fashioned winger who just wants to hurt people. He looks like a kid that’s come in off the street and said, ‘Right, throw me a ball, I’m ready to play’.

“I love his attitude and he’s a breath of fresh air.”

Lennon pronounced himself well satisfied with Celtic’s fluent dismantling of St Mirren with a four-goal victory margin that could have been twice that on the balance of play.

He said: “We got a clean sheet and some of our football at times attacking-wise was breathtaking.

“You can’t play like that all the time, but in certain games you can and the crowd responded to the players.”

Meanwhile, Rangers manager Walter Smith has urged Kyle Lafferty to demonstrate more discipline after picking up a red card.

Both Lafferty and Hibernian’s Kevin McBride were dismissed by referee Iain Brines following a melee sparked by Lafferty’s challenge on Liam Miller.

The Scottish champions went on to triumph 3-0 thanks to a Kenny Miller hat-trick in the Premier League clash today despite the dismissal of Lafferty.

Smith said: “I suppose this is the best time to get red and yellow cards when they are all fit but we don’t want him to get sent off at any time of the season.

“Kyle has had a couple of things happen to him now and he is going to have to adjust and discipline himself a little better than he has done in the past.”