What else could Lisa Forrest have aspired to be other than a footballer?

Less than a month after the 17-year-old Glasgow City forward celebrated her fourth birthday elder brother James made his debut for Celtic’s first-team, the start of a relationship that has endured to the extent where he is currently on course to become Celtic’s most decorated player of all time.

Formative years were spent seeing every side of the game; the glamour of raucous European nights under the lights at Celtic Park, being on the pitch for trophy day to cavort among the tickertape and the celebrations; the gritty realism of watching other brother Alan take his initial professional steps at Somerset Park in the Championship; the robust eye-opener of witnessing another sibling, Robert, forge an amateur career.

Sister Rachel, too, toyed with football before dancing turned her head.
Football was as much of a staple as abc and 2 plus 2. The path to a professional career in the women’s game not quite so simplistic.

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“It was always my dream to go and play football every day,” said Lisa, who signed her first professional contract with Glasgow City in January. “All I can remember growing up is football.”

The similarities to both James and Alan in Lisa are obvious.  Same features, same eyes, same running gait. Same ambition.

So when she headed home with her first Championship medal last month after being part of Glasgow City’s pulsating final day title drama when they claimed the Championship in the most dramatic of circumstances, there was no sense of mixed loyalties in the Forrest household.

There are not many parents who can boast that they have a title winner from the women and men’s top flight with an eleventh championship medal celebrated as much as a first.

“We couldn’t believe it!,” said the teenager. “We are all very proud of one another. We went out for dinner as a family to celebrate James and I winning the league. He didn’t have any mixed feelings about the title being between Celtic and City, he was just happy for me.

“Looking back now I see the sacrifices that my Mum and Dad, Linda and Jimmy, made for all of us - and how much driving they did everywhere!

“We all appreciate that. I have seen the sacrifices too that my brothers have made at times in terms of missing out on some stuff with their friends but I was always determined that this is what I wanted to do. No-one ever put pressure on me to play football or anything like that but I just always felt that this is what I wanted to do.”

Forrest senior’s medals - all 22 of them - are tucked away. Lisa’s is too, although it is still new enough to warrant an airing.

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“He doesn’t have his medals or anything on display,” she said. “I don’t even know where he keeps them. I have my [Championship] medal in a wee box in my bedroom and I still smile at it every time I see it.”

Still young enough to be eligible for another year at school, Forrest is tipped to have much to grin about it in the years that lie ahead. She is among the first generation of players who will not need to juggle work around football, a precarious and exhausting balancing act.

Contracts remain modest - in Scotland at least - but it has been a crucial step in the right direction. There is also another notable pathway that will sound familiar with contracts south of the border and on the continent offering far more lucrative returns for players who can make the grade as the bar continues to rise in the women’s game.

“On so many levels it has kicked on and I do think we are getting to a point where women can genuinely think that they can go and have a career in football,” said Lisa.

“It obviously excites me. Only a few years ago you wouldn’t have thought a lot of this was possible. At the minute I am just focused on City and trying to develop.

“In the short-term I just want to keep improving as a player and there is no better club for me to be at and achieve that than Glasgow City. Every day I am playing with the best players in the country and there is nothing I would rather do. I have learned and developed so much since going full-time.”

She didn’t make it off the bench for the nervous finale to the women’s season at Ibrox last month. Which leaves her with another box to tick next season as she continues to seek parity with her siblings.

“Alan had told me on the last day going into the Rangers v Glasgow City game that I needed to be the third Forrest to score against Rangers!,” she said. “It didn’t happen but hopefully it will!”