AS a Celtic player, it may be quite surprising to learn that James Forrest is sick to death of hearing about certain goals against Rangers, but he has good reason to be.

Remarkably, the 26-year-old winger has never scored against the Ibrox club in 13 outings, whereas his younger brother Alan has netted twice against Rangers with Ayr United, grabbing the opener in the recent Scottish Cup game at Somerset Park and bagging a league goal against them in 2014. And he isn’t shy about reminding his elder sibling of that fact.

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Forrest senior has scored against every other top-flight club, and with 16 goals to his name this season – already his best return for a campaign – he senses that a long overdue goal against his club’s fiercest rivals could be on the cards when they go head-to-head at Ibrox next weekend.

“I would love to do that,” said Forrest. “It will be a hard game. They have been doing well since the break and it is always a tough game whenever we go to Ibrox, so we know it will be a hard game when it comes around.

“[Alan] has told me that he scored against them twice now, so hopefully I can peg him back.”

Forrest is relishing the forthcoming match against Rangers for more reasons than one though, with the motivation to silence any lingering talk of a title race at the forefront of Celtic minds.

Rangers closed to within six points of their Glasgow rivals with the win over St Johnstone on Tuesday night, as Celtic’s home tie with Dundee on Wednesday fell foul of the weather, and Forrest is desperate to go into what is likely to be a massive occasion and kill off the momentum Rangers have been building after five wins in succession.

“That is what you want to do with Celtic,” he said. “Every game is a pressure game and there is a lot on every game you play. It doesn’t matter who you are playing, there is always massive pressure.

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“But when you are playing the teams round about you then you want to show that you are at Celtic for a reason. You want to play in cup finals and in the big games.”

Forrest is keen to take Rangers out of the title equation as quickly as possible, and he says they can take heart from the way they shook off Aberdeen’s pursuit with ease in last weekend’s win at Pittodrie.

“After the defeat [to Zenit] everyone was gutted last Thursday night, but to come back and play the team that is just behind us in the league, to go there and keep a clean sheet and get the win made it a good day all round, and hopefully we can take confidence from that.”

The postponed match on Wednesday evening has given Celtic time to rest some weary limbs ahead of the Scottish Cup tie against Morton tomorrow, and while Forrest was gutted to go out of the Europa League so timidly at the hands of Zenit, he reckons the extra recovery time can only aid Celtic’s quest to wrap up a second-successive treble.

“Since pre-season, it has been a game every three days,” he said. “When you look at the schedule now, we have got a few week-to-week games and the manager likes to get hard training sessions in there and prepare us for the games coming up.

“We have a big squad and everyone will be raring to go.”

Along with a big squad, of course, comes competition for places. And while you may not think that Forrest’s place would be under threat given his fine displays this term, there is no room for complacency when someone of Patrick Roberts’s quality is waiting in the wings after recovering from long-term injury.

“The manager always says to us that every day in training you need to be at it, because if you aren’t, there is always someone there waiting to take your place,” Forrest acknowledged.

“There is competition and I do think it does bring out the best [in you], because you know that if you don’t perform then you won’t play.”

Everything seems set up for Forrest to round off arguably his best season on a personal level in the green and white with more medal success, and one of the front-runners for the player of the year award is desperate to end the campaign in style.

“It’s been really enjoyable, playing in Europe, winning the cup final and scoring goals as well as playing in internationals,” he said. “That’s what you want to do and it’s been great so far.

“We’ve got 10 league games, a few internationals and a few cup games left as well, so hopefully I can keep going and keep doing what I’m doing.

“This is the first year I have ever hit double figures. There are a few more games to go and I just want to play as many as I can and score a few more – I would be happy with that.”

And of course, a goal against Rangers next Sunday wouldn’t exactly go amiss either.