EVEN in the days before xG and GPS dominated the metrics by which footballers are judged, there was one benchmark by which all wingers would live and die by above all others, and that was how many goals they laid on for their strikers.

As all good wide-men know though, it takes two to turn a good cross or pass into a goal, and that’s why James Forrest is happy to share the credit for his own impressive assist rate with the frontmen who have stuck those chances he has created into the pokey.

Forrest has laid on 56 goals for teammates in the league during Celtic’s nine-in-a-row run, but he feels fortunate to have played alongside some top quality strikers in that time, and is modest enough to share the credit for his admirable stats with them.

He is reluctant to place any one frontman above the others, but he does acknowledge that in Odsonne Edouard, he is playing with a forward as good as any that have come before.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to play with many good strikers during my time at Celtic and they all help you in different ways to get better and improve your own game,” Forrest said.

“(Gary) Hooper and (Anthony) Stokes were great players and they had a real understanding. They used to link together really well when they played.

“(Giorgios) Samaras was a player who could do lots of things and you look at the amount of goals that Griff (Leigh Griffiths) has scored since signing for Celtic, it’s fantastic. He’s still doing it now.

“Even in the past couple of years, I’ve heard and seen quite a few people trying to compare Moussa (Dembele) with Odsonne.

“You can’t really do it because, although they play in the same position, they are a different type of player.

“Obviously, Moussa did so well at Celtic and is doing so again at Lyon, while Odsonne has been brilliant for us.

“Moussa was powerful and quick, while Odsonne likes the ball to feet and his link-up play is superb.

“Moussa was really good for us when he was here and Odsonne is doing tremendous things for us at the moment.

“He’s really chilled and laid back, but he’s come up with really big goals and big performances and it’s great to have him in the team.

“Both of them have great strengths, all of those strikers. And the one thing that you would say about every single of them is that they are all really top-class finishers who could score all types of different goals.

“I certainly would not like to be the manager who had to pick one or two out of those guys.”

As well as the remarkable assist record that Forrest has enjoyed over the last few seasons, his goalscoring output has also shifted up a gear since former Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers tweaked his position to get him into areas where he himself could threaten the opposition goal.

As well as the brass tacks of positioning under Rodgers though, there also came a shift in responsibility and mentality, with all of the attacking players in the side expected to contribute with their fair share of goals. It wasn’t enough anymore to simply be a provider, you had to be a finisher too if you wanted to keep your place in the Celtic side.

That had the result of not only alleviating the pressure on the lone striker he usually deployed, but also in bringing the best out of players like Forrest.

“That was one thing that I remember Brendan Rodgers said as soon as he came into Celtic was about everyone playing their part when it came to scoring goals,” he said. “He would not just want the one guy to be responsible for it.

“The season before he came into the club, Griff had scored 40 goals on his own and the next person after that including myself was struggling to get around 10.

“Rodgers wanted the goals spread out and the numbers of other players have gone up since that time because it was made important that you cannot rely on one player to score all of the goals.

“Everyone has to be on the same wavelength and the focus and pressure is not just placed onto one player at Celtic.

“Going into games, having that spread of goals and the knowledge that various players can step up at a given time to score one when we need it makes a big difference when you go into any game at any club.”