JAMES FORREST is confident that he can have a significant part to play under Ange Postecoglou next season after signing a new thre- year deal with Celtic. Revealing that the Greek-Australian was instrumental in his decision to commit to the club, Forrest remains confident that he can integrate into Postecoglou’s style of play. 

It has been a staccato 18 months for Forrest who has toiled for regular fitness and, subsequently, an extended first-team run. But the Scotland internationalist collected his 20th major Celtic honour yesterday afternoon and has a raft of stats to suggest that when the new season starts it would be remiss to discount his experience.  

With 96 goals there is every chance he can become the 30th inductee into Celtic’s elite 100-goal club. Certainly, the impetus now is to ensure that he is more heavily involved next season than what he has been this term. 

“I’m going to be 31 in July but I still feel good. I train every day and the manager and the new players have kept it fresh,” he said. “I feel I can still make an impact. That was another big thing for me – I want to play under the pressure that Celtic brings. I have loved every minute of this season because of the style of play he [the manager] likes.

“The manager has been a huge part of me wanting to stay. He wanted me to stay and we had a good chat about it. I’m really excited to play more games under him and keep learning. The season started well and then I was out for a while. But I take the positives from the fact that when I have come back in I have managed to get involved and make a contribution. I still want to contribute and make that impact and I have done that at times this season.” 

The extension to his current deal will effectively end Forrest’s career with Celtic. Having graduated into the first-team under Neil Lennon in his first season in charge at the club, Forrest will now head into his 14th season with Celtic. He has scored in every one of those campaigns.  

“It’s good for me and the club that we have the next three years,” he said. “I just want to work towards being here as long as I possibly can. I have never wanted to leave here, I’ve never thought about playing somewhere else.” 

Jota, Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda have all offered competition for places in the wide areas with Forrest maintaining that he has been able to learn off all of them. Celtic have formalised Maeda’s permanent move but it remains to be seen whether or not Jota makes the move to Glasgow permanently. 

“Liel and Jota have come in and been excellent,” he enthused.  “Liel came in without any English but Niro was great with him, helped him settle. And Jota has made a great contribution with his talent. They are both so much younger from me but I’ve learned from being alongside them. The club will want Jota back next season. He is great in the changing room and all the boys would be buzzing if he stays for a bit longer.” 

With a Scotland play-off looming against Ukraine up next for Steve Clarke’s side and a potential play-off final against Wales, Forrest is hoping the curtain doesn’t come down on his season just yet. 

“If I get called up for Scotland I will get more training time and every time I am involved with Scotland it feels like a real bonus,” he said. “If not I will have time to get right for pre-season for Celtic. The experience of being at the Euros last summer was so good. I think everyone in the squad loved it.

“Even the friendlies before it. We played against Holland and there was just a real buzz. 

It was great to be a part of it. I think that was the last time I was involved but I would love to get back in there. I know you need to be performing, fit and doing well for your club. I want to do that from the start of next season. Hopefully we’ll have qualified for the World Cup.”