Celtic winger James Forrest’s Euro vision is still sharply in focus

Celtic's James Forrest in midweek European action (SNS Group)
Celtic's James Forrest in midweek European action (SNS Group)

JAMES FORREST says Celtic’s win over Leipzig has left the Hoops on course to make the Europa League last-32.

Despite picking up all three points three days ago, the Scottish champions are still only in third place in Group B, trailing Salzburg by six and the Germans on goal difference.

Yet with the Norwegians of Rosenborg to face again in Trondheim at the end of the month, and home advantage against the leaders in the last game, the winger is bullish about their chances of qualifying.

“Everyone is buzzing,” he said.

“There was no hiding leading up to the Leipzig game. We all wanted to be in Europe after Christmas and, more or less, knew we had to beat Leipzig to give us a chance.

“We’ve got a hard couple of games coming up, but we’ve given ourselves a fighting chance and we’ll take the confidence from the performance and result against Leipzig.

“Everyone knows they are a good team. They’ve got some really good players.

“When you play in Europe, you might be playing against teams, or players, that you’ve never heard of before. It’s always difficult.

“But all of the boys put in a real shift and that’s what you need to do in Europe.

“Next up it is Rosenborg again and the manager will say that we’ve been there and played them before.

“I think every time we’ve played them, it’s been pretty close. So we’re going to need to go there with confidence from our performance on Thursday.

“With the two games coming up, we just need to concentrate on ourselves and hopefully we get a positive result over in Norway.

“Then when it comes down to the last game, we hope it is in our own hands.

“That’s what we’ll be looking to do.”

Even if Celtic don’t make it, the Scotland winger argues, they will at least go down swinging.

“The boys are really playing with freedom and that’s what the manager likes with attacking players. He doesn’t like to restrict us too much,” Forrest said.

“He wants us to go out and express ourselves, and I think we’ve been doing that.

“To do it in Europe as well was a real bonus.

“The manager knows the ability we have in the squad and he just wants us to show it. I think against Leipzig, all round we did do that. That’s a credit to the boys.

“The team is playing really well. We’re creating a lot of chances as well as keeping clean sheets.

“Now we just need to work hard to make sure we keep the run going.”