Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for winger James Forrest after the Scottish international bagged his first ever senior hat-trick for the Hoops in what would be a 3-2 win over Partick Thistle.
The champions got off to a flying start in Saturday’s early kick-off as Forrest was in the right place at the right time to slot home the opener.
Shortly after the pacey winger was at it again, this time with a superb solo run that was rounded off with a cool finish.
Thistle got one back before Forrest completed his deserved hat-trick, with striker Conor Sammon adding a consolation goal for the visitors near the end.
Rodgers gave credit to 26-year-old Forrest, who has stepped up and performed domestically since the Irishman took charge in May 2016.
The Hoops boss gave his verdict on the winger’s performance when speaking to the media after the win, and also gave his thoughts on the game itself:
James was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. His game has come on this year again and he’s a really effective player. He has that ability and is technically very good.
He is one the best receivers of a ball I have ever worked with in how he takes the ball on the side or the middle of the field, and he has a wonderful touch and how he can move it off his second touch and now he is adding goals to his game.
He has that hunger to score and all three of his goals were absolutely outstanding. He was the class player on the pitch and thoroughly deserves his match-ball.
We got through which was important, but if we want to win the cup again we certainly need to defend better and play better from behind.
We started very well, our positioning was good, we pressed the game well and we got into a great lead. At 2-0 up, we should have got a real good foothold in the game but we made a poor mistake, which gives them a bit of oxygen as they started not as Alan (Archibald) would have wanted.
When you make a mistake like that it gives a little bit of impetus to the other team, and it did that for the rest of the half. We got together at half-time and started well in the second half and got our goal for 3-1.
Going forward we were good at times today and some of our combination play was good but our build-up play was too loose from behind.
The win means that the treble-winners have secured their place in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals as they remain on course for another historic treble win.
The draw will take place tomorrow (Sunday) on Sky Sports at around 4.30pm.
Up next for Rodgers’ men is their Europa League last-32 first-leg at home to Zenit this Thursday.