Celtic’s decision to give James Forrest a new contract in the summer looks to be puzzling in retrospect, as the player has rarely featured for the Hoops this season.
Maybe the reason that Forrest was given a deal until 2025 was to help keep the number of club trained players at the club at the number required for European competition, because at the moment it seems that he isn’t going to feature that often for the Bhoys, even when Celtic aren’t playing well and are in need of a goal.
That was the case in Celtic’s most recent game against St Mirren, but with the Hoops performing poorly the 31-year-old didn’t feature, and who knows, perhaps he could have made an impact off the bench for the Bhoys.
So far this season Forrest has made three appearances all off the bench for the Bhoys, scoring in the Premier Sports Cup win over Ross County. The winger’s lack of game time seems to indicate that unless the Hoops have an injury crisis, Forrest will be a squad player at best for Celtic, which is probably what was always going to happen when you consider the form that Liel Abada, Jota and Daizen Maeda have been in for most of the time they have been Celtic players.
There is no doubt that Forrest has been one of Celtic’s most important players over the last 10 to 15 years, but injuries have been an issue for the last few seasons, and he was limited to 17 starts last season when the Hoops won the Premiership title.
Before Forrest signed his contract after the end of last season his contract was set to expire at the end of the current season, 2022/23, and that seemed like the right time for the club and player to part ways, and Forrest could have called time on his Celtic career with a testimonial.
But that hasn’t happened, and the player looks set to be at Celtic for another few years yet, and when you look at how little Forrest has featured for the Hoops recently the decision to give the player a long-term deal looks to be puzzling.
Perhaps Forrest will turn his Celtic career around and deliver one last hurrah over the next 12 to 18 months, which would really cement his place as a Hoops legend, if he hasn’t already done so. But it looks more likely that the attacker will be on the fringes of the Hoops first-team at best, which would be an unfortunate way for his Celtic career to end.