All of the buzz surrounding Celtic’s dazzling front three of Jota, Kyogo Furuhashi, and Liel Abada has been well-deserved. After all, they’ve contributed 26 of Ange Postecoglou’s team’s 58 goals this season. Celtic’s 58th of the season, was a crucial Scottish League Cup semi-final winner from an underappreciated player. Celtic needed something to break down a staunch St Johnstone defense, and James Forrest came up with a goal when his team needed him the most.
Abada has been the first choice for his manager, along with Kyogo and Jota. The 20-year-old is currently playing in Forrest’s position and has scored just once in his last ten club games. Liel Abada’s early-season influence has faded away a little recently, although his impressive stats till now suggest a solid start to life at Parkhead. Forrest has picked up several injuries since last season, which have resulted in him missing extended periods of action. It has not been long since he has made his return to the pitch. With a return to full fitness for Forrest, Postecoglou might not have a choice but to field the 30-year-old after a huge moment at Hampden.
Forrest initially featured on the left flank for the first couple of games he played in but recently has moved back to his preferred position on the right flank. He has played in five games so far in the Scottish Premiership and has provided one assist.
Forrest has only played one full match this season and has been subbed on for most of the games he has played. In the games he came on as a substitute, he was able to generate a decent expected assists value with the crosses he put into the penalty area.
The above visual shows us the pass map for Forrest in the Scottish Premiership. The visual indicates that Forrest has played a wide range of passes on both flanks. He has played forward passes into the final third while creating attacks but has also made passes back to his full-back or midfielder when his team are keeping possession of the ball. He has also put in several crosses into the penalty area and was able to generate a high xT from these crosses. Most of the crosses he has attempted were put into the opposition’s six-yard box, which gives his strikers a better chance to score.
The pass receive locations for Forrest indicate that he likes to receive the ball in his feet in the wider areas. He also drops down in his half to receive the ball at times, but most of the passes he receives are in the final third. Forrest also makes runs into the penalty area and has been able to get into great positions inside the 18-yard box.
The above visual shows us the attacking and creativity stats for James Forrest in the Premiership. The Scottish winger has only played around 200 minutes for Celtic but has been able to generate good attacking numbers. Most of his stats are better than the median league value even though he has not received much playing time. Forrest is yet to score a goal in the Premiership but has a goal in the Scottish League Cup. He has an average of 1.32 shots per 90 minutes. He has taken 6.15 touches in the opposition’s box per 90 minutes and lies in the 99th percentile for the same. The winger has attempted 3.51 dribbles per 90 minutes and has completed 62.5% of these dribbles.
Forrest has the quality to start in the Celtic starting XI, but his biggest plus point is the massive experience he possesses. Abada is a brilliant player, but the 20-year-old has been inconsistent at times. The way Celtic play can suit Forrest, and he can provide his team with goals and assists if he gets enough playing time. Celtic initially struggled with depth at the start of the season as they did not have many options up top. But Forrest can prove to be a good alternative if Postecoglou wants to rotate his squad. Celtic have a busy month coming up as they have nine matches to be played in December, and the manager will be happy if there are more options to choose from.