Celtic star James Forrest has groin operation

JAMES FORREST has had surgery for a groin problem and is out of Scotland's end-of-season friendly against Nigeria.

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Neil Lennon celebrated Celtic's third successive title triumph but revealed James Forrest has had surgery for a groin problem
Neil Lennon celebrated Celtic's third successive title triumph but revealed James Forrest has had surgery for a groin problem

The Celtic winger has endured a miserable campaign, beset by injury, and was finally forced to go under the knife to resolve the issue which has sidelined him since he travelled with the national team to Poland in March.

Manager Neil Lennon confirmed the 22 year-old - reported to be a £7million-signing target for Everton - is now in rehab to ensure he is fit and ready to play in the Champions League qualifiers which kick off on July 16.

"Jamesie will not be going away with Scotland for their game at Craven Cottage at the end of this month," said Lennon.

"He has had surgery on his groin and needs a bit of time to recover.

"I don't know if Nir Biton, who has been out for a few months, will be going away with Israel.

"But we are hoping they can both come back in good health for the start of our pre-season."

The Hoops boss - who became only the third man after Jock Stein and Gordon Strachan to lead the club to three-titles-in-a-row - was also coming to terms with the fact Georgios Samaras has played his last game for the club.

The Greek striker was the second longest-serving player at the club behind skipper Scott Brown.

But his contract is up, and he insists he has never been offered a new one by the club he joined from Manchester City in January 2008.

Sami signed off by winning and converting a penalty in the 3-1 win over Dundee United at Parkhead yesterday as Celtic brought the curtain down on their marathon season.

Lennon said: "It doesn't look like he will be here next year.

"If he does go, he goes with the warmest wishes from the backroom team and the players."

With his significant wages now available, Lennon will step up his search to bring in the extra quality he believes the team needs to give them a chance of progressing through two qualifying rounds and a play-off for next season's Champions League.

The manager is already looking forward to welcoming back Tom Rogic, Tony Watt, Jackson Irvine and Callum McGregor after their loan spells at Melbourne Victory, Lierse, Kilmarnock and Notts County respectively.

"They will all be coming back, Tom after we hope he has been to the World Cup with Australia," said Lennon.

"We will get the group together on June 24 and assess what we need to do."

Filip Twardzik - voted man-of-the-match yesterday on his first appearance in the first team since September, 2012, the result of an injury which required surgery - is already in Lennon's plans for next season.

The manager said: "Filip is a great player, and I was really pleased with him.

"He has been out for so long, and I am really pleased to see him back.

"He was excellent yesterday, and it will be good to have him back for next season."

By then, Lennon hopes that Fraser Forster will have a World Cup under his belt.

The England boss, Roy Hodgson, announces his squad for Brazil today, and the indications are the Hoops goalkeeper will be included with Joe Hart and Ben Foster.

Lennon said: "I'd like to think he will be in the squad. I think he deserves to because he is good enough."

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