We need Forrest fully fit, says Lennon

THE youthful exuberance of James Forrest is what Neil Lennon hopes can give Celtic the energy to grab two more victories before they go into the winter break.

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Forrest had hamstring injury
Forrest had hamstring injury

The 21-year-old winger is not yet 100 per cent fit after his lengthy lay-off with a hamstring injury.

But his cameo appearances against Ross County and Dundee confirmed what a vital cog he is in the Green Machine.

And Lennon may be prepared to give him more game time against Hibs tomorrow and Motherwell on Wednesday.

The Hoops boss said: "James came on against Dundee on Wednesday and gave us that extra surge.

"Again, he is feeling the back of his legs, so we couldn't start him.

"We are drip feeding him into games, and, hopefully, with the two-week break coming up, by the time we get to the other side of that he will be injury free."

Forrest may feel frustrated that, just when he is getting back up to full speed, the shut- down will arrive to rein him in.

However, Lennon believes he will be helped by the re-instated freeze on matches and said: "This break will be very beneficial for us all, but especially for the kid.

"We need him fully fit because we have huge games coming up in the New Year.

"You can see what he brings to the team, what he brings to the likes of Gary Hooper, Georgios Samaras and Tony Watt, all of those players.

"He lights the place up and is a real threat."

Charlie Mulgrew, who may have pulled a rib muscle at Dens Park, will also be checked by the medical team before Lennon selects his starting line-up for Easter Road.

The Hoops boss does not want any loss of momentum going into the break, but acknowledges his side faces two stiff tests before then.

He said: "Motherwell started off well this season, had a dip and have now come back again really strongly.

"They had a brilliant result on Wednesday against Aberdeen.

"At Hibs, Pat Fenlon has turned things around in a very short space of time.

"He took them to a cup final at the end of last season, albeit they lost that.

"But they have had a great start to this campaign.

"So, they are two really big games to get our teeth into."


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