RYAN CHRISTIE has revealed James Forrest won’t allow his new-found international fame to go to his head.

The Celtic winger has hit the headlines with five goals in two crucial UEFA Nations League triumphs over Albania (4-0) and Israel (3-2) in the past few days.

Forrest went 24 international games without netting before his double at the weekend which he followed up with a hat-trick against the Israelis at Hampden on Tuesday.

He has been unstoppable in both matches as he has become a key player for his country after sitting out the earlier confrontation against Israel where an unfortunate own goal from Kieran Tierney presented the hosts with a 2-1 triumph.

That set up a must-win encounter in Glasgow this week and Forrest responded to the challenge in superb style.

TO THE FOUR…James Forrest after his four-goal salvo against St Johnston in Perth in October.

THREESOME GLEE…James Forrest with the matchball following his hat-trick against Israel on Tuesday. Pics: Geo.

Hoops team-mate Christie got a close-up view of the strikes on both occasions and said: “I‘m delighted for James and delighted for us.

“People have said all it takes is scoring your first international goal and then you get a bit of a run. That’s now five in two for James for Scotland.

“He is still very quiet and has got his feet planted firmly on the ground.

“He never lets his head go up to the sky too much.

“Everybody is delighted for James in terms of how hard he works. James is a huge player for Celtic and Scotland.

“You can’t rely on it, but it is nice to have someone like that in your team who can pop up on a night like Tuesday and score three goals.

“He makes my job easier,  that’s for sure. You just keep giving him the ball and let him do his thing. Long may it continue because right now he’s on fire.

“In his younger years, he was more like an out-and- out winger. He was a chalk-on-his-boots player, but you can see now he can come in the park so well.

“And James now picks up the ball in areas that make him so hard to mark.

“You saw in the game against Israel that that’s where he gets his goals, almost from the middle of the box.

“He’s got this movement about him and he’s still developing, so all credit to him.”

Forrest, Christie and Scotland colleague Callum McGregor now aim to take their international form into the champions’ visit to Hamilton Accies on Saturday where they will be asked to perform on their dreaded artificial surface.

They fired blanks on Livingston’s treacherous pitch a couple of week ago, but are out to make sure there are no hiccups on this occasion.


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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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