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McINNES HAILS RIVAL FORREST

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DEREK McINNES has highlighted Celtic winger James Forrest as being a major threat to Aberdeen’s Betfred League Cup ambitions at Hampden on Sunday.

The Pittodrie boss hailed the Hoops attacker for his consistency at club level and his goalscoring exploits for Scotland – and believes he could be a star in the English top flight.

Forrest’s five strikes for his country in the wins over Albania (4-0) and Israel (3-2) helped seal his country’s Euro 2020 play-off slot while he has been on fire for Brendan Rodgers’ men.

He emphasised his rich seam of form in Trondheim last night when he laid the only goal of the Europa League Group B encounter on a plate for Scott Sinclair who couldn’t miss with a first-half header against Rosenborg.

McInnes said: “I think behind any big result there are normally key players.

“Forrest was obviously the one who topped off a fantastic team performance for Scotland with his goals.

“To not score in 24 internationals then score five goals in two games was incredible. He will be feeling really good about himself and rightly so.

“He has always been a player who has threatened to make the difference.

“Over the last number of years he has found consistency. I think he could play in the English Premier League with no problem.”

HAMPDEN JOY…Derek McInnes celebrates Aberdeen’s 1-0 Betfred League semi-final win over Rangers. Pic: Geo.

McInnes has already been on the receiving end of Forrest’s striking prowess after the 27-year-old raider scored the second goal in the Hoops’ 3-0 win over his side in the Betfred League Cup Final in November 2016 – Rodgers’ first trophy success at his boyhood favourites.

The Dons gaffer is also aware of the danger that will be posed by midfielder Ryan Christie, who has just signed a new three-year deal at the Parkhead side after spending 18 months on loan at Pittodrie.

McInnes added: “It was always going to be a tough challenge for Ryan to go and establish himself at Celtic.

“He has been given the opportunity and really kicked on.

“I thought his performance for Scotland against Albania was right up there. It wasn’t just his industry and work-rate, but his decision-making was different class.

“Sometimes Ryan can be a bit rushed in possession, but he has got his game spot on.

“He has been playing well and it was good he could take it into the international arena.”

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Editor

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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