HAT-TRICK hero James Forrest admitted it was “unbelievable” as his three-goal salvo dumped Israel 3-2 at Hampden last night to help Scotland secure Nations League promotion and a Euro 2020 play-off spot.

The on-fire Celtic winger took his international tally to five goals in two games – after making 24 appearances without notching one.

Forrest claimed his first strikes for his country when he slotted in a double in the 4-0 victory in Albania at the weekend.

And the 27-year-old raider went one better at the national stadium on a memorable evening for Alex McLeish and his players.

The Hoops ace was on the bench when the Scots lost 2-1 in Israel last month, but a change in the manager’s formation allowed him to transfer his club form to the international stage and claim a remarkable TWELVE goals in ELEVEN games.

Forrest said: “It’s unbelievable. Getting two wins and topping the group, everyone is buzzing and we can look forward now.

“I like playing in big games for club and country. I just want to keep going.

“It helps with the players I am playing with creating chances. The last couple of games we have created a lot of chances and scoring the goals has been really good.”

Forrest also paid tribute to Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, who watched the action from the stand last night, for his improvement since the Irishman arrived at Parkhead as Ronny Deila’s successor in May 2016.

He said: “Since the manager has come in at Celtic, every season I have kicked on and this season is the same.

“We play big games every few days and that helps. You can’t rest on what you have been doing, you need to keep going. We have a lot of boys in the squad for club and country and you need to work hard to stay in the team and it drives you on.

“The manager will try different formations and personnel and you just need to keep working hard and take your chance when you get it.

“I’ve been delighted to contribute in the last couple of games and I just need to keep working hard at club level to stay on the international scene.”

Next up for Forrest and his international colleagues Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie, who also starred against the Israelis, is the visit to Hamilton Accies on Saturday for the 12.30pm kick-off.


About Author


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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