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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: SIZE MATTERS FOR CELTIC ACE, McCALL’S JAGS RETURN, DORRAN’S GERRARD REVELATION

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JAMES FORREST insists size matters as Celtic prepare to face Partick Thistle in their third competition inside a week.

Last Thursday, Celtic were in France for the 1-1 draw in the opening Europa League group game against Rennes, they beat Kilmarnock 3-1 in the Premiership at Parkhead yesterday and now the Jags are due in the Betfred League Cup quarter-final on Wednesday.

Forrest was outstanding in the champions’ win over the Rugby Park outfit and set up Odsonne Edouard for the leveller after Eamonn Brophy’s shock opener.

The French marksman claimed a second shortly after the interval and the Scotland international winger was out of luck when his bullet-like header from close range was miraculously clawed away by keeper Laurentui Branescu and fell for Ryan Christie to knock in the third from two yards.

Forrest also thudded two drives off the woodwork as he turned in a five-star performance that simply refused to yield a goal.

It was the Hoops’ sixth win in succession to keep them at the Premiership pinnacle in an encounter where manager Neil Lennon could bring in Austrian right-back Moritz Bauer for his first start after joining on a season-long loan from Stoke City.

Olivier Ntcham, who has looked impressive during substitute appearances, also got the nod to start while Tom Rogic got a brief outing as a late substitute.

Forrest is happy with the quality and quantity of his team-mates as they embark another hectic season at home and abroad.

KNOCK ON WOOD…James Forrest sees his shot richocet off Stuart Findlay to hit the crossbar.

The 28-year-old forward, speaking to the Daily Record,  said: “Since we came back in pre-season we’ve been to a lot of places and played in a lot of different competitions.

“The squad is really big, though, and it is competitive and we’ve had a really good start.

“We got a really good result the other night, but we wanted to put that to bed and make sure we got back with a really good performance.

“There were two changes from the Rennes game, but we’ve got a big squad. Everyone is fighting to get into the team and it keeps everybody on their toes because they know there are international players not even in the squad or on the bench.

“It helps you when you’ve got a really big squad. The manager said before the game that when you are playing well and the team is doing well, you want to keep playing to keep that momentum going.

“We’re on a good run, we’ve had a good win against Kilmarnock and we’re back here again on Wednesday night.

“It’s a big game in the quarter-final of a Cup. We need to get ready and go again.”

IAN McCALL will quit Ayr United to become the new manager of Partick Thistle for a second time after a previous spell between 2007 and 2011.

The lure of a Firhill comeback proved too strong for the former gaffer who will leave the Somerset Park side joint top of the Championship alongside Dundee United while the Maryhill outfit, thumped 3-0 at home by Dunfermline at the weekend, are rock bottom.

Former Jags manager Alan Archibald and Ayr first-team coach Neil Scally are expected to join the new management team.

Sandy Stewart will take over Ayr in a caretaker capacity and will be assisted by Mark Kerr.

McCall is scheduled to be unveiled tomorrow and a compensation package will have to be thrashed out between the clubs.

GRAHAM DORRANS, who agreed a one-year deal with Dundee last week, has revealed Steven Gerrard didn’t speak to him as he prepared to leave Rangers.

The former Scotland international midfielder was freed by the Ibrox outfit earlier this month after dropping out of contention.

Dorrans made just three appearances last season as he struggled to overcome a knee injury.

He became part of what was known as the “Bomb Squad”, a gang of misfit players not wanted by the Liverpool legend.

After making his debut in the 1-0 defeat from Morton at Cappielow, Dorrans, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “It was tough, but I had to get out and play football.

“I’m 32 and I’ve got ambitions to play as high as possible. It was never easy to leave, but it was the right decision.

“I want to be back playing football and enjoying it. I’ve missed a lot of games through injuries and missed the buzz of playing football.”

Asked if he had spoken to Gerrard , Dorrans simply replied: “No.”

He joined his boyhood idols from Norwich City two years ago.

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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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