JAMES FORREST will be given until the last minute to prove to interim manager John Kennedy he is fit to face Rangers in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup fourth round tie at Ibrox.

The Scotland international winger was forced to come off with a back injury during last week’s 6-0 rout of Livingston at Parkhead.

The comeback Bhoy, who missed five months of the campaign following ankle surgery, has scored in his last two matches against Falkirk in the previous Cup-tie and he got the opener against Livi.

Forrest has been working overtime to get fit in time for the crucial encounter and Kennedy admitted: “James has come on reasonably well in the week.

JOY BHOYS…James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard celebrate the comeback Bhoy’s opener in the 6-0 win over Livingston.

“We got a bit of work into him yesterday and he had a down day just to recover. We’ll have a go at him today to see where he’s at.

“It’ll be a very late call, but just in the position we are in, the magnitude of the game we’ll give it as long as we can and make our decision late on that.”

Kennedy also acknowledged there is little margin for error against Steven Gerrard’s side who have won all 18 domestic games in Govan this season.

The caretaker gaffer said: “I think we’re close performance-wise. We’ve been good, we’ve been much more consistent.

“We’ve dominated games, we’ve had lots of the play, we’ve created a lot of chances and we’ve not given too much away in our own box and goal.

“There are lots of positives there, but, again, it’ll be a tough game. It’s a Cup match, you can’t make any mistakes, you have to go into the game and hit top form.

“Our recent form is promising for us, it’ll give us confidence off the back of the last game and the little run we’ve had.

“We’ve been scoring goals and putting in good performances, the players are finding their form, as well, so it leads to a very exciting game.

“But we know that going to Ibrox and the magnitude of the game, we have to make sure we are all concentrated and doing our jobs and, hopefully, we come out with a very good performance and result.”

POINTING THE WAY AHEAD…John Kennedy with some instructions for his players.

Kennedy, speaking to Sky Sports News, added: “I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself or the team – it’s about performances, it’s about being clear.

“Sometimes the emotion of these games overrides the clarity of your judgement.

“We have to be clear in terms of what the game means and what we have to do to perform in that game and, hopefully, that brings a positive result.

“It has hurt us as much as anyone in terms of losing our league title this year to Rangers.

“When opportunities like this come up, it is about how you go into the game and if that means laying down a marker, then fine.

“A massive part of Sunday will be about the result. Even if the performance isn’t perfect, we want to show the mentality and willingness to go and work and run and even if we need to grind it out, we’ll try and grind it out.”

Celtic have won the competition a record four years in succession and are aiming at a fifth triumph in a row.



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.

Loading ...