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Qualification a great feeling: Forrest


On high: Celtic’s James Forrest
On high: Celtic’s James Forrest

By Ronnie Esplin

James Forrest could scarcely believe Celtic qualifying for the last-32 of the Europa League on Thursday night with two Group E games still remaining.

The Hoops' 2-1 victory over Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico was not only the club's first win on Italian soil but it left them top on 10 points to secure European football after Christmas, with fixtures against Rennes at home and Cluj away still to play.

It looked like being a long night for Neil Lennon's side when they fell behind after seven minutes to a goal from striker Ciro Immobile.

However, the Scottish champions steeled themselves and Forrest deservedly levelled in the 38th minute. Then, with seconds remaining of five added minutes, French midfielder Olivier Ntcham, on for Ryan Christie, dinked in the winner.

Forrest said: "It is unreal. It is a great feeling. It was an unbelievable night, one of the best the club and me have had. To be 1-0 down and come back and score a last-minute winner, it is frightening.

"When you saw the draw you knew it was going to be a really tough group. I don't think anyone could have called it before, so to do it after four games is unbelievable and a credit to everyone. We will be looking forward to the draw and being in Europe after Christmas. Everyone will be buzzing, whoever we get."

Scotland winger Forrest played down his contribution.

Ahead of the Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Motherwell at Parkhead tomorrow, he said: "I was delighted to strike it well and for it go in. It got us going and after the goal we really kicked on and played really well."

Belfast Telegraph


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