Neil Lennon has revealed that James Forrest isn’t in contention for a place in the Celtic squad away to Ross County of Sunday night.
The winger hasn’t played since September 24 away to Riga but has been reported to be back in training with suggestions that he could have been involved against St Johnstone or Aberdeen.
With no real replacement wide on the right Celtic’s play has been much narrower since Forrest dropped out of contention, after initial rest his ankle injury required surgery.
After Scott Brown, Forrest is the longest serving player at the club with Lennon claiming in midweek that his availability would have made a significant difference to the season.
1 minute 30 seconds
QUESTION: Are we at the stage where we could see James Forrest back?
N L: No, not yet, he’s not even back in training with the group so he is still doing some individual rehabilitation work at the minute.
Later on at 10 minutes 40 seconds
N L: In terms of a timescale, he had a wee bit of a set-back, we just have to keep an eye on that, scrutinise it as closely as we can. We want him to come back right, and fresh to hit the ground running because he’s been out for a long time. It has been a real body blow for him and for us. I can’t give you a timescale on it but it shouldn’t be too far into the future. We’re hoping that maybe training next week, if that is the case then he might need a week or two to get adjusted to training sharpness, the cardio-vascular work that is involved in that. Then you’ll see him in the squads again.
Ryan Christie and Tom Rogic have played wide right in recent matches but neither player knows the role as well as Forrest or is as effective.
Mikey Johnston and Moi Elyounoussi have been on the bench in recent weeks but neither have been tried on the right wing with Karamoko Dembele dropping out of contention once the 13 players that had to self isolate after Dubai returned to the squad.