Forrest forced my hand - Lennon

23 August 2010 07:55
Celtic manager Neil Lennon struggled to contain his praise for youngster James Forrest after his mature display against St Mirren at Parkhead.[LNB] Lennon is trying to minimise the growing hype about Forrest, who is seen as a long-term replacement for the departed Aiden McGeady, but feels he has no option but to promote the 19-year-old midfielder to first-team duty.[LNB]Forrest scored Celtic's third goal in a 4-0 success over St Mirren which also saw Joe Ledley, Shaun Maloney and Ki Sung Yueng find the net.[LNB]Lennon said: "I'm trying to keep a lid on the kid, not banging the drum but trying to play it down, but I couldn't keep him out of the team any longer.[LNB]"He was ready to play and I think everybody saw today how good he can be. It's a great start to his career.[LNB]"Everything you do, you try to do positively. He's an exciting player with an eye for goal.[LNB]"He's an old-fashioned winger who just wants to hurt people. He looks like a kid that's come in off the street and said, 'Right, throw me a ball, I'm ready to play'.[LNB]"I love his attitude and he's a breath of fresh air."[LNB]Lennon pronounced himself well satisfied with Celtic's fluent dismantling of St Mirren with a four-goal victory margin that could have been twice that on the balance of play.[LNB]He said: "We got a clean sheet and some of our football at times attacking-wise was breathtaking.[LNB]"We have got energy in the team and we've got quality. It's all right me asking them to do it, they've got to take it on board.[LNB]"You can't play like that all the time, but in certain games you can and the crowd responded to the players.[LNB]"It was important to go to Utrecht with a good result because it's a big game in the context of the season and we'd like to get a European run going."[LNB]Lennon added that Glenn Loovens, linked with a possible move away from Celtic, had not been dropped, but was absent because of a hamstring strain.[LNB]St Mirren manager Danny Lennon struggled to find any positives from his own team's display and admitted his game plan disappeared as soon as Ledley opened the scoring.[LNB]He said: "We certainly caught them on a very good day today. Everything we spoke about prior to the game, we ended up doing the opposite.[LNB]"We gave them the dream start in the first five minutes and that gives, not just their players, but their fans a lift.[LNB]"We tried to go out with a game plan to frustrate them and try and get the crowd on to them, but that didn't happen.[LNB]"The players aren't going to come up against this quality week in, week out. They're a quality side that move the ball with a tempo and from a footballing point of view it was thrilling to watch even if it wasn't nice to be on the end of it."

Source: Team_Talk