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Forrest can spark things off
Published : 15 Jan 2012 14:26:19
James Forrest was the kind of player Neil Lennon wanted to ease nerves yesterday
Neil Lennon admits his side missed James Forrest against Dundee United yesterdaydespite making it back to the top of the SPL with a 2-1 win. The winger has arguably been Lennon's best player this season but was sidelined after being unable to shrug off a virus. First-half goals by Southampton target Gary Hooper and midfielder Victor Wanyama meant the Hoops had a comfortable lead by half-time. But United midfielder John Rankin pulled a goal back five minutes into the second half to ensure a nervy second period where Forrest may have been the man to ease the tension. Lennon, whose side went back two points clear of Rangers who had beaten St Johnstone 2-1 at McDiarmid Park earlier in the day, is hoping Forrest will be back refreshed for the trip to St Mirren next week. Lennon said: "You can see how much we do miss him. We had no natural winger in the team and with Kris Commons just coming back from injury we went with Georgios Samaras on the left. It worked okay in the first half but you do miss James' pace and ability on the counter-attack at times and his final ball. It is a flu thing. He trained on Tuesday and felt a bit off. He was weak on Thursday, he couldn't get a gallop up so we decided to pull him out completely and we are hoping he will be back training and will be well rested. It's good that he has this sort of mini-break because he probably needed it. He has played a lot of football this season for someone so young."