"I was like everybody else at Celtic Park on Sunday. I was thrilled by his performance and he's just what the club has been needing for ages.

"Celtic need personalities to put bums on seats and the same personalities have to possess the kind of talent that lifts bums off the seats once the game starts. When James gets the ball he doesn't see grass in front of him. He knows before he's taken possession exactly what he's going to do with the ball."

Those were the words of the late great Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld in 2010 regarding James Forrest. He certainly knew what it took for a winger to succeed at Celtic. After all, he did play alongside the club’s greatest winger – and player – of all time in the shape of Jimmy Johnstone. It is no secret that ‘one-club men’ are a rare commodity in football, especially in the modern game. In an era where the movement of players from one team to the next is an accepted fact of life – particularly at Celtic – the accomplishments of Forrest’s career at the club are quite rightly being lauded this week.

Indeed, the winger is set to be celebrated in the form of a testimonial against Athletic Club at Celtic Park tonight. A fitting tribute to a player who has spent 13 trophy-laden years in the first team, having originally joined back in 2002 as a youth prospect. Making his debut in May 2010, under Neil Lennon against Motherwell, Forrest’s initial burst onto the scene was immediate. In that same game, he scored the third goal in a 4-0 win at home, a well-taken half-volley which left Darren Randolph rooted to the spot in the Steelmen’s goal. You could sense even then that Forrest had what it takes to make a real impact on the first team, especially with the way that season transpired for the club.

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Forrest’s numbers speak for themselves, both in terms of in-game involvements and the amount of silverware he has managed to accumulate whilst at the club. Heading into his 14th year at Celtic, Forrest has made 467 appearances for the club, scoring 102 times in all competitions for the side. In that time, he has also contributed 101 assists for the team, which has made him a consistent contributor for the different managers he has worked under. His contributions on the pitch have led him to be one of Celtic’s most decorated players off it. At the time of writing, Forrest has won 11 Scottish Premiership titles, six League Cups and a further six Scottish Cups in his career at the club so far. A remarkable trophy haul.

When you think of Forrest playing for Celtic, many factors immediately spring to mind. His electrifying pace down the wing was a weapon for the club both domestically and in Europe in his prime, with his goal and assist totals highlighting the fact that he also has an end product to go with his physical attributes. Although regularly one of the smallest players in the line-up, he does not let that deter him from getting involved in the physical side of the game when required.

Many of Forrest’s most memorable contributions have transpired in the big moments of matches. Arguably the most standout involvement came in the second leg against Shakhter Karagandy during Celtic’s Champions League qualifying campaign. Having been down 2-0 after the first leg in Kazakhstan, the team had managed to claw themselves back into the tie and were pushing for a winner in normal time. Up stepped Forrest, who side-footed the ball past the goalkeeper in stoppage time, following excellent work by Anthony Stokes to deliver the ball to the winger’s feet.

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Celtic Park went ballistic, as you would expect. Champions League football was secured for another season, and Forrest had properly announced himself as a fully-fledged first-team player in the process. It is a goal that has been played – and will continue to be played – for years to come. However, a combination of injuries and loss of form would mean that it would take a few more years until Forrest became the household name that he is now. Indeed, Forrest himself was considering his future at the end of the 2015/16 season and if he would be better off moving to new pastures. Just the two goals in that player potentially moving toward the exit door.

Thankfully for both Forrest and Celtic, the appointment of Brendan Rodgers – who is now back at the club – convinced the former to stick around at Celtic. Thanks to this decision, Rodgers managed to steer Forrest to two of his best seasons at the club, where he was a prominent feature despite facing competition from on-loan winger Patrick Roberts. In both 2017/18 and 2018/19 he managed to score 17 times in all competitions, prompting recognition both domestically and internationally.

Unfortunately, injuries and a slight decline in his game has amounted to Forrest playing fewer games over the past few years. Still, his importance off the pitch has been well-documented by those who managed him at the club, with his recognition as a modern-day Celtic great essentially already secured. It was former manager Ange Postecoglou who underlined this point. He said: "There was a reason we kept him around. It wasn’t for sentimental reasons. When you’re putting a squad together, it’s the sum of all parts that make it strong. You need players like James. He’s experienced, calm and has quality."

As the club gets set to recognise Forrest’s service, it is important to celebrate all that he has done to get him to this position and standing. Whatever the future holds for him in terms of a playing capacity at Celtic, his name will be fondly remembered in years to come at the club.