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James Forrest reveals when he considered quitting Celtic

James Forrest has revealed that the only time he considered leaving Celtic was when Brendan Rodgers was first appointed as manager.

At the end of the 2015/16 season there wasn’t too much to celebrate around Celtic with the emergence of Kieran Tierney and goals from Leigh Griffiths about the only highlights.

Both cup competitions were lost in semi-final defeats at Hampden while Europe hit rock bottom with back-to-back defeats from Norwegian side Molde.

Across the dressing room Tom Rogic, Mikael Lustig, Forrest and even Scott Brown knew that something wasn’t right- none of them were playing close to their potential.

When Brendan Rodgers arrived it was with the expectation of a clear out with a big budget to transform a squad that looked clapped out, past their best.

Revealing the only time that he considered leaving Celtic, Forrest told The Sun: “Maybe in my head the most uncertainty I’ve had was when the gaffer now was coming in to the club the first time but then within a week I knew there was no questions on my side.

I knew what I wanted and it wasn’t just me, either. There were other boys at that time who raised their game, and he got a lot out of them. He really brought everyone’s potential out of them. So with that in mind, I think it’s really good for the young boys here now that the gaffer has come back.

Everyone did really well under the last manager, obviously. But there are a few of them who can kick on again now, and that’s great for the club.

I’ve had a few managers down the years, but this gaffer is just brilliant at the man-management side of the game. Tactically, he’s fantastic as well.

He’s just a top manager all round, and he makes you feel good about yourself. He knows everyone’s qualities and makes the boys really believe in themselves.”

No one was predicting an invincible Treble at the start of the 2016/17 season, it had evaded Celtic for 15 years, Hampden was considered a bogey ground.

Rodgers turned that around with seven successive trophy wins with reborn Forrest a key part of that success.

Paddy Roberts provided keen competition for a place but the Academy graduate adapted, raised his game and thrived under new management.

Last season wasn’t the greatest for Forrest but he did score his 100th Celtic goal and was on the pitch at Hampden when the final whistle blew on the club’s eighth treble. Alongside Callum McGregor the winger has been involved in five of those successes.

Literally dozens of wingers have come and gone at Celtic since Forrest made his debut alongside Aiden McGeady with a goal against Motherwell in 2010.

When Neil Lennon was facing the sack at Kilmarnock a year later Forrest and Tony Stokes salvaged a draw from a 0-3 half-time scoreline at Rugby Park. Nine successive league titles followed.

Wingers Marco Tilio and Yang Hyun-jun have already been signed under Rodgers second time around but in the two friendlies in Japan Forrest looked sharp and effective playing on either wing.

The season ahead will bring more challenges for the 32-year-old but he has survived more than a few with a medal collection to demonstrate his value to the club during their most successful ever domestic run.

Next week Atlhletic Club Bilbao will honour Celtic’s One Club Man in his testimonial but it will be the SPFL opener against Ross County on August 5 that Forrest is focussed on as he seeks more success and medals despite having been involved in 11 title wins.

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