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Football | Champions League

Lennon wants Forrest ready for Juve



Celtic manager Neil Lennon is set to field rising star James Forrest against Inverness this weekend in order to ensure his match fitness for next week's Champions League clash with Juventus at Parkhead.

The 21-year-old winger made his first appearance for the Hoops since December in Sunday's Scottish Cup fifth round win over Raith Rovers, scoring the second goal in a 3-0 victory at Stark's Park, where his pace and control suggested he had recovered fully from a hamstring injury.

But, just to be on the safe side, Forrest was sent home from Scotland's training camp in Aberdeen ahead of Wednesday's international friendly with Estonia after concerns were raised about the effect on him of playing on a heavy Pittodrie pitch

"James is a brilliant player," Lennon told Celtic View. "You can see what he brings to us and he's desperate to play. We just need to drip-feed him in now gently and we have to be careful there's no reaction.

"He's a wonderful talent and one of the best Scottish players we've produced for a long, long time. I think the world of him as a boy but as a footballer there's so much he can offer.

"He's been training great and desperate to get back in but the physios have been holding him back. We've had to listen to them but it was great to get him some game time.

"We have the game up in Inverness next and we expect him to play and have him ready for Juventus.

"It was hugely important to get him some game time on Sunday. He makes us better, he drives everyone on, he excites people and got his goal.

"There are not many people who would score that goal – his turn of pace and quality of the finish was fantastic. To have him back gives us an extra dimension," Lennon insisted.

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