Brendan Rodgers urges Celtic overthinkers to keep it simple as James Forrest know how tells

Brendan Rodgers has hailed Dens Park destroyer James Forrest as one of the daddies in the Celtic dressing room.

The veteran winger notched a superb double to see off Dundee and keep the Hoops three points clear at the top of the Premiership with just four games to go. Celts had to survive a nervy finale on Tayside when Adam Idah’s unfortunate own goal gave the home side hope of a late fightback. But Rodgers’ men held on and the gaffer was grateful to Forrest’s impressive impact.

The 32-year-old is one of the most decorated Celts of all time – with an incredible 22 winners medals in 15 glorious seasons. And Rodgers reckons there is more to come from the homegrown hero. He said: “James is just a brilliant player. He’s one of the remaining fathers of the success this club has had over the last decade or so. There are very few of them left, but he’s definitely one of them.

“His creativeness, mentality and quality over the last decade has been so important. I’m so pleased for him. His first finish is sublime - what technique.

“His second one, he’s made it look easier than it actually was. He may not quite have the legs he had years back but the quality doesn’t diminish.

“He was our matchwinner today and I’m so happy for him. He wasn’t only demanding the ball, he looked after it. If he can’t beat a man he secures it.

“That’s his game, looking to take people on, passing and shooting - everything you want in a winger to be effective in the game. Is that experience key at this time of the season? Yeah, I think that experience and ability to want the ball in pressure situations.

“That’s something he’s delivered many, many times for this club. It definitely helps at this stage of the season.”

Rodgers admitted he’s not bothered about Scotland calls for the wide man – as long as he does the business for Celts. He said: “I hadn’t thought about Scotland, to be honest.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers with James Forrest at full time -Credit:SNS Group
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers with James Forrest at full time -Credit:SNS Group

“I certainly know when I was here the first time James was a key player, scoring goals. My only interest is in Celtic, we have four matches to go and a Cup Final. If he keeps producing that quality of performance it will be a big help to us.”

Rodgers was thrilled to dig out three crucial points against determined Dundee. The Hoops gaffer admitted there were some tense moments – but he expects more to come in the remaining games.

Rodgers said: “I’m pleased. The pitch was difficult, it’s bumpy so it was always going to be a challenge to play fast, flowing football. But at this stage of the season it’s about getting the results.

“Dundee have had a fantastic season and have made it very difficult for teams here. We got into a fantastic position going 2-0 up then the own goal gives them a bit of hope in the final fifteen minutes.

“But we saw it through and picked up a fantastic three points. At this stage of the season if you want to win and have that trophy head on then you have to win. You have to perform and the players did that.“It’s par for the course (the tension).

“You’ve just got to have that courage to take the ball. There is always going to be pressure playing for Celtic at the end of a season in particular, when it is tight. “You just keep your calmness and take the ball, pass it, show that personality in the game. It’s just doing the basics right at this stage of the season.

“Sometimes you can overthink it and we have some players who have maybe not been in this situation before. Just do your fundamentals well and if you can take care of that we will have a great end to the season.”