Celtic supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating their team’s trip to Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League last 32 clash, having beaten the Russian Premier League side 1-0 in the first leg last week.
Brendan Rodgers’ men earned their place in Europe’s secondary competition after finishing third in their Champions League group, a group in which they picked up just three points from their six matches. Yet they produced a mightily impressive display to deservedly edge Roberto Mancini’s side last week, with Callum McGregor’s strike 12 minutes from the end giving them a slender advantage heading into the all important second leg on Thursday.
Subsequently, there have been many delighted Bhoys fans in the Tavern in the last few days, several of whom are very much fancying their side’s chances of getting the job done in Zenit on Thursday, and thus booking their place in the last 16 of the competition.
And many of our resident Celtic supporters are speculating upon who may prove to be key to their side’s chances on Thursday, and while many point to the goal-scoring instinct of Moussa Dembele, several reckon that James Forrest is the man to ruin Zenit in the second leg. And it’s not difficult to see why such view is held.
The 26-year-old has been in sensational form for Rodgers’ side this season with a staggering 16 goals and three assists in 44 games in all competitions – he had never before reached double figures in a single campaign.
And the Scotland international was outstanding last week in the first leg, causing Mancini’s side a whole host of problems down the right-hand-side in a performance very much indicative of the soaring confidence Forrest has in his game at present.
He gave the Zenit defenders a lot to think about last week to once again suggest that he will be a danger man on Thursday, but more significantly for Rodgers’ side, they will need an outlet from which to relieve expected defensive pressure.
Zenit are likely to go after the Bhoys in a bid to get things back to level pegging as soon as possible, and as such Forrest will have to be disciplined in his defensive duties, and also be able to take the ball away down that right-hand-side in a bid to get Celtic up the pitch.
And with the form that he is and the confidence he is showing, the Bhoys simply must get the ball to him when they can so he can continue producing the goods – Zenit struggled to deal with him last week.
Make no mistake, this is likely to be a much tougher assignment for Rodgers’ men in comparison to last week, but they have the weapons to make life difficult for a Zenit side who simply have to score on Thursday to stay in the competition.
And in Forrest, they have a player in form and full of confidence – as such, the £1.58m-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) could ruin the Russian side on Thursday night.
Celtic fans… what do you think? Let us know!