A certain former Scotland manager who Celtic fans will never favour towards has claimed that Neil Lennon will regard James Forrest as a huge loss from the squad.

James Forrest is the kind of player that fans love to moan about even though the 29-year-old winger contributes more than his fair share, especially over the last four or five seasons.

The Celtic youth product has amassed around 250 appearances for the Scottish Champions over his long career and also Forrest has contributed around 60 goals in the Hoops.

Alex McLeish who has managed Rangers and Scotland believes that Neil Lennon would have seen his injury as a major upset with everything that the winger brings to the team.

Neil Lennon confirmed earlier in the season that James Forrest has undergone major surgery and will not feature until mid-Febuary next year.

During the 2020/21 campaign, Forrest has scored twice and provided one assist from five starts and two outings from the bench, averaging a match rating of 7.14, having 2.4 shots per game and accumulating a pass success rate of 89.3% (Whoscored). Lennon is a huge fan of Forrest and described him as “priceless” last season (cited by The Times).

Speaking to Football Insider, McLeish surprisingly makes comparisons between Forrest and Gareth Bale when he left Spurs the first-time around.

“Massive loss, a massive loss,” he said.

“We’ve said before about Gareth Bale leaving Tottenham and Tottenham are like: ‘We’ve got £80million to spend, we’ll splurge on six, seven players,’ and you think six or seven can outdo what one player does and that didn’t happen with Spurs.

“It took a long time for a lot of those players to develop and some of them never worked. That’s kind of an example of what I’m saying about special players and, you know, James Forrest has been a special player for Celtic and, not only that, he was a special player for me and for Scotland.

“To lose a key player in your team can cause a disruption to the whole team. I’m not saying that’s the reason for Celtic’s difficult start but Forrest is a player who makes that team tick, even if he’s not in form, it’s just that he puts the fear of death into a defender.

“Even if he’s not at his best and a defender maybe marks him out the game, other players flourish and that’s the things that you don’t really see when you’re involved in the professional side of the game.”