Celtic skipper Brown backs Forrest to become Hoops’ most decorated player everby David Friel
SCOTT BROWN is five medals away from becoming the most decorated Celtic player of all time.
But the Hoops captain has tipped James Forrest as the man who will eventually become No 1.
Bobby Lennox tops the list with 25 trophies as a player only — with Billy McNeill next on 23.
Brown follows in third place with 21. Forrest has joined Jimmy Johnstone on 19 major honours.
It’s a staggering trophy haul for a 28-year-old and Brown expects the winger to eclipse all the greats.
Asked about their status on that Celtic honours list, he said: “For me, Jamesy is the underdog. He can go a long, long way more yet.
“He’s only 28, just about to turn 29 and still has plenty of years to go winning trophies.
“Jamesy has been incredible and, for me, he’s been a breath of fresh air every time he steps onto that park.
“He’s been the best at what he does in the SPFL for many years.
"I was just so glad last season that it was recognised when he won the Player of the Year awards.”
Forrest and Brown are the only two Celtic players to be involved in every season of nine in a row.
The winger pitched in with 54 goals and 56 assists during those campaigns — and has been on fire in recent years.
Nobody has made a more consistent contribution to this period of dominance and Brown paid tribute.
After bursting onto the scene under Neil Lennon, Forrest had a few years of injury problems.
But Brendan Rodgers’ arrival gave him a new lease of life and the winger has excelled in Lennon’s second stint.
Brown said: “I wouldn’t be able to tell you the exact numbers on it all.
“But Jamesy must surely be close to having the most goals and assists throughout the nine-in-a-row run out of anyone who has played in it.
“It just shows you how much he has helped us and, the thing is, most people only really see that side of his game.
“The work he does off the ball is incredible to dig in and help out team-mates defensively if they need it.
“When Brendan came into the club, he was more of an old-fashioned winger.
“But that changed to him getting into the box to score goals, to be creating chances for other players.
“He’s just been adding so much more to his game with every season.
“That is the great thing about Jamesy in that he wants to learn and he wants to be the best.”
Forrest has produced a host of big moments for Celtic during his long career at Parkhead.
An Old Firm winner against Rangers last March was the moment that almost certainly clinched title No 8.
Yet Brown reckons Forrest’s solo strike against their Ibrox rivals a year earlier summed up his talent.
He said: “The things Jamesy can do with a ball are something else with his pace and his power.
“He can just drive you up the pitch at any given time and turn things around for the team when you might be under some pressure.
“He just has that speed and strength to go past people.
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“I always remember a goal he scored against Rangers when he just drove past three people to go right into the box and then score.
“It was pace, quality and finishing ability all rolled together.”
Forrest shuns the limelight and has no time for the celebrity side of being a high-profile footballer.
He has no social media presence and likes to keep his life private away from Celtic.
Yet Brown insists the quiet man of the Hoops team is the perfect pro and one of the most popular players at the club.
He said: “Jamesy is quite chilled out and he’s quite relaxed. He’s got good banter, but he just comes in and does his own thing.
“He’s always into training at Lennoxtown quite early in the morning to make sure that he does his stretches beforehand.
“He’s always looking after his body to stay as fit as he possibly can because he knows that he has had injuries in the past and has got through them by looking after himself.
“He’ll go into the gym before training and stretch afterwards to look after himself and be in tip-top condition.
“It’s really paid off for him because what a player he is and what a guy he is as well.
“Jamesy is just so down to earth.”
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