Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou applauded James Forrest’s achievement after the winger’s hat-tick against Hibs took him past 100 goals for the club.
Forrest seized the opportunity of a starting place to play a central role as the champions thumped Hibs 6-1, with his three goals complemented by two strikes from Giorgos Giakoumakis and a goal from Daizen Maeda.
The 31-year-old has now scored in 14 consecutive seasons for the Parkhead club, though he has not been a regular starter this year as Postecoglou has preferred Liel Abada, Jota, Daizen Maeda and Sead Haksabanovic in the wide positions.
The manager said that didn’t take away his value to the squad and team, and that Forrest had demonstrated that.
“Great for him,” Postecoglou said. “He’s joined an elite club – 100 goals for this club and credit to him and the way he’s had his career at the club.
“There was a reason we kept him around. It wasn’t sentimental reasons.
“When you’re putting a squad together it’s the sum of all parts that make it strong. You need players like James.
“He’s experienced, calm and have quality. He hasn’t had a lot of chances because players in his position have been doing well.
“But I had no doubt at some stage we would call on him and he would deliver.
“Over the last few games he’s made impacts coming on so I could see he was ready to go. I’m delighted but not surprised.
“You don’t stay here for that time particularly in that position (without quality). Daizen doesn’t score for two games and everyone is on his back so to last as long as he has is testament to his character. He’s humble but determined to be the best he can be.
“Credit to him, he joins an elite club, 100 goals which is fantastic for him. I keep telling players they’re the things that last beyond your career and you reflect on.
“It wasn’t just his goals, his general performance was really good.”