Celtic to play Athletic Bilbao in James Forrest testimonial match

Forrest is to be honoured with a testimonial after more than 20 years with Celtic.

Celtic to play Athletic Bilbao in James Forrest testimonial match SNS Group

Celtic will face Spanish side Athletic Bilbao in a testimonial match for James Forrest, the clubs have announced.

Forrest, who came through Celtic’s youth system, made his first team debut in 2010 and has gone on to score over 100 goals for the club and win 11 league titles, five Scottish Cups and five League Cups.

The 31-year-old has spent his entire professional career with the club and only Billy McNeill, Bobby Lennox and Scott Brown have won more trophies at Parkhead.

Forrest and his testimonial committee have said that a significant proportion of the funds raised from the match on August 1 will go to charities Kilbryde Hospice and Celtic FC Foundation, the charitable arm of Celtic Football Club.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou praised Forrest’s contribution to the club and said that he was looking forward to preparing his side to face a team who have impressed in La Liga this season.

He said: “James has been a hugely important figure to Celtic across so many years, contributing massively to such a sustained period of success for the club and he is really deserving of this great honour.

“Although he has achieved so much he is someone who remains so humble and unassuming, continuing to quietly get on with his job and striving every day to do all he can to bring more and more success to our supporters. 

“I am sure this match will be a great occasion for James and the club. It will be our first match back at Celtic Park after the summer break and we hope as many supporters as possible will be able to attend.  

“We look forward to welcoming Athletic Club to Glasgow and we are sure they will provide a great test for us, but above all we look forward to a special night, honouring someone who has given us all so much.”

Celtic chief executive Michael Nicholson said: “We were really pleased to grant James this testimonial match, and we wish him and the committee all the very best for the game, which we are sure will be a wonderful occasion.

“James has committed himself to Celtic and has delivered success after success to our supporters and our club, for which we are all grateful. James could not be more deserving of this honour and I am sure the match will be a great celebration of his Celtic career.”

Celtic travelled to Bilbao for a friendly in 2011 and in 2019 the Basque club honoured Celtic legend Billy McNeill with their ‘One Club Man’ award, which was established to celebrate great players who have shown loyalty to one team throughout their careers.

The match at Celtic Park will also form part of Athletic’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

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