Celtic forward won't rest on his laurels

James Forrest
Celtic winger James Forrest. Photo: PA

James Forrest insists Celtic will not look to simply defend their 2-1 lead against HJK Helsinki when they travel to Finland next week for the second-leg of their Champions League third qualifier.

Hoops boss Neil Lennon was not disappointed with his side's performance against the Finns at Parkhead last night but the goal conceded just after the break, before they stormed back with counters from Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew, means their hopes of reaching the play-offs are in the balance.

However, the Celtic winger, at the club's Lennoxtown training ground to promote the club`s Clydesdale Bank Premier League opener against Aberdeen at Parkhead on Saturday, believes attack will not just be the best form of defence in the return leg, but the only option for the attack-minded Scottish champions.

"The type of players we have got, we will go out to attack and look to score some goals," said Forrest.

"I don't think we can sit in, we will be attacking and look to nick a goal or two.

"I think they will be different over there next week.

"But last night was our first competitive game and with the way we played and the chances we created, we can take a lot of positives out of the game.

"We thought we played well and we are just looking forward to next week now.

"It was obviously disappointing to concede the goal but we can take a lot of credit for the way we came back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 so we are happy with that."

Forrest, 21, missed the tail end of last season with an ankle injury but is looking forward to see the SPL flag unfurled before the game against the Dons.

He said: "I'm back to full fitness now and I played most of the games in pre-season so I am feeling good.

"It was obviously a really good season for me and the team, although the last three months wasn't the best for me.

"But I am over that now and want to get on with the new season.

"We will have the fans behind us on Saturday and hopefully get them the three points.

"Aberdeen are a good team, they gave us a hard game every time we played them last season so it will be the same on Saturday."

With Old Firm rivals Rangers playing in the Irn-Bru Third Division this season, Celtic are overwhelming favourites to retain their SPL title.

Forrest admits he would relish drawing the Ibrox club in one of the cups, saying "All the boys want to play in Old Firm games so if we did get them (in the cups) it would be good."

However, he dismissed the prospect of the championship turning into a procession for the champions.

"You can't think like that," he said. "The league isn't even started yet.

"We are just really focusing on ourselves and we want to make sure we win the league again and get into the Champions League again, that is the most important thing.

"I think there are four or five teams up there who will look to challenge us so I think it will be a competitive league."