League means more than Tottenham millions

Forrest: I’d rather stay and win the league with Celtic than earn millions at Tottenham

James Forrest insists the Premiership can wait because ending his 11-year association with Celtic is unthinkable.

The winger has been linked with a £7million switch south with Spurs boss Harry Redknapp heading a growing list of admirers.

However, while the 20-year-old is flattered by the interest he is convinced his ambitions will be better served at Parkhead.

Redknapp despatched chief scout Ian Broomfield to watch Forrest score the opener in Saturday’s 2-0 win over St Mirren.

’Arry has made no secret of his admiration of the Scotland youngster, who Celtic value at closer to £10m.

But Forrest is not interested and swears his only concern is to make sure he helps Neil Lennon’s side end Rangers three-year stranglehold on the SPL title. He said: “There are five months left this season and that is all I am focusing on – winning the league with Celtic.

“It is good to hear teams are looking at me because it shows that I am doing well.

“If I am doing well then hopefully that means I can do my bit for the team as well.

“It is hard to say just now whatmy long-term ambitions are because I just want to continue my format Celtic.

“If people are coming to watch me then that is good.

“I just want to keep playing for Celtic. I have been there since I was nine so that is 11 years I have been with the club.

“I couldn’t really think of anything else. Every year I have progressed with Celtic including this year. The one thing that is missing is achampionship medal.

“Rangers have won the league for the past three years so we need to stop that and get back on top.”

It is easy to understand whyyoung players can have their heads turned when they are linked with multi-million pound moves to the richest league in the world andlife-changing contracts are dangled in front of them.

But you get the distinct impression Forrest is not in the least bit bothered by the extraordinary figures which have attached themselves to him this season as a result of his sparkling performances.

Indeed, as he spent his day off yesterday helping out a children’s charity in his hometown of Prestwick thedown-to-earth midfieldergenuinely appeared nonplussed by the attention.

He said: “I don’t really think about it. At the end of the day it is just figures.

“It is all just rumours and because the transfer window is open in January players are going to get linked with other teams.

“You just have to deal with and get on with it.

“People are going to talk about it but I just want to concentrate on Celtic. It starts again on Sunday in the League Cup semi against Falkirk and I want to reach the Final.”

It’s hard to see how the First Division outfit can possibly halt the Hoops juggernaut or stop the outstanding Forrest adding to his impressive goal haul at Hampden. The little Ayrshireman has already scored eight times this term from the middle of the park to emerge as a genuine Player of the Year contender.

But despite receiving plenty plaudits for his top-notch displays and making the transition from promising talent to first name on Lennon’s teamsheet, Forrest is not about to rest on his laurels.

He said: “I am happy with the way things have gone but we are only halfway through the season.

“If I am still doing it come the end of the campaign I will be really happy.

“I have been a lot more consistent and I reckon it is down to playing more often. At the start of the season we had two games a week and that was good for me. I have stayed fit which helps and the team have been doing reallywell also.

“I am with quality players in training every day and in the games.

“I always believe I am going to get better with these guys around me.

“I played a lot of games last season but I have already been in morethis season.

“My aim was to become a regular in the side and I just want to keep playing well.”

Forrest will go head to head with former Scotland Under-19 team-mate and Falkirk full-back Keiran Duffy at Hampden on Sunday and he’s hoping his new boot-changing routine will again work the trick.

He added: “I changed my boots at half-time when I scored against Hibs earlier this season and I did it on Saturday so maybe I should do it more often.

“But Falkirk will make it a tough game. They have been doing well this season and have put out a few SPL teams including Rangers.

“They have beaten the big teams so we know it is going to be a hard game on Sunday.

“I know a few of the young lads at Falkirk.

“I played with Keiran Duffy for the Scotland Under-19s and there are a few who used to be at Celtic.

“He is a good player and I’m sure he will have a good career.”

● Forrest was speaking as hedelivered hundreds of pounds worth of toys on behalf of the Celtic Charity Foundation to Malcolm Sargent House in Prestwick, which caters for children with cancer and their families.