First posted on Facebook, July 7th, 2016
James Forrest of Celtic will be 25 on July 7th. It’s fair to say that James’ Scotland career has kind of stuttered as perhaps has his club career too. In many ways he is similar to Shaun Maloney, who like James didn’t make all that great a start to his Scotland career and also has had injuries to overcome.
James’s first cap came against the Republic of Ireland in the Carling Cup game at the Aviva on 29th May 2011 under Craig Levein, which Scotland lost one nil. James won 7 of his thirteen caps under Levein but in each game that Gordon Strachan has picked him, excepting the Georgia away game, he has been a starter.
After the debacle that was the opening game of our 2014 World Cup Campaign against Serbia that ended in a poor nil nil draw, James was drafted in for the Macedonia game also at home three days later. It seemed as though the chance to shine was there for James but for some reason it just never happened as Scotland slugged out another miserable draw.
Strachan did play him in our last two qualifying home games against Germany and Poland and he probably played as well as he has in a Scotland strip but like the team he just wasn’t good enough.
Sadly, the most remarkable thing about James’ Scotland career so far is that in thirteen games he has played against thirteen different teams. There can’t be too many who can say that. He has played against Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Spain, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, England, Belgium, Qatar, Georgia, Poland and Germany. (Of course, we all know that John Spencer beats this with 14 different opponents in 14 games)
This could be a vital season ahead for James if he is to make an impact at International level. Time will tell. (I wrote those sentences last year and they’re still true.)
In the modern football era i.e. post war, there have been three Scotland players born with the name James Forrest; in 1958 Jim Forrest of Motherwell gained a solitary cap against England which saw the Scots go down 4 nil at Hampden. Great World Cup morale booster that.
Then in 1965 another Jim Forrest gained two caps as a Rangers player against Wales and Italy, which rather remarkably were followed by a further three as an Aberdeen player in 1971 against Belgium, Denmark and the Soviet Union.
Players with the same name is not that unusual as there were two Tommy Gemmells, two John Robertsons, two Andy Grays and everyone personal favourite two Andy Gorams.
Finally going back to James perhaps one of the main reasons he has struggled and will continue to struggle to get into the Scotland team is because there’s only one Ikechi Anya!!!