By Noel Whelan

5th Apr, 2021 | 4:00pm

Whelan: Celtic player reminds me of Leeds sensation Raphinha and will explode next season

James Forrest is a lot like Leeds United’s Raphinha and will explode for Celtic next season. 

That is according to ex-Scottish Premiership forward Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Forrest’s first start since returning from injury.

He was named man-of-the-match as Celtic beat Falkirk 3-0 to set up a clash with Rangers in the next round of the Scottish Cup.

The 35-time Scotland international missed 32 matches since fracturing his ankle last September.

Whelan was delighted for the 29-year-old and compared him to Brazilian sensation Raphinha who has set the Premier League alight for Leeds this season.

He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “He’s been out for quite a while. He’s a player that gets you off your feet, he’s exciting, he’s quick. He’s like a Raphinha-type player up there in Scotland.

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“He’s got so much talent and he was a player that was sorely missed. You can’t go a season missing that quality and not feel the pinch. He’s one player that really excites you.

“He can score goals, he can assist, he’s great on the ball. It’s great to see him back. It’s another massive plus for Celtic. Keep him fit until the end of the season, get him firing for next year and that will be huge for Celtic.”

Forrest has spent his entire career with Celtic since graduating from the club’s academy in 2010.

He has made over 400 appearances in that time and is just eight goals shy of a century for the club.

In other news, Celtic tipped to miss out on “box office” appointment amid latest Howe development.