The return of James Forrest to Celtic training before the end of January will be a “huge boost”, according to Alex McLeish.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the treble-winning former Rangers manager insisted the winger has been a “massive loss” for the Hoops in recent months.
Manager Neil Lennon revealed this week Forrest will return to training at the club’s Lennoxtown headquarters within a “couple of weeks” after he suffered an ankle injury at the end of September.
Forrest has missed the Bhoys’ last 13 Scottish Premiership games as they slipped 16 points behind Rangers in their quest to secure a 10th consecutive title.
Asked by Football Insider what it will mean for the club knowing the talismanic Forrest will be back soon, McLeish said: “It is a huge boost, he’s been a massive loss for Celtic.
“There was a time at the beginning of the season when he was missing with three or four others and when you lose that amount of quality from the team it does harm your results, there’s no doubt about it.
“You will be very lucky if you can find four replacements for the key men and they play out of their skin for the next four or five weeks until they come back. It very rarely happens.
“Forrest, even though Celtic have turned the corner in terms of some good results, he’s probably one of those that have been missing more than anyone else.”
Forrest has played 405 times across all competitions for his boyhood club since making his debut in May 2010.
In each of his nine full seasons as a Celtic first-team regular, he has won the league title.