Alex McLeish has tipped John Kennedy to take a risk and start James Forrest for Celtic against Rangers despite fears over his fitness.

The former Scotland boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the winger was suffering from “wear and tear” after his lengthy injury absence this season.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Kennedy admitted he faced making a “very late call” on whether the 29-year-old would feature for Sunday’s Scottish Cup clash.

The winger came off against Livingston last week with a stiff back and a tight hamstring just before the hour mark.

Kennedy revealed Forrest had trained for part of Thursday and would be assessed after another session on Saturday.

The Scotland international only returned from a five-month layoff due to an ankle injury back in early March.

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McLeish admitted it was no surprise Forrest was feeling aches and pains after his first start back.

However, he suggested Kennedy would start him against the Gers on Sunday.

McLeish told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “It could just be wear and tear. That’s what I’d expect.

“You do get sore bits when you come back after such a long time. You’ve been flogged on the training ground by the physios to get your fitness back and you start to feel pains everywhere.

“It’s no surprise when you go through a game like that, you can get an ache anywhere.

“When you’re on a roll like this and after such a good victory, you tend to keep the same team going. John might indeed keep that mentality going due to that fine victory.” 

Rangers are unbeaten against Celtic this season after two wins and a draw.

In other news, Celtic may try to re-sign a former favourite after some senior players were left shocked, claims pundit.