By Noel Whelan

18th Jul, 2021 | 3:00pm

Whelan thrilled by 'big' Forrest 'new signing' update ahead of Celtic clash

James Forrest will be “like a new signing” for Celtic next season, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Aberdeen and Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, heaped praise on the 30-year-old who he believes will be “so important to the side” in the upcoming season.

Forrest returned to training this week upon the completion of his self-isolation after coming into contact with an individual who tested positive for Covid-19.

However, as quoted by the Daily Record (17th July), Ange Postecoglou suggested Tuesday’s crunch fixture against FC Midtjylland would come too soon for the winger.

The Scotland international missed the majority of the 2020-21 campaign with an ankle injury but was included in Steve Clarke’s Euros squad.

Whelan expects Forrest to be an integral player both on and off the field under Postecoglou.

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“It will be a big boost to have James Forrest back in general,” he told Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs. “Not just if he can make it for that game [FC Midtjylland].

“He missed so much of last season. Postecoglou needs everyone back fit as soon as possible because the new season is very nearly upon us. They need continuity as soon as possible.

“To have Forrest back is great news because we know how important he is to the side. He is very experienced and knows the club inside out.

“When you are starting a new season with a new manager you need these kind of characters in the dressing room. To have him back is like a new signing, even if Tuesday comes too soon for him.”

In other news, Agbonlahor predicts Celtic to sign Premier League ace as images emerge.