James Forrest: Celtic winger 'one of best players in Britain' - Neil Lennon

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Watch: James Forrest's brilliant goal as Celtic thump Aberdeen is analysed

Celtic winger James Forrest is "one of the best players in Britain now", according to his manager Neil Lennon.

Forrest opened the scoring with his 17th goal of the season - a brilliant left-foot strike from distance - as Celtic hammered Aberdeen 3-0 to book a Scottish Cup final date with Hearts.

The 27-year-old has also contributed 20 Celtic assists while scoring five goals in six Scotland outings this term.

"He's a beautifully balanced footballer," Lennon told BBC Scotland.

"He's having a great three or four years, but the potential was always there when he was a kid.

"He's one of the best players in Britain now. His goal was top-class and set us on another tremendous victory. He's been absolutely outstanding since I've come in so I'm very grateful for his performances."

Forrest provides another big-game fillip

Forrest's wonderful curling strike from the edge of the area was the latest in a series of dazzling big-game moments from the Scotland winger.

He finished a devastating counter-attack in Celtic's dramatic 2-1 win over Hearts in late February and thundered in a similarly spectacular long-range effort against Hibernian in the previous round of the cup, having also scored in the last-16 win over St Johnstone.

Forrest sent Odsonne Edouard away for the opening goal of this month's Old Firm derby, then coolly slotted the late winner to send Celtic Park wild.

In the eight games since Lennon replaced Brendan Rodgers, Forrest has scored four goals and set up two more.

James Forrest's Celtic statistics this season
Forrest has been in excellent form for Celtic this season

Forrest's development 'phenomenal' - analysis

Former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner on BBC Radio Scotland

The execution of the goal was magnificent. Having watched that young man for the last four, five, six years, his development has been phenomenal.

That little habit he had of, every time he lost the ball, he would bend down and fix his sock or his hair. You've got to concentrate on the next part of the game - Brendan Rodgers changed that. He got him to think about the game and understand it.

The goal against Hibs at Easter Road where he hit that unbelievable shot into the top corner - that's what he's added to his game.

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