James Forrest has arguably been the best player at Celtic for the last 18 months but you wouldn’t know it by his demeanour.

I was lucky that I played in a fine Celtic team alongside players who were at the peak of their game. It was a privilege to play with the likes of Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton and there was so many goals laid on for me by Alan Thompson and Didier Agathe.

If I was in that Celtic team know I guarantee you that I would love to play alongside Forrest. Within a matter of games I think he would know exactly where to float it in for me at the back post and I honestly think he’d set me up a fair few.

He’s a really good kid, a hard working boy and it is frightening to think that he was on his way out of the door just as Brendan Rodgers arrived at Celtic.

He has given him confidence and belief, he has added a real goal threat to his game and what you are seeing now is a player who is at the peak of his career.

And I firmly believe that there is more to come from Forrest with Celtic.

That second goal of his against Albania at the weekend in the 4-0 win was pretty sensational. That kind of goal is not just about talent or luck it is also about having the confidence to go and not just attempt it but carry it off.

It was a sensational goal and to me it sums up just what Forrest has got. People will point to the fact that ‘oh, it is only Albania’ but that is ignorant in so many ways. And Scotland should know more than anyone that there are no easy games when it comes to international football.

There’s no doubt now he is well on his way to putting down a marker for the Player of the Year award but I also think that while we are noticing him more because of the goals he is getting for both club and country, what he does overall for the team gets lost sometimes.

His fitness levels and his strength are excellent. And what that does is it gives everyone an out ball. So when the defence is under pressure and you can get the ball out to him on the flank then you know he has the ability to go forward and takes the team higher up the park.

He has worked his socks off over the last few seasons to eliminate any lingering injury issues and Rodgers has been able to get him playing the best football of his career.

I don’t know what he is worth right now in a financial sense but I think you can see quite clearly what his worth is to Celtic. And he is far better out on Celtic Park than playing elsewhere with money sitting in the bank.

He has become one of the big-game players for Celtic. You can rely on him to turn up for the Champions League qualifiers or the Europa League. He has scored against Rangers, he has done it in the games where the pressure is on and so much is riding on the outcome.

He seems to have hit a point in his career where he just looks so comfortable and much of that comes with knowing that you are playing at your best and that you believe you are turning in a big performance every time you cross the white line.

Between him and Kieran Tierney and Callum McGregor, you just know what you are getting. They are reliably a 7, an 8 a 9 out of ten every week. It says something too that they have all come through the ranks at the club and they know what it means to get to where they are now.

All three of them have been brilliant and are currently setting the tone not just for Celtic but for Scotland as well.

Tierney will have been gutted to withdraw from the Scotland camp last week but these are guys who are going to be the spine of Scotland for years to come. There is so much to come from them at Celtic and with Scotland and the mentality that they foster at Celtic where you have to win every game can only help them go in a raise the bar with the national team.

Scotland are back at Hampden tonight to face Israel and I really hope they get another three points. I’ve been pleased for them because it was such a difficult week in the build-up to the game against Albania and I do think that you are tested as a team when there are so many withdrawals.

I’d love to see Scotland back at a major tournament. I think they’d offer so much and it would be great for these guys like Forrest and Tierney and McGregor and Ryan Christie and Craig Gordon to go and experience something like that.

And there’s no doubt that they would come back from it a better player for the experience.