Forward James Forrest was Celtic’s hero on Saturday as his late strike handed the club progression to round two of the Betfred League Cup.
Celtic, who can be backed at 1.36 to win the Scottish Premiership, have endured a tough week after crashing out of the Champions League to Cluj in the third qualifying round.
They returned to domestic action on Saturday and boss Neil Lennon has stressed the need to bounce back quickly. Dunfermline were the visitors to Celtic Park and the Championship side almost pulled off another major upset.
Defender Thomas Beadling forced the game into extra time when he cancelled out Michael Johnson’s opener, but Celtic avoided further embarrassment when Forrest struck late on to seal a 2-1 win. Forrest insists the win was key to ensure they can go into Thursday’s Europa League play-off against AIK Stockholm with a clear head.
“Off the back of the disappointment of the game in midweek, to score today is a big achievement for me, it was an important goal and now we look forward to Thursday and the games that follow thereafter,” Forrest told the club’s official website.
Meanwhile, Celtic have announced the signing of forward Jonathan Afolabi on a two-year contract. The 19-year-old left Southampton at the end of last season but Lennon expects he will need time to develop before getting his chance with the first team.
Lennon said: “We have signed him on a free transfer and he is one that’s a development. “He is sort of on the cusp [of the first-team reckoning].
He will come in and train with us and we will get a good look at him over the next few weeks and see what we want to do with him in terms of his progression. He is raw but he has good potential.”