James Forrest admits scoring four goals in the 6-0 Ladbrokes Premiership thrashing of St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park was the best domestic antidote to European pain.
The Celtic winger was sent off in the 3-1 Europa League defeat by Salzburg on Thursday night but made amends with a sparkling display against Saints as a rampant Hoops side ominously moved to within three points of leaders Hearts.
Striker Odsonne Edouard and Callum McGregor were also on the scoresheet against a Saints side who played most of the second half with 10 men after midfielder Danny Swanson was sent off after taking out Forrest two minutes after the break.
Forrest said: “After Thursday night it was disappointing for everyone and me personally.
“I have been thinking the last couple of days that there is nothing better than a game to come so quick that you can try to get over it.
“There is nothing better today than helping the boys out. It was the first time I scored four goals for Celtic.
“The manager has been wanting us to be more clinical and ruthless in front of goal and we couldn’t have been much better.
“We scored early and I was feeling good and we were hungry and pressing and gave the forward players a chance.
“Everybody hears about the goals and there is nothing better, it really lifts your game.
“Sometimes you can play well and not score and it is maybe not remembered so it is definitely good to contribute and score those goals.”
Boss Brendan Rodgers praised the former Celtic youth player.
He said: “James has had an eventful week, that’s for sure but it shows you his mentality.
“Something I’ve noticed in the last couple of years, that desire and will to want to score goals is important.
“His job is to create and score and he has done that exceptionally well today.
“There were a couple of nice combinations with Tom Rogic to get himself in and his finishing with both feet was outstanding.
“It was a very, very good individual performance by James. It was an outstanding team performance, much more like our level.
“We’re getting back to where I want us to be and it all starts with that will and intensity to get the ball back.
“Defensively, we were very organised, our pressing was good and collectively everyone played their part.
“Every goal we scored was outstanding in its own right.”
The defeat was Tommy Wright’s heaviest as St Johnstone boss and he said: “We started OK but then kept giving the ball away, didn’t make a tackle, couldn’t cope with Forrest. Totally torn apart.
“Celtic were ruthless. But for Zander (Clark) it could have been more.
“We knuckled down in the second half and made sure it didn’t reach double figures which it could have.
“We made far too many mistakes which led to bigger things.
“Danny (Swanson) is wrong, he has apologised. It was the wrong type of passion. He was a bit annoyed at half-time and I think he took that on to the pitch.
“It was the wrong thing to do and he knows that and it left us really short for the second half.”