James Forrest, born on 22 September 1944, was a Scottish professional footballer who played as a striker. Noted for his prolific goal-scoring ability, Forrest had an illustrious career with clubs like Rangers, Preston, Aberdeen, and Hong Kong Rangers. He passed away on 27 September 2023, at the age of 79.
Early Life and Rangers Career
Born and raised in the Townhead district of Glasgow, Forrest was a lifelong supporter of Rangers and signed for the club as a schoolboy. He was initially sent to Drumchapel Amateurs for development.
Forrest quickly made a name for himself as a goal-scoring machine. In total, he scored 145 goals in 163 games for Rangers, with his 50th goal coming in just his 45th appearance. During the 1964–65 season, Forrest scored 57 goals, falling just short of the British football record for most goals in a season held by Jimmy McGrory of Celtic.
Some of the highlights of his career at Rangers include scoring five goals in an 8–0 victory over Stirling Albion in a League Cup match, thereby holding the record for the most number of goals scored for Rangers in a League Cup match. He also scored two goals in his first Old Firm appearance in 1963 at the age of 18, and another four goals in the 1963 Scottish League Cup Final against Morton.
Exit from Rangers and Later Career
Forrest’s career at Rangers came to an abrupt end following a Scottish Cup defeat to Berwick Rangers in January 1967. He and teammate George McLean were blamed for the loss, and both were transferred shortly after. Forrest then had a brief stint at Preston before moving to Aberdeen, where he spent five years and won a Scottish Cup in 1970. He finally transferred to Hong Kong Rangers in 1973.
Forrest had five caps for the Scottish national team between 1965 and 1971, although he did not manage to score. He also played for Scotland’s Under-23 side.
Personal Life and Death
Forrest’s cousin, Alex Willoughby, was also a professional footballer, and the two were teammates at Drumchapel, Rangers, Aberdeen, and Hong Kong Rangers.
James Forrest died on 27 September 2023, at the age of 79.
James Forrest was a remarkable striker known for his goal-scoring prowess, particularly during his time at Rangers. His impact on the clubs he played for and the Scottish football scene was significant, and he leaves behind a lasting legacy.