A FOOTBALL star from Prestwick is to be honoured for his 20 years of service to Scottish football giants Celtic.

James Forrest first became associated with the club back in 2002, when he joined their youth academy set up.

The 31-year-old was born in Prestwick and went to school at Prestwick Academy before taking his first footballing steps with South Ayr Boys Club and then signing a youth deal with Celtic at the age of 13.

In 2009, the winger signed his first contract with the first team, before making his debut the following year aged just 18, scoring after coming off the bench against Motherwell.

Since then, it is fair to say Forrest has had quite the career, assembling a trophy cabinet which would be the envy of many players in world football.

He has won 11 league titles, five Scottish Cups and five League Cups in his time at Parkhead.

Only Billy McNeill, Bobby Lennox and Scott Brown have won more medals than Forrest while playing for Celtic.

Forrest was also named the Scottish PFA and Scottish Writers’ Player of the Year in 2019, having received both organisations' 'young player of the year' prizes seven years earlier.

He has also scored more than 100 goals for the reigning league champions and has won 38 caps for Scotland. Scotland caps 

Organised by the James Forrest Testimonial Committee, the game will take place on Tuesday, August 1, and will see Celtic face off against Spanish football giants Athletic Club Bilbao. The game will kick off at 7.30pm at Celtic Park.

The match will also form part of Athletic Club's own celebrations - their 125th anniversary.

The majority of funds raised from the match will go to two charities of Forrest's choosing - the Kilbryde Hospice and Celtic FC Foundation.

This match will be the latest in a line of events which have linked the two clubs, who played in a friendly in Bilbao in 2011.

Three years ago Athletic Club gave their 'One Club Man' award to Celtic legend Billy McNeill.

This award was established to honour players whose career with one team represents the values of commitment, loyalty, responsibility, sportsmanship and respect, which embody their identity as a club.

In an emotional ceremony, Lisbon Lion and Celtic great John Clark travelled to Bilbao to accept the award on behalf of Billy’s family.

Now this relationship will continue as Celtic and Athletic Club recognise the contribution to Celtic by another man who has served his only club with such distinction.

Speaking to Celtic's website about the match, current club boss Ange Postecoglou waxed lyrical about the Prestwick man.

He said: “James has been a hugely important figure to Celtic across so many years, contributing massively to such a sustained period of success for the club and he is really deserving of this great honour.

“Although he has achieved so much he is someone who remains so humble and unassuming, continuing to quietly get on with his job and striving every day to do all he can to bring more and more success to our supporters. 

“I am sure this match will be a great occasion for James and the club. It will be our first match back at Celtic Park after the summer break and we hope as many supporters as possible will be able to attend.  

“We look forward to welcoming Athletic Club to Glasgow and we are sure they will provide a great test for us, but above all we look forward to a special night, honouring someone who has given us all so much.”

Tickets for the match will go on sale on Friday, May 26, initially to season ticket holders looking to secure their own seat for the match.

General sale tickets will be made available at 2pm on Monday, June 12.

For more details, visit the Celtic website here.