The end of a league winning sequence that had stood at eight games, McGregor didused any suggestions that Celtic’s powers are becoming strained. Despite last week’s eked-out 3-2 win at home to Dundee now their only victory in four games – the losses in both legs of their Conference League exit to Bodo/Glimt accounting for two games in that sequence.
“The group has done ever so well to get us to this position,” said the 28-year-old, Celtic still boasting a 27-match domestic unbeaten sequence. “A lot of new players, young team, new team who have done so well to get this point, so we have to stay calm and trust each other, trust the process and what the manager is asking us to do. I think there was enough in the game, chances, possession control, we limited them to very little in the game as well. Sometimes in football, it has a funny way that you don’t get what you deserve out of a game, so we have to accept that and accept the result is not what we wanted. But if we produce performances like that and chances like that, over the piece we’ll do enough.
“We did the things the manager asked and sometimes it doesn’t just fall for you. You have to try and not overthink it as well. The boys have been excellent so far. A lot of them have put in a lot of good performances over the piece, so we stay calm and trust the process. If you play like that most weeks, you’ll come out with enough points.”
Hibs ensured Celtic were asked to pick their way through a crowded penalty box whenever they did build play towards the final third. But McGregor batted away the suggestions they required any tactical rethink as opponents now know how the approach required to be countered. Or that they should be concerned by Rangers activities, the Ibrox men missing out on the chance to close the gap on their title rivals with a 2-2 draw with Motherwell at Ibrox subsequent to Celtic’s lunchtime draw at Easter Road.
“I don’t think we need to come too far away from the structure the manager is asking us to do,” McGregor said. “There is, obviously, some fine-tuning in that. Can you move slightly differently? Pass it a bit quicker? But the reason teams are changing is because we have been so effective. We are now dominating games to the point where teams are completely changing their tactics against us. That’s a positive in itself. We just need to fine-tune the little bits and be clinical when we get in there.
“All we can do is focus on what we are doing. It wasn’t so long ago we were six points behind and you have to win and win and the pressure takes over. You can’t affect what goes on outside of your own building. All you can affect is what you are trying to do. Do the right things, try and get better, and have a calmness and an assurance. That what we are doing is working. We didn’t get what we deserved out of this game. There will be to and fro between now and the end of the season, I’m sure of it. There are still 10 games to go, so there’s three-quarters of the season done and the boys have been fantastic until now. So stay calm and be focused. Keep doing what we are doing and I think we’ll get there.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.