Callum McGregor in relentless Celtic pledge as captain insists ‘we don’t come off it’ after Rangers landmark


Callum McGregor celebrated his first Ibrox win as Celtic captain.

But, as he demanded his troops stay humble, that’s the only thing he was celebrating.

McGregor led from the front as his team fought back to sink their bitter rivals in their own backyard.

In extending their unbeaten domestic record to 32 games, Celtic moved six points clear of Rangers with just six games to go.

McGregor and his men took a massive step towards regaining the Premiership. The scenes at full-time spoke of the enormity of the triumph in that context.

The skipper savored it. Of course he did. However, it’s not the end game.

And, as he’s done throughout his term with the armband, McGregor is at pains to ensure that his troops take it one step at a time.

On the special personal nature of the win secured by goals from Tom Rogic and Cameron Carter-Vickers, he said: “Yeah, brilliant.

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“It’s my first win here as captain, it’s superb and I’ve got to thank the lads for that, it was a real team effort.

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“Everyone came together, running hard for each other, making blocks, making tackles, everything.

“So, that was a real team performance and that shows everyone is together.

“It was brilliant for the fans to get back in, we just wish there were more of them, but, hopefully, we felt them home happy and the millions watching around the world.”

That was yesterday. Today it’s back to the mantra that McGregor constantly delivers. The same one he delivered when Celtic went top in February after their last ravaging of Rangers.

He said: “In terms of the games that are left, we knew it was going to be a tough game, these games are always.

“If you win, you start to feel good about yourself. In the context of the season, you start to run out of games pretty quickly. We just need to continue to work hard, stay humble and continue to do what the manager is asking us to do and tick them off one at a time.

“I think we’ve got good guys anyway that are not even thinking about getting carried away at all.

“We’ll come in on Monday, recover and look to the weekend. The manager will put the same demands on us.

“I think that’s the beauty with this group of players, they are just so hungry to win and do well and when you have that every day it stands you in good stead.

“It’s obviously been a huge effort, a huge turnaround for the club and from the manager and the players who have come in.

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“But I said it from day one when I saw this group of players come in and train, I knew very quickly that it wasn’t a transition for us.

“We wanted to win, the players were hungry to win, the manager is super hungry and those are the demands he puts on the group.

“We just seem to be getting better and we’re facing more challenges together as a group and I think when you do that you give yourselves a really good base for the season.

“That’s where we are just now, but we understand there is still a lot of football to be played. We don’t come off it.”

Celtic will go again, but there will surely be some weary limbs after their Ibrox heroics.

Postecoglou’s men had to recover from their nightmare start and, after they did so to lead, they showed deep resilience to hold it.

McGregor’s troops never stopped until the end and he said: “You’re expecting a period of pressure at some point.

“It was a huge effort. To go a goal down so early. To go in 2-1 at half-time was superb and probably just what we needed in the game.

“That gave us the impetus to come out in the second half and be strong, be compact.

“There is obviously the chaos that is going on and we tried to rely on our principles and our team shape to get us through that.

“But I think that the most important thing was to rely on the principles of the team when there are difficult moments.

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“It was good to get through that first little phase of the game and then get ourselves level
and we had a bit more comfort in the game. In the second half, we had real good resilience to get through it.”

Centre-backs Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt were outstanding and McGregor added: “We had a good compact block, forced the ball on the outside and then we were reasonably well set for the crosses that were coming in.

“The boys defended brilliantly, the two centre-backs were outstanding coupled with the two full-backs as well. Everyone else was doing their bit.

“You’ve got to defend strong. That’s another side of the game we’ve shown we can do as well. The manager talks about it every day that we defend as an XI.

“When we’ve got the ball we’re 11 players trying to score, when we don’t have it we’re 11 players trying to defend. I think that’s why we’ve built such a good unit.

“Maybe from a media point of view the guys who score the goals get the plaudits, that’s normally how football works. The good thing about this group is that everyone has recognized that we work together.”




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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