McGregor discloses Celtic players’ pre-Feyenoord discussion

By James McLauglin

Callum McGregor admits Celtic talked about doing themselves justice ahead of their 2-1 win over Feyenoord following a Champions League campaign decided on wafer-thin margins.


The East End side were highly competitive in all but one half of football across the six group matches,

with only a tortuous second half in Madrid against Atletico suggesting Scotland’s champions might be out of their depth.


There has been a feeling in the dressing room that the points on the board don’t quite reflect the reality of the games, something McGregor and his teammates were determined to change under the lights against the Dutchmen.


The victory was well deserved after a thrilling game of football both restored dignity and ensured Brendan Rodgers doubled Ange Postecoglou’s points tally from last season.


And Celtic captain McGregor hopes the positivity gained on the night will offer a pathway to success in next year’s revised competition where there will be eight group games.


He said: “We spoke before the game about wanting to do ourselves justice and play with pride and get what we feel like we have deserved out of the group because the performances have been good.

But we need to marry that with results and there was maybe a little bit about trying to give hope to the supporters about, hopefully, next year’s competition.


“It’s good that we have done that and I thought we thoroughly deserved to win the game.

I thought it was a good game of football for both teams with, statistically, nothing to play for.

It was actually a really good game. A win is what we have been striving for.

The performances have been great, but we’ve obviously come away with one point or no points.

If we want to continue and grow and get better, then we have to try and win these types of games.

Obviously, the way the group has played out, the home games, if we get maximum points, we probably find ourselves actually getting through.


So it’s a step in the right direction.


The players feel good about themselves and, hopefully, the supporters feel good about the performance and result and then we come again on Saturday with a hugely important game as well.”


Under Rodgers, Celtic never lack for preparation but there’s another factor that McGregor feels was crucial in the shake-up of the group.


“I think just more experience at this level,” he said. “Small details. We spoke about it a lot after probably every game and you feel like maybe you carry a wee bit of luck married with good performance.

I think we have been good in all of the home games and just not had those moments that have fallen for us. It’s good we took our chances in important moments.


“In the last five or six minutes, you could see they tired and we used that to go and kick on and get the winner.

It’s really positive but we know we don’t come through the group or don’t have European football, but, hopefully, that can be a marker.”


While Celtic have only accumulated four points in the group, the ruthless level of the competition

means even the richest clubs can struggle for qualification. McGregor looks to arguably the world’s biggest team as an example of how difficult this level of football can be.


He said: “I think we’ve been in every game. That is just the level.

You see it earlier in the week as Manchester United struggled to get through and that’s a huge club all around the world. The level is not easy by any stretch.

But if we want to be in it and feel competitive in the games which we have been, it’s then just that next bit about adding experience and quality and then you’re home games before so important for you.”


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