Captain Cal Mac believes Celtic belong at Champions League level

Callum McGregor has claimed that Celtic will be absolutely fine in their ambitions to qualify from the Champions League group stages despite a 3-0 loss at home to Real Madrid on the opening day.

The Hoops captain hit the post in the first half and put in a superb, committed display as fans sat up and took notice of Celtic’s pressure before the interval.

Evidently, quality made the difference as Real’s bench failed to give Celtic a moment of breathing space in the second half, with goals from Vinicius, Luka Modric and Eden Hazard settling the tie.

But McGregor believes that whilst Celtic opened with defeat, they showed more than enough quality against the current title holders – enough, at least, to progress from the group ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk and RB Leipzig.

It was really enjoyable but disappointing to lose three goals at home. But there was enough in the game to show we definitely belong at this level,” McGregor said to BT Sport (as relayed by Daily Record).

We took the game to Madrid for large parts and had a 10, 15-minute spell where we just lost concentration and you can see that’s why they’re the holders – they’ve got so much quality on the counter attack. We tried to limit that as much as we could but we felt at that point of the game we were on top and we were a little bit naive in terms of sticking to what we were doing. It was a great showing from the lads and we’ve been building towards that sort of belief and that game where we want to play our football against anyone. We’re not going to change our style, we’ll commit to it even more and trust in ourselves and the manager.

It was a really good performance in the first half and I don’t know how my shot stayed out! Giak did well to hold it up and it clipped the inside of the post. I thought it was going in but it wasn’t to be.

We created big chances but that’s the difference at this level. They took their clear cut chances and we had three or four but we learn from that and the boys can be proud of themselves in terms of the level of performance – it’s just the little details.

It’s hard to think back to a team losing 3-0 at home and getting that type of reaction at the end so a thanks to the fans. They’ve been waiting on this type of night coming back to Celtic Park and they absolutely delivered and drove the team on.

We spoke before the game about wanting to make this an uncomfortable place for teams to come. They’re the holders and a top side and it was uncomfortable for them. We want to impose our style and play our football and take the game to them.”

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