FC Midtjylland v Celtic: “It’s sink or swim,” for Young Hoops says skipper as Celtic move for Joe Hart

‘At Celtic, regardless of transition periods or not, you have to win and you have to win well.’ Callum McGregor speaks very well in his new role as the Celtic captain and this evening his experience and his leadership will be essential if Ange Postecoglou young and inexperienced side is to cope with the threat posed by FC Midtjylland in this second leg of the Champions League second qualifying round, with the tie level at 1-1 after the first leg at Celtic Park last Tuesday.

McGregor spoke to the Mainstream Media yesterday, as did the Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou as Celtic seem to have lost interest in the working relationship with the Celtic Fan Media as soon as the competitive action got underway last week. Maybe that’s something that will be debated and discussed over the coming days but for now it’s worth mentioning.

Celtic v Midtjylland – Liel Abada celebrates scoring Photo: Jeff Holmes

The Celtic captain reckons that the young guys that Celtic have been forced to reply on this evening can step up to the plate and help establish themselves as bone fide members of the Celtic first team squad.

“In terms of the squad we are pretty light in depth,” Callum admitted. Perhaps the understatement of the season so far. This though lies at the door of Peter Lawwell and the shambles he oversaw all of last season culminating in the 100plus days wait for the knock-back from Eddie Howe. “We are also a bit short in experience right now. But that has to be a challenge for both the young players and for the more experienced players. We have to find a solution that continues to make us successful until we get the squad we feel we need. I certainly think that the players we have are good enough. Welshy has come in and done great.

“Young Dane came in last week and was excellent in the second half, really showing his potential,” the Celtic captain noted.

“We have to go with what we’ve got now and in no way is that a negative for us. We can turn that into a positive and show how good the young players coming through the academy are. I think these games can be the making of young players. Guys like Welshy and Dane will have had the same schooling as myself.

“You never know when your moment is going to come and you just have to be prepared for it and be ready to take it. You can’t plan it and say, ‘I’m going to make my debut in six months.’ You are just thrown in and it’s sink or swim. These young guys will understand that when their chance comes they have to be ready to take it. So far Welshy has been great and Dane showed his potential when he came in for his first game.”

McGregor will strive to ensure that the young Celtic defence is given as much protection as support from further up the park this evening, something conspicuous by its absence against West Ham at the weekend when Celtic shipped six goals – three each conceded by Barkas and Bain so no wonder Celtic are now looking at bringing in a new goalkeeper with talks now underway with Tottenham to bring in the former England shot-stopper Joe Hart, more on this story coming up on The Celtic Star.

“You don’t want to leave them exposed too much,” Calmac said. “It’s their first few games, but we have to play the way the manager wants us to set up. And if these guys are in the team it’s because the manager trusts them. You put your trust in the guys playing beside you. That’s the only way football can work; if the 22 players in the squad trust each other and the manager.”

On his impressions of working with the new manager Ange Postecoglou, McGregor likes what he’s seen so far. “One of the things he has been big on since he came in is he wants to give us the freedom to play. And in return he asks us to have the courage to play.

“He wants to be on the front foot, attacking and playing with freedom in the final third. He is not the type of manager who will change or abandon his beliefs. He trusts the system he wants to play and in return we have to show the courage that system demands.”

Here’s Callum McGregor speaking to the Mainstream Media yesterday ahead of this evening’s match in Jutland….

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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