CALLUM McGREGOR dropped back into the back four to cover for Kieran Tierney who watched on with the away support and would have been impressed at how well his mate performed.
The Scotland internationalist was outstanding in the recent Hans Skelping – and grabbed a goal at both Hampden and Celtic Park against the team that Dave King in all ‘honesty’ reckons were the best team in the country at the start of the year.
The actual truth hurts though on Celtic put King’s flops to the sword at Ibrox (3-2), Hampden (4-0) and Celtic Park (5-0). Football is all about opinions though and King is entitled to his – he has just appointed a rookie Under 18s coach as his new manager, so he’ll be hoping his own judgment has improved somewhat.
Callum McGregor was targeted by Hearts in the early stages as a potential weak-link in the absence of Kieran Tierney. Levein’s side had kept the grass long and made sure that they paid particular attention to Scott Brown, no doubt on their manager’s instructions. He really is obsessed with Scott Brown – a player who has now bee assaulted by players from Aberdeen, Ross County and Hearts since Levein opined that Scottish football needs protecting from the Celtic skipper.
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Broony stood up to that as you would expect but did find his side a goal down after Hearts benefited from another unpunished foul on the Celtic captain by that nasty wee guy Steven Naismith.
McGregor though was delighted by the Celtic reply to losing a goal to Kyle Lafferty, which was a great strike in all fairness.
“The quick response helped us,” McGregor told the Celtic website.
“As soon as you go a goal behind you try and get back on level terms as quickly as possible. We managed to do that and established ourselves in the game and we looked fairly comfortable after that. Credit to the boys, they dug deep and got the win.
“We knew it would be difficult coming here. The last result was in the back of our minds and we wanted to put it right. That gives you that we bit of motivation to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Credit to the boys, they went out and put in a much better performance and got a much better result.
“We know what they’re about, they’re a big physical team and they’re very direct. You have to stand up to that challenge and get the victory and we did that.
“The grass was very thick, very long and dry as well. Maybe they tried to keep it a bit longer to try and stifle us and prevent us playing. The lads showed how versatile we are in terms of playing both sides of the game, winning tackles, winning headers and getting it forward.
“We can moan about it and say what you want to do but you have to win it out there in the pitch and that’s what we did.
“This group of players have been relentless from the word go,” Callum continued.
“The manager’s the same, he doesn’t let anyone slip up or not work hard.
“It’s fairly easy to stay motivated for the games we have. When you’re at a big club like Celtic the pressure’s always on to play well and win. That’s always in the back of our mind in terms of the cup final but we have two big games to finish off the league.”
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