“He’d heard I was out there – he’s clearly got spies everywhere,” Calmac on Majorca meeting

Callum McGregor has given his side of the story surrounding that meeting he had with Brendan Rodgers last month in Majorca that helped pave the way for the Irishman to return to Celtic after the departure of Ange Postecoglou after a treble winning season.

03.12.2016. Fir Park, Motherwell, Scotland. Scottish Premier League Football. Motherwell versus Celtic. Callum McGregor with Brendan Rodgers at the end of the match as they come from behind to win 3-4 Photo Vagelis Georgariou

The Celtic captain just happened to be taking a short holiday away from football in the window between the Scottish Cup Final and meeting up with the Scotland squad for the June Euoro qualifier internationals. The Celtic captain has been in regular contact with Brendan Rodgers since his departure from Celtic in February 2019 and when he received a message from his former manager asking for catch-up midway through his short holiday, Callum was only too pleased to oblige.

Brendan Rodgers revealed some details of the meeting at his initial media conference back at Celtic Park a few weeks later but this is the first time that the Celtic captain has given his side of the story. As reported in Football Scotland Callum McGregor tells what happened…

Brendan Rodgers and Callum McGregor. Credit: Vagelis Georgariou

“It was when I was on holiday for around five days before I met up with the Scotland squad. I flew out to Majorca, and completely randomly, things started to unfold at Celtic with Ange moving on. I was just taking a few days to chill out. I then got a message from the manager asking how I was and if we could catch up.

“He’d heard I was out there – he’s clearly got spies everywhere. So it shows you never go under the radar for long! He was staying around 30 minutes away from me. We just met at my hotel and it was easy enough for me.

“Brendan came to my hotel and we just stayed and had a bit of lunch. We were just in the restaurant so I was actually surprised nothing came out about us meeting at that point.

“We were just lucky to get a wee bit of privacy to have a chat. The hotel was nice and private. But it stayed under the radar, probably for as long as it needed to, until he told everybody about it!

20th June 2023; Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland: Euro 2024 Qualifier Football, Scotland versus Georgia; Callum McGregor of Scotland celebrates after he shoots and scores to make it 1-0 to Scotland in the 6th minute

“We obviously had a great relationship the last time he was here, and we kept in touch and remained pretty close. Even during his time at Leicester we stayed in contact.

“So I met Brendan, we had a bit of lunch, and quickly got talking about the club. We then started delving into some serious chat, and that’s when I realised that this could happen. I had to give an honest assessment on where I felt things were at. And he was the same.

“We sat there together for almost three hours, just talking football and speaking about Celtic and different things. I think we both left the chat in a really good place. We got more and more serious as the chat progressed, and really delved into how we felt things were at the club.

Brendan Rodgers. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“I know these things take time to be put together, but we both had a really good feeling about it at the meeting. It was then down to the guys at Celtic to do the work from there. As the days progressed the chat was getting more and more serious about him coming back.

“I was just glad that I could play my part, as much as it was purely off the cuff and it wasn’t planned. I know there are a few rumours out there that the club asked me to do it, but that wasn’t the case. I wasn’t sent to Majorca to see him.

“It was purely by coincidence I happened to be in Spain, but sometimes in football you get these sliding doors moments. After that everything just seemed to fit perfectly. We are obviously delighted to have him back because Brendan’s a top manager, and the work done in pre-season has been excellent.”

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The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds 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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