“I love the club, I’ve committed my future here and I take it personally,” Celtic captain Callum McGregor

Celtic captain Callum McGregor this week was nominated alongside fellow Celtic star Tom Rogic for the PFA Scotland Player of the Year. The way these things work with regards to media coverage is the hacks decide among themselves when the interviews given are going to be published and in this instance we heard from Tom Rogic earlier in the week, with the Callum McGregor content held back until today.

In the ever changing world of sports media coverage in Scottish football, the recent changes to accommodate fan media at clubs like Celtic haven’t filtered through to organisations like PFA Scotland who continue o restrict their media access to the tired old mainstream media.

Photo Jeff Holmes

Callum McGregor would certainly by my own choice as Player of the Year, probably just edging out Cameron Carter-Vickers due to the exceptional leadership qualities he has shown in all season plus the additional bravery in coming back to play against today’s opponents in the match against theRangers on 2 February when Celtic needed to win to go to the top of the league.

We have been looking down on theRangers ever since.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – FEBRUARY 02: Callum McGregor of Celtic speaks with Ryan Kent of Rangers during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Rangers FC at on February 02, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

The Celtic Star’s own Player of the Year Awards will be posted next week and you’ll have the chance to vote for an award that Callum McGregor won last year.

So reporting on what the Celtic Captain said at the PFA Scotland nominations event earlier this week we really get a great insight into the man who has filled the incredibly large boots left by Celtic legend Scott Brown to wear that armband and lead our club so magnificently this season, to get to where we are this morning, despite all the early season problems, to be on the verge of winning the league.

One more push today gets us over the line and if you are somewhat nervous, perhaps reading Callum McGregor’s words will settle you down and get you ready for another Beautiful Sunday.

“I took it personally what we went through as a club last season,” Callum McGregor told the mainstream media as reported by Scottish Sun. “I wanted to come back and show people it was a one-off and we can go again.

Photo Jeff Holmes

“When these boys leave and it’s the end of an era, a successful team, everybody then says can they go again? Can he do it again? That’s the question, certainly off the back of a poor season. We had to come back and show people it was a bad season, but we start again. That was the biggest thing, so many players leaving, so many new players coming in.

“I wanted us to be a successful team in our own right. Not just that was Brendan Rodgers’ team, or that was Neil Lennon’s team, or Broony’s team or whatever. We had to create our own history within that as a new group of players.

“That was the biggest challenge when we came back from the summer. I was looking at let’s go again and be successful. When we had a poor season, straight away I was thinking we need to put this right — and that was my motivation.

Photo – Getty Images

“I love the club, I’ve committed my future here and I take it personally. If we win, I am the happiest guy in the world. If we lose, then I don’t speak for three days.

“When the players and manager came through the door, I thought, ‘They fancy this’. You could see it in their eyes and they have been brilliant so far. It’s just about us staying calm and trying to finish it off in the right manner.

“There is an adjustment period, we just tried to minimise it as much as possible. There’s always going to be a bedding-in period. We got to the end of September and we kind of knew as a group that if we wanted to win the league we had to be pretty much perfect.

“You could still see, even if we were losing or drawing, the makings of a good team. It was just can we get a big result to make us feel good about ourselves, give the group a bit of belief. The Aberdeen game away from home that was a big moment for the group. Then we could go away from home, play that style and win at a difficult venue.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“That gave the players the belief to really kick on from that point and try to be successful. The beauty of this group is there’s still more to come, more development in the players with the way the manager wants to play to try and take us to the next level,” the Celtic captain added.

And McGregor is in no doubt that the Celtic Board appointed the perfect manager to come into the club, pick up the pieces from last season, and impose his own style of football that is a perfect match for our football club and indeed for Calmac himself.

“The style that he plays naturally suits the way I want to play. He’s always talking about playing two-touch, playing quickly, playing forward, playing between the lines, and he wants his whole team to do that.

“When we heard Ange was being appointed, we knew what his style was, we spoke to Tom Rogic and he said, ‘You’ll really enjoy this, really good football, loads of rotation and inter-changing of positions’.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – OCTOBER 19: Callum McGregor of Celtic applauds the fans after the UEFA Europa League group G match between Celtic FC and Ferencvarosi TC at Celtic Park on October 19, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“And from day one he was dead set on this is the way he wants to play, and that was music to my ears. We were going to enjoy it, it was just then could we be successful doing that.

“Very quickly you saw he was a top manager, he was going to get his players in and the whole thing took off from there.”

On the immediate task at hand, the game at Celtic Park this lunchtime, where a win will take Celtic nine points clear of theRangers with a goal difference advantage of at least 21, McGregor and his teammates might prefer to wait until it’s mathematically impossible to be caught but all that would mean in reality is the Celtic fans celebrating the title win not once but twice.

Maybe there’s some justice in that given the 9IAR title win and the completion of the Quadruple Treble with the behind closed doors Scottish Cup win over Hearts then we never got to celebrate together.

Callum continued: “To captain this club is such a massive honour anyway. Every time I go on the pitch I give everything for Celtic, the supporters and my team-mates.

“If we can go and finish it off and make it a successful season, and potentially lift the championship trophy, that would be a dream come true.”

It would indeed.

This is how it feels to be Celtic captain…

Callum McGregor celebrates after victory in the Premier Sports Cup Final between Celtic and Hibernian at Hampden Park on December 19, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images) (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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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