No Bids for ‘Absolutely Brilliant’ McGregor pleases Lenny

NEIL LENNON fully expects there to be interest in Callum McGregor, Celtic’s match winner against Sarajevo, before the transfer window closes, but the Celtic manager is doing all he can to ensure that the play-maker remains at the Treble Treble winners for the long term.

Asked if he expected bids for the player the fans call Calmac, Lenny indicated that he’s expecting activity on that front. He is also well aware of the nature of the relationship that emerged between McGregor and our former manager and knows that this is bound to result in suggestions that Rodgers might return to Celtic to test our resolve as far his star pupil is concerned.

“It wouldn’t surprise me because he’s a top player. He really came to prominence under Brendan, but we want him here and we want him to play in the Champions League,” Lenny said to the media, as reported by The Herald.

“We’re trying to make the right inroads to keep him happy and keep him at a top level,” Lenny revealed, perhaps hinting of another contract extension that will give Callum another job in wages and keep him focused on his crucial role in the Celtic midfield.

“He’s just brilliant. He’s just absolutely brilliant. I don’t take his performances for granted. The more he churns them out the more people take him for granted. It’s a hard thing to do what Callum does, week in, week out at such a high level. And then he goes and gets the winner on Wednesday night as well. I think there’s more goals in him this season as well, hopefully.

“I am surprised,” Lenny admitted when noting that there had been no bids as yet for such an impressive player as McGregor. “I’m very happy that there’s not, because he’d be probably the last one I’d want to leave, along with a couple of others, or even be unsettled at this stage. He’s pivotal to what we want to do going forward.”

The Celtic manager though understands that the money floating around the English game makes it difficult for Celtic to hang onto players once there is big money interest from down south. We have seen this will the whole Kieran Tierney to Arsenal saga this summer, although the Gunners seem to be the exception that proves the rule as far being prepared to spend big to bring in the best players. Kieran Tierney clearly falls into that category and it looks like Arsenal’s London rivals Tottenham – who reached the Champions League Final last season – are set to make a move for Celtic’s left back.

“Every player has his price,” he said. “I said the other day that Ronaldo went from Manchester United, the biggest club in the world. You know where we are with Kieran. We don’t want to sell any more top players if we can avoid it,” Lenny noted.

“The squad is a little bit thin at the minute anyway, a couple of injuries and we would lack a bit of strength in depth.”

Lennon was also full of praise for the other goalscoring midfielder against Sarajevo – Ryan Christie.

“I think he made a great impact last year and that’s given him a huge shot in the arm. You could see, even so early in these two legs, he’s been outstanding. He has that bit of the maverick about him that he can make things happen in tight areas.

“Obviously, he scored a wonderful goal against Sarajevo. One minute he’s off balance, the next he’s sticking it in, beautifully curling it around the goalkeeper. I’m delighted with him. His fitness levels are incredible.

“His work-rate is fantastic. He gives a lot up for the team. He has energy and enthusiasm and quality, he’s a brilliant kid to work with as are McGregor and Brown it’s a really good threesome at the minute. For where we are at the minute I can’t ask for any more.”

The Celtic boss also confirmed that Tom Rogic has now re-joined the squad for full training after fully recovering from his latest injury. The Australian has missed the pre-season work so is still a few weeks away from playing.

“He’s back out now, he looks great, really looking in good condition so hopefully he won’t be too far away but he’s missed the whole of pre-season so he has a bit of work to do,” Lennon said. Earlier in the week he had a frank exchange of views with French midfielder Olivier Ntcham who was away with the French Under 21s at the recent tournament in Italy.

Ntcham was reported to have been disrespectful towards the Scottish league – after THAT result at Kilmarnock against Welsh part-timers, maybe he had a point after all. Not that Lenny was best pleased with the player, who is likely to be sold if a bidder emerges with a cheque big enough to meet Celtic’s valuation.

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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

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