CALLUM McGREGOR seemed to relish the new 3-5-2 system that Celtic deployed at the weekend against Hibs. It gave him much more freedom and he was more prominent in attacks and efforts on goal than has been the case for quite some time. Indeed he can consider himself unfortunate not to have got on the scoresheet. Maybe tomorrow night, son!
The midfielder, who was given a rare night off last Thursday when left at home as Celtic travelled to Romania to play the final Europa League Group against Cluj. Incidentally, we published Matt Corr’s latest European Diary this morning which was in two parts.
From Hampden to Cluj by Matt Corr – Part 1, A Trophy Mission at the Cup Finals and the Brazen Head…see HERE.
And for part 2, which really is a great read…
From Hampden to Cluj by Matt Corr – Part 2, A Second Bite at Transylvania…see HERE.
Callum has been speaking about tomorrow night’s crucial match for Celtic away to relegation threatened Hearts.
“It’s always tough going to Tynecastle but now Hearts have a new manager in place so they will be really up for it,” McGregor told the Media, as reported by Glasgow Times.
“They will have a lift from the new manager coming in so we will have to be at our best to get the three points.
“I don’t know too much about him [Stendel]. I know he used to manage Barnsley but I’m sure the coaching staff and the guys at Lennoxtown will have done their homework and we will be ready for whatever tests we face on Wednesday.
“Tynecastle is a tough place to go. The boys have found that over the past five years or so. We will need to be at our very best. Why do I think it is such a tough place to go? Every team that plays Celtic and Rangers raises their game anyway.
“It’s a tight stadium and the crowd are behind him at Tynecastle. You have to battle against that environment as well. I think it being a night-time match adds a little to the occasion as well. But we know our mindset going into this game and we will prepare properly.”
McGregor understands the significance of the heavy December fixture list that has already seen Celtic win the League Cup against the Rangers at Hampden and put two points between the two Glasgow sides. A win tomorrow makes the difference five points and if Celtic win their remaining three matches before the end of the month that lead is guaranteed to be eight points – at least!
And that exactly is the target that Neil Lennon has set for his players. McGregor is minded to deliver on that target too, even if it means making personal sacrifices over the festive period.
“Christmas is a busy period for a footballer but you are more than happy to make those sacrifices. We will live our life properly in and around the training ground and we will be looking after ourselves at home as well.
“When you get days like a week past last Sunday when you are raising a trophy at Hampden in front of thousands of your fans then it is all worth it. That’s what makes it special for us as players.
“You make those sacrifices to get those rewards somewhere down the line.”
The games coming thick and fast means that Neil Lennon is planning on utilising the squad as much as possible. That allowed the likes of McGregor, Scott Brown, Ryan Christie and James Forrest to sit out the Cluj game, although Forrest did travel but wasn’t involved in the match.
“Everyone talks about the starting XI but the squad of 25 players training every week are all in it together. We drive each other on in training every day and push each other so the standards go up. Then you see that in games. It’s a busy period and we will need everyone.”
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