Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor remains hopeful after home draw against AEK Athens

Celtic's Callum McGregor celebrates his goal with Kieran Tierney (right) (SNS Group)
Celtic's Callum McGregor celebrates his goal with Kieran Tierney (right) (SNS Group)

CALLUM MCGREGOR insists Celtic should not be written out of the Champions League after their 1-1 draw with AEK Athens at Parkhead on Wednesday night.

The Hoops midfielder scored the opener after 17 minutes of the first-leg of the third qualifier but that good was undone two minutes before the break when Viktor Klonaridis fired in a breakaway equaliser for the Greek side.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 57th minute when Konstantinos Galanopoulos picked up a second yellow card from Italian referee Luca Banti for tripping James Forrest but the Hoops failed to take advantage against a well-organised Greek side.

However, McGregor remained bullish and believes the Scottish champions can emerge successfully from the return game in Athens next Tuesday night.

He said: “We’ve shown in the last couple of years we can go away and score goals and get results.

“It’s about the discipline having the tactical awareness over there and then letting our attacking players cause them problems.

“It’s far from done.

“We were disappointed. When they went down to 10 men, you anticipate going on to score a few goals and win the game.

“Credit to AEK though. They set out their stall and made it difficult. We had a few shots and crosses but it never quite fell for us.

“We are still positive and upbeat. We created enough chances to think we can go over there and get a result.

“We expect more of the same. They are in a strong position but you could see last night we can create chances.

“We need to be defensively strong because we can’t afford to concede over there.

“The standard goes up when you get through the rounds. You see it with the organisation and the standard of players.

“They didn’t have much in the game but they got one chance and scored a goal. Teams are more ruthlessness when you go through the rounds.

“We need to defend better when we go there but we are still positive.”