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Callum McGregor says Ange Postecoglou made instant impression on Celtic players

Callum McGregor (left) and manager Ange Postecoglou (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Callum McGregor (left) and manager Ange Postecoglou (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Callum McGregor claims the Celtic players knew instantly that Ange Postecoglou was equipped to get them back on track.

The Australian was appointed a year ago as something of a left-field candidate as the Hoops looked to recover from a disastrous trophyless 2020/21 campaign.

While the squad – with the exception of fellow Australian Tom Rogic – knew little about Postecoglou, captain McGregor insists the manager did not require much time to convince them he was the real deal.

He duly defied early-season scepticism by delivering the league title in his first season at the helm. As a result, Celtic now go straight into the Champions League group stage in the upcoming campaign.

“I think pretty much straight away,” McGregor told Sky Sports after being asked when he felt Postecoglou was ready to lead Celtic to glory. “He said all the right things and, especially at a club like Celtic, to want to play fast, attacking football, that’s music to everyone’s ears.

“That’s what the supporters want to see and that’s what the players want to play. I think very quickly you saw all his sessions were high tempo and he just wanted the whole thing to be moving all the time.

“You could tell right away that’s the type of football he wanted to play and it was just a case of building from there. I think when you set out to play this style of football you have to be all in, you can’t be 50-50 or even 80 per cent.

“The manager kept telling us we had to commit, what I’m asking you to do is very, very difficult, there are not a lot of teams that are trying to play this way.

“He asked us to have belief in him and in ourselves and he would get us there. He was adamant we would be successful and he was right.

“The easiest thing in the world is to watch football and criticise, that’s the way football is going now. I think what we have here is a strong mentality with a strong leader who knows it’ll be difficult, but he gave us that belief to go and trust ourselves.”

McGregor urged his Celtic colleagues to savour every bit of success they have in their careers because barren periods are rarely far away.

“Long after we’re gone, the club will still be here and it’s important that we enjoy the moment with the fans,” the 29-year-old Scotland international said.

“I think success in football every time you achieve it, it feels even better because you know how difficult it is to do.

“I think the young guys when they win their first one, they just think it’s natural. You look at guys like Liel Abada in his first season and he’ll just think it’s normal, but at some point in his career, he might not have a successful season then I guarantee if you ask him the next time, it’ll feel better to do it again after having that disappointment.

“The older you get, just in general in life, you just appreciate things a lot more and success in football is definitely in that bracket. When you get the chance to lift trophies, you have to embrace it and enjoy the moment.”