Callum McGregor insists Celtic will be “super-hungry” this season after finishing trophyless in their doomed 10-in-a row campaign.
The Parkhead club went into 2020-21 with nine successive Premiership titles and clinched the quadruple domestic treble last December with victory over Hearts in the delayed 2020 Scottish Cup final.
However, it all went wrong under boss Neil Lennon who departed in February when the title was on its way to Old Firm rivals Rangers for the first time in a decade, with the two domestic cups captured by St Johnstone.
McGregor, a former Celtic ball-boy who came through the club’s academy, was handed the captaincy by incoming Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou after Scott Brown departed for Aberdeen and he is preparing for a new domestic campaign with the Champions League qualifiers already under way.
Asked if last season hurt, the 28-year-old told Sky Sports Scotland: “Yes, absolutely. It was a real tough one.
“You have to accept that as well, we weren’t good enough throughout the course of the season.
“But what it does is make you super-hungry for the season coming up.
“To lift a trophy as Celtic captain would be another step on the ladder of dreams-come-true stuff.
“I will be giving my absolute all and I will be making sure everyone in the dressing room does as well.”
The Scotland midfielder made his Celtic debut under then Hoops boss Ronny Deila away to KR Reykjavik on July 15, 2014 in a Champions League qualifier and he scored the only goal of the game.
There were few tears shed among the Parkhead supporters, though, when the Norwegian boss announced he would leave at the end of the 2015-16 season after a Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Rangers on penalties.
Celtic went on to clinch their fifth successive title – Deila’s second, while he also won the 2015 League Cup.
Asked how big a role Deila had played in his development, McGregor said: “Massive. Ronny gave me my debut at Celtic and I am forever grateful for that, to have the opportunity to play for Celtic’s first team.
“I remember when Brendan Rodgers came in, he said Ronny did a lot of the baseline stuff for him. He was just adding his own spin on it but Ronny put a lot of the building blocks in place.
“I don’t think he gets as much credit as he deserves, in terms of the football we played as well. In his first season he was probably one bad decision (a penalty and red card denied in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Inverness) away from winning a treble.
“He was brilliant for the club and brilliant for me as well.”
Meanwhile, Celtic have confirmed Ukraine international Marian Shved has made a permanent move to KV Mechelen after a loan spell at the Belgium club last season.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe