MATCHWINNER Callum McGregor marked his comeback after an 11-game lay-off with a dramatic late points-clincher against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
The Celtic captain had been a motivational factor right from the start of his first appearance in over two months and deservedly whipped in the unerring and devastating low strike three minutes from time that restored the champions’ nine-point advantage.
Ange Postecoglou, who has earned the reputation of being somewhat hard to please, claimed his inspirational skipper had been “a bit rusty” on his return following a knee injury against RB Leipzig in the Champions League game on October 5.
The Hoops gaffer at least had the good grace to smile as he delivered the line.
PITTODRIE PLEASURE…Callum Mcgregor and team-mates Anthony Ralston, Matt O’Riley and Giorgos Goakoumakis share the joy with the late points-clincher.
Postecoglou said: “We had some good chances that usually we’d put away, but through that whole sort of process, we never lost or wavered from our approach and it was great for the skipper to step up.
“What a great way for him to come back into the team.
“We did awfully well without him, but he’s a fantastic footballer. He makes our team better, absolutely.
“I was super happy to get him back in the side and he got what he deserved.
“I thought he was really important for us, he dictated play in the middle of the park and made sure we didn’t get too anxious about scoring, biding our time and then a great finish.
“He’s a bit rusty, to be fair. But that’s who Callum is, you know.”
Postecoglou, speaking to Sky Sports, continued: “He’s such an important part of our team and he’s just a fantastic footballer.
CALLUM McGREGOR’S BACK…and the Celtic skipper celebrated with the watchwinner at Pittodrie.
“We needed that because it’s easy for me to say we’ve got to stick to the process and play our football, but when you’re out there and you’re so dominant and you haven’t scored, it’s easy to get anxious.
“But Cal kept the foot on the accelerator just the right amount. We accelerated where we needed to and the other times we just moved the ball around and I think they got really tired towards the end, as well.
“You can see them all going down which, again, gives us a little bit more space.”
The Hoops boss, who is now preparing for the midweek visit of Livingston, added: “I can’t remember a game where we were so dominant and we probably should’ve won a lot more comfortably.
“But it’s a difficult place to come to and, yeah, I thought we were totally in control although obviously we needed the goal.
“It came late, but that’s not unusual for us and credit to the lads – just really disciplined in our approach, never got frustrated and got the just rewards.”